Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria
Director: Roland Emmerich
Running Time: 138 mins
Godzilla is an American film about a disastrous attack on Manhattan Island by a giant reptilian beast, and the story of the few brave individuals who dared to fight it face to face as it threatened their very existence.
No, no, no, no and no. In comparison to the hugely entertaining Japanese original of Godzilla, this hulking blockbuster fails to evoke any of the spirit of where it comes from, while also failing to even be remotely exciting or unpredictable.
Thinking quickly about the context of when this was made, the late 90s was a boom time for big-budget disaster movies after the successes of Independence Day and Titanic, however this resulted in a handful of terrible wastes of money like this being made, purely for revenue, and not for any entertainment whatsoever.
So that means it’s extremely formulaic, and the plot is totally predictable. You can almost see how scared the makers were of poor reviews from fans and critics, because of their forced intention to remember the Japanese classic.
Honestly, the first 20 minutes are shameless rip-offs of the events of the original, and it includes a 5-minute long opening sequence showing nuclear blasts, a key theme of the classic that is looked at for 5 minutes here, and then completely and utterly dropped for the remainder.
So, it’s therefore nowhere near as deep or thought-provoking as the original, and is in fact one of the least intelligent films I’ve ever seen. It takes a great idea like Godzilla, a metaphor for nuclear weapons, drops that concept, and just makes him a massive dinosaur (exactly like a T-Rex, not the real Godzilla) that likes randomly attacking stuff.
Also, there’s a point in the film where the story seems to drop the whole concept of what Godzilla (a lone creature) is, and decides to go nuts in and identical way to Aliens, which is horrible to see.
One of the other incredibly frustrating things about the formulaic nature of this was the sheer amount of side plots that the film tries to make important. There’s a cheesy romance in the middle, and although it’s not centre-stage, it’s still pretty annoying to see, however there is a conflict between two journalists all the way throughout the movie about getting exclusive stories, and it seems to me, that in a time of crisis like this, I don’t think anyone could care one bit about journalistic prestige.
Finally, the horrifically wooden acting. Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno have always been okay in my book, but after seeing this, I’ve lost a whole lot of respect for them. At no point do you see any real emotion come from the actors, and although they’re not helped by incredibly weak character development, it becomes a very distant and dull film in the end, so that, along with everything else, is why it gets a 3.4 from me.