Review: Godzilla (2014)

There is no audience to Godzilla, only survivors — provided, of course, you’re able to stay awake through what’s my favorite to be the most boring summer blockbuster of the year. Yep, the film featuring everyone’s other favorite giant green rage monster is a test of endurance to see if you can handle the frustratingly long tease before we get to Godzilla doing what he does best — kicking monster tail.

Warner Bros. Pictures Godzilla travels by the bridge in "Godzilla."
Warner Bros. Pictures
Godzilla travels by the bridge in “Godzilla.”

I wasn’t a huge fan of Pacific Rim, but that film delivered exactly what it promised — skyscraper sized monsters fighting giant robots.

Godzilla’s filmmakers are under the mistaken Michael Bay-like impression that audiences paying to see a movie entitled Godzilla would be content with a movie focused on generic, underdeveloped humans.

Kimberley French/Warner Bros. Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford.
Kimberley French/Warner Bros.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford.

Following a tragedy that cost him his family and career, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is obsessed with learning what really triggered a cataclysmic accident that devastated a city in its wake. Brody’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kick-Ass 2) has moved on from the incident and returns from a tour of duty to enjoy some much needed time with his wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen, Liberal Arts) and son, Sam (Carson Bolde). But before Ford gets settled in, Joe needs his help so it’s off to Japan to bail out dad, which ultimately brings Ford into contact with creatures he only dreamed about.

In a nice montage that pays homage to the 1954 original, Director Gareth Edwards shows that Godzilla and a few other random monsters are created as a result of nuclear weapon radiation, which leaves them feening for another sweet, sweet nuclear hit.

Warner Bros. Pictures Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody.

Ken Watanabe (Inception) and Sally Hawkins play researchers who believe Godzilla can help prevent nuclear fallout, but like the rest of the cast, there’s not a big incentive to care about them despite screenwriter Max Borenstein devoting the majority of the film on the humans. And the whole monster film from the helpless human perspective was already done in far more riveting fashion with the exhilarating Cloverfield.

You’ve already seen the film’s signature scene featuring the HALO skydivers streaming their red flares as they descend into a bombed out monster royal rumble war zone. While the rest of the film left me frustrated and bored, this sequence is nothing short of spectacular. It’s the one scene that truly takes your breath away and I doubt you’ll see a better scene than this all year.

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Once Edwards finally gets to the monster smackdown, the film snaps to life with some inspired battles and an admittedly fun payoff. The CGI work on Godzilla and company is technically very proficient, but like Pacific Rim the fight scenes are often set in darkened, rainy backdrops and the monsters are lost in a sea of grey. I wonder if the character designers thought making Godzilla a color besides Background Building Color No. 43 would be straining the limits of credibility?

Godzilla was a colossal disappointment for me. This should destroy the box office and make enough money that hopefully a sequel will focus more attention on the title character or some far more interesting humans.

Rating: 4 out of 10




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  • DJ

    Terrible review because Godzilla was awesome and it’s the perfect set up for the sequel.

  • DJ

    Not to hip on your excitement about the casting for Doctor Strange either… Are you a big supporter of Ben Affleck playing Batman and a fan of the Daredevil movie? 😉

  • Jame

    The monsters weren’t created by nuclear blasts, doy! That was a big plot point. Please, before reviewing a movie understand the story first. Least you can do if you want to be credible.

  • Oh awesome. The “Pacific Rim” fan club is back for me having the gall to not like a monster movie. Yawn.

  • Not to worry, I’ll be excited for the both of us. I actually am/was. ?

  • Awful comment because you’re upset I didn’t love it like you did. ?

  • keith

    ……. man rough crowd lol

  • Nick

    Terrible review, because GODZILLA movies are SUPPOSED to be centrally focused on the humans being hapless to the forces of nature. This movie hit on all points GODZILLA was made for; 1) Consequences of nuclear power (this is originally a japanese movie made after the events that concluded WWII, aka Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings). 2) Human beings being powerless to the forces of nature. They also pay homage to this being the 60th anniversary for the franchise.

  • Nick

    SPOILER also if you weren’t pumped to see GODZILLA breath fire down the other monsters throat to end the monster battle then your point is totally invalid.

