A giant radioactive lizard terrorizes New York City. There are probably at least 100 different ways this could have been more interesting and exciting, but producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) instead opt to make their Godzilla movie two hours and twenty minutes of implausible, joyless tedium. The characters (if you could call them that) have no spunk, no personality, nothing to help you get engaged with the proceedings — and when you compare this to Devlin