Most of the reviews I had seen before watching this said it was average to good. It’s not – it’s crap. For some reason having a respectable director and decent actors seems to have made critics ignore the fact that: 1) The actors are just place-holders and pretty much any actor could have done the same job. 2) The film is terrible, has a stupid story and is criminally boring in places, and 3) Millions of dollars of special effects budget has seemingly meant that they are able to make Godzilla and the two bad monsters look exactly like 3 men in rubber suits – without actually having to buy rubber suits. This is, as it turns out, the film’s only real achievement.
I found it difficult to sit through the first half-hour without squirming in embarrassment at the story. The director has taken a serious approach here and tries to make you care about the main characters but this just doesn’t work when there is such a ridiculous story in the first place. There were some unintentionally amusing moments however such as the Japanese professor who keeps repeating “It’s Godzilla, I think he’s an alpha-predator come to keep nature in balance”. And pretty much any moment is funny where they have to seriously explain the existence of either 1) Godzilla or 2) The Mutos (the bad monsters).
I also struggled with boredom in the build up to the real action starting (when you finally get to see Godzilla confront the Mutos). However when this does happen and you see Godzilla close up, be prepared for disappointment. He’s not very impressive at all and for good reason has already been dismissed as ‘Fatzilla’ in Japan. He has a new cuddly look, and clearly sports some cellulite (or rubber-suit folds) around the hips.
The film is not all bad however, there are some good action sequences and the tension is cranked up as Lieutenant Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and a special forces squad rush to defuse a nuclear warhead. This section also starts with an impressive halo-jumping sequence from a plane. However to have to sit through 1 hour 10 minutes of dullness to find 20 minutes of good action is just not worthwhile.
Those ‘good’ reviews will look more ridiculous than this film in 20 years time. I would say from memory that this is actually worse than the last Godzilla film. Cloverfield was certainly much better, and at least most of that was a surprise at the time. This is just a predictable, below average, dull standard monster flick. It attempts to be serious and involve the audience emotionally but fails. 4/10