Now Playing Review

Godzilla too late to the dance

lars logoNOPE – Don’t let those lofty box office receipts fool you. Godzilla is dead on arrival.

The fact that the massive crocodile lizard T-Rexy behemoth doesn’t appear in the film until about the 80 minute mark is just one of the many problems this lackluster “action” film grapples with.

Let’s see, where to start?

The story. It’s weak and poorly structured. A Japanese conspiracy to conceal a monster praying mantis type radiation sucker as a “natural disaster” that claims a slew of scientists, including Bryan Cranston’s wife (Juliette Binoche), results in a global catastrophe, as the monster praying mantis goes looking for his soul mate so that they can pro-create and destroy the world with their nuclear sucking brood of mutant spider monkeys. Thank God Godzilla will have none of it. Why? Because his mission is to “restore balance” watanabeto the universe. Pretty sure that’s what Ken Watanabe’s floundering scientist said.

Speaking of Ken Watanabe. What the hell did this guy see in this role? The poor slob plastered a perplexed grimace on his grill in his opening scene and literally carries it throughout the entire film without one hint of deviation to any other emotional response to any of the absurd chaos he is trying to simultaneously explain (“Man’s arrogance is that he thinks he can control nature.”) and prevent.

But he wasn’t the only one-note actor slogging through director Gareth Edwards’ over-budgeted folly.

Veteran character actor David Strathairn is about as believable a military general as Johnny Depp was as the Lone Ranger’s American Indian sidekick. I wonder if Strathairn even looked at the script before agreeing to participate in this drivel.

British ragamuffin, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Cranston’s son), who looks like he should be working at Best Buy, is in way over his head trying to carry this kind of heavy machinery for two hours. This 23-year-old makes Shia LaBeouf look like Montgomery Clift. He’s a very poor man’s Channing Tatum. Tatum, for the record, makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Spencer Tracy.

Cranston godzillaAnd do not make the mistake of going to see this film because of your loyalty to Cranston. He ain’t around long. I’m guessing he snagged a hefty pay-day to lend his considerable gravitas to the massive ad campaign. But…he went from “the one who knocks” to the one with bogus locks. How can a filmmaking team make a tsunami crash through Waikiki look so believable, and also deliver the worst wig in the history of the cinema?

Finally, if I see one more studio super hero or monster blockbuster stage its climactic battle royale “action” showdown in the center of a major metropolitan area I’m going to launch a petition that half of all the film’s profits go directly to the families of the victims of 9-11. How these filmmakers can sit in countless story meetings and agree upon this ridiculous form of victimless entertainment, with skyscraper after skyscraper toppling and crumbling with no evidence whatsoever of the obvious human body count that would accompany it is way beyond me. Have they no shame? Would their “story” really suffer if their silly sci-fi/comic book showdown was staged on a beach or in a jungle?

Or, better yet, in a comic book. On a shelf. At Wal-Mart.

Enough already.

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