Godzilla (2013)

godzillacover02What is wrong with you people?  By “you people”, I mean the 72% of critics and 77% of normal people on Rotten Tomatoes who liked this.

I actually dozed off more than once during this fiasco.  Does that disqualify me from giving a review?  Or is that the review?  And this was after starting off with a 128 ounce Coke.

It starts out great — the montage under the opening credits is fascinating.  Then people start talking.  No movie I have covered on this site has had more lackluster dialogue than Godzilla (the movie, not the monster).

OK, no one went to this expecting My Dinner with Andre.  But just compare scenes from Jaws or Close Encounters or Independence Day to similar scenes in this movie.  The dialog  is constantly clunky or too wordy, never artful, and rarely effective.

I first noticed this when Bryan Cranston was being detained.  It instantly reminded me of Richard Dreyfuss being held in a small trailer by the Army in CE3K.  That short non-action scene in Close Encounters was made interesting and suspenseful in just a few sentences.  Even an actor as good as Cranston could not sell the terrible words he was given in his comparable scene.  I wish I could find the script online to give many more examples.

And thank God I did not find a bootleg DVD in the street, so I am not tempted to even just skim this movie again to make notes.  I will never watch this movie again.  I wasn’t even planning on writing about it, but the spent time and money are buggin’ me, man!  Where to start?  How much time is worth wasting on this movie?

  • It is kind of a bait & switch to show Bryan Cranston so prominently in the ads.  He really is killed off pretty early.  And maybe I was already getting drowsy, but somehow I missed him dying.  I saw him strapped to gurney with a neck support.  Was he already dead?  Was that even him?
  • I always like Elizabeth Olson, but she is completely wasted in this film (and not in the good way).
  • Kick-Ass, where art thou?  Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a colossal bore as Cranston’s son.  A problem since he is arguably the lead character.  He reminds me of Bruce Willis’ son in Die Hard 5 — the movie is already crap, and one of the leads is an absolute non-entity.  I would have paid an extra buck to see Jesse Pinkman as his son.
  • David Strathaim — another good actor totally wasted.  And what is this obsession with shooting the back of his head?  Marcellus Wallace got more face-time.
  • When Cranston removes his haz-mat helmet and takes a breath, are they suggesting that he can smell that there is no radiation?
  • Another CE3K comparison: the discovery of the ship in the desert vs the discovery of the Russian sub in the forest in Godzilla.  Fun, mysterious, beautiful vs zzzzzzzz.
  • When Cranston was ranting, “that was no earthquake, that was no typhoon . . .” I expected him to continue, “this is not a boat accident, and it wasn’t any propeller!”
  • And if that Hiroshima story was supposed to be as effective as the USS Indianapolis story in Jaws.  Just no.
  • Add Aliens to the homage list for the burning of the egg-sac.
  • I remember Roger Ebert saying one time that Heaven’s Gate was so poorly filmed that even the primary act of looking at the screen was a chore.  Same here.  In most of the scenes, it is either night, or there is a nuclear winter sized dust cloud which grays out the entire shot.  Some shots were so washed out, that they would have actually been more colorful in black & white.
  • The bit with the lost little boy on the train was so quickly contrived, then immediately resolved in an absurd coincidence that it is laughable in its attempt to manipulate the audience.
  • The design of the MUTOs was distracting.  For a while, I thought they were mechanical due to the shape of the head, and the red lights.  I liked them more when I initially thought they were named MOTOs.
  • Didn’t understand the thing with the bus on the bridge, and the dog scene was just weird.  Again, maybe I was resting my eyes.  Something was off about that opening birthday riff also.
  • How do these 300 foot monsters so often manage to sneak up on people?
  • And why was Godzilla fighting for humans anyway?  Didn’t we nuke him 60 years ago?

Memories were fading before leaving the parking lot.  I need to start taking a notepad to the theater.  And a good pillow.

Lastly.  When buying tickets online, I was very surprised that the 3D show starting in an hour had sold out, but the 2D show starting in 30 minutes was only 1/3 full.  This movie is already so dark, it seems like it would be disastrous for the always-too-dark 3D option.

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