  • Sweet. Another “This review is terrible because you don’t see this movie for the majestic spectacle that I did” comment. I would have been pretty busy if I did the same after “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″…

    Nick, an entire movie of monsters beating each other up would be just as boring and pointless, but the humans are terribly underwritten and dull. Sixty years ago that kind of lack of character development would be fine, but now I need a lot more than Ford just coincidentally finds himself in all these areas where Godzilla is in. Bryan Cranston’s character was the best and even his role was generic and cliche.

  • “Once Edwards finally gets to the monster smackdown, the film snaps to life with some inspired battles and an admittedly fun payoff. ”

    The fight scenes were great as was the big payoff scene. My only minor gripe with that part was wondering why he didn’t do that earlier? 😉

  • Nick

    I will admit that I’m a huge GODZILLA fan that has watched every movie, but the points you fault this movie for are just off-base (tomato, tomoto brother). But seeing the headline of this website, I shouldn’t expect any more than movie bashing from you. But I do agree that Affleck is gonna be a pleasant surprise as Batman, from one of the previous comments, he is friends with Kevin Smith so…

  • C’mon Nick. Read the “Cloverfield,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “The Other Woman” review before you say I just bash movies here… On second thought, you probably shouldn’t read my review of “The Other Woman”…

    My biggest issue with “Godzilla” was simply the characters were generic: scientist, researcher, nurse, admiral, researcher 2, soldier, etc. with very little development. Their underdeveloped motivations made me far more interested in seeing Godzilla since I knew he’d liven things up.

    Did you see “Hollywoodland?” Affleck was pretty much playing a Bruce Wayne type character in that.

  • Nice review Jeff. Had so much fun with this. But in an epic, tense kind-of-way that didn’t take any prisoners either. That’s what I needed and that’s what I was happy with.

  • Nick

    Our opinions differ, nothing wrong with that. Amongst your peers your opinion is in the minority for this movie, which doesn’t make it right or wrong. I missed hollywoodland but Affleck can reference a buddy who had tremendous runs with batman (in Kevin Smith) with his comic writing, so I agree with your support of him as batman, but daredevil was terrible (in referencing your point of character development). Amazing 2 (which was a good flick IMO) might have had slightly better character development (in Harry/Hobby), but its different genres so you cant really compare the two, but Garfield and Stone’s chemistry were the driving force of the movie (which probably make them a good couple in real life). And not to knock J.J. (Cuz his vision and movies are top-notch) but cloverfield had that FPP gimmick that at the time made for a fresh take on the disaster movie genre, and it worked very well in his favor as a catalyst to where he is today.

  • Indeed Nick. Who says you can’t have logical disagreements online? ?
    I’ve got a soft spot for Daredevil, but I can see your point in character development.
    As for ASM, I considered it more an intro to Harry/Green Goblin and they’ll continue developing him further.
    What would you give Cloverfield?

  • Thanks Dan. I had a feeling you would enjoy it a lot more than I did. I’m looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future Past and your thoughts on it as well. 🙂

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  • Fred

    Jeff you mean to tell me you’re not raving about “Godzilla” baby, I’m shocked lol. Being that you gave TASM2 10/10 and it got bad reviews where you gave “Godzilla” a 4/10 and it’s gotten good reviews, some people are definitely going to disagree with you because of it. You know I’m good with you my friend, because you keep it real and review the way you see it, even if it’s not of the popular public opinion. I would rather you be that way than to be a predictable homer who always follows popular opinion. Keep up the great work. I haven’t seen “Godzilla” yet so I can’t comment on it’s quality yet, i’ll be seeing it in a few days.

  • Appreciate it Fred.
    Yeah, just don’t really see the point of being like everyone else on everything. That’d be boring and wouldn’t be worth it for the people who take the time from their schedule to come by and read it.

  • Fred

    Exactly Jeff, you know we’ve talked about this before. Just because a good portion of critics rave about something doesn’t mean you have to. No more than if a prestigious Oscar film comes out that you might not be impressed with or an action film comes out that critics turn their noses up to but you found to be entertaining. I would rather lead my own path than to always be a predictable follower, which I’m sure you feel the same way my friend.

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