Godzilla has to be one of the most praised and criticized movies I've seen in a long while. Some people say that it's a fantastic movie with good character development and stunning visuals. Others say that the film is a waste of time and seriously boring to modern audiences.
And there are some that say, "F*** this movie!"
Trust me, it's been said a lot.
As a Godzilla fan, I stand in the middle ground of both of the opinions exercised by fans and critics. On the one hand, this was a much better outing than the 1998 atrocity because it presented better characters, stunning visuals, and snippets of great monster fighting. On the other hand, the movie lacked a consistent string of excitement to keep audiences invested in the characters and the movie seemed to be perpetually shrouded in a haze of smoke to obscure what would've been exciting action scenes.
That being said, I have compiled a list of three arguments that people have commonly said about the movie that criticizes its execution.
1). "We didn't get enough Godzilla".
Since the title is Godzilla, you'd think that the movie would generally focus on the King of the Monsters, but that's not the case with this movie. Most audiences were spoiled by the dazzling and action-packed monster feature Pacific Rim, so Godzilla had a lot to live up to. But director Gareth Edwards felt that the best way to showcase Godzilla in the 21st Century was to:
- Leave him out of the first hour of the movie.
- Obscure him with smoke, fire, or mist.
- Give him only 12 minutes of actual screen time.
Edwards was made famous for directing an Indie film Monsters, which was a pleasant character study with giant monsters obscured in the background of the movie's story. But Godzilla isn't meant to be obscured, he's meant to be shown in all of his kaiju glory. The film felt remarkably similar to Cloverfield, where we caught glimpses of the monster and focused entirely on the human survival aspect of the plot. That doesn't work for a monster who's known for fighting other monsters to protect humanity (well, sort of).
2). "The characters were boring".
We all love a good action flick to appease our desire to see senseless action and cool special effects without having to use our brains too much. It's a guilty pleasure. However, focusing on too much action results in poor performances and wooden dialogue between the human characters. Godzilla tried to emphasize the characters in order to relate more to the audience (even though the main characters were doctors and military personnel). But this movie failed to deliver on interesting characters (aside from Bryan Cranston) and ended up putting the audience to sleep rather than invest them in the character story.
It's good to appeal to the human aspect, but why do films about giant monsters need convincing character plot lines? We have come to see Godzilla, more Godzilla, and Godzilla fight monsters. And then more Godzilla. We don't care about the humans! We paid $10 to see a film about Godzilla, and we'd tune into Breaking Bad to see a character study with Bryan Cranston. The film clearly misunderstood its audience, which is partially why it failed to reach an overall positive consensus.
This film really should have been called MUTO: With a Bit of Godzilla.
Because we received more screen time with the new monsters and their life cycle rather than the characteristics of the film's "main" monster. Director Gareth Edwards said that this was a revamped Godzilla origin story, but the origin story failed to give any character to The King of the Monsters.
If anything, Godzilla could be considered the antagonist because the MUTOs weren't technically evil. They merely wanted to breed and were actually eliminating the world's supply of nuclear weapons (which is a plus in some cases).
Good job Godzilla for defeating them?
But alas, the movie clearly wasn't perfect and can improve upon some of its mistakes in the sequel (which has three monsters fighting Godzilla).
Let's see if the sequel actually lives up to its Godzilla title.
By: Matthew Romeo
(Anything said on this blog does not represent the ideas or beliefs of the station of WHAN as a whole, all of these statements are held responsible by the writer alone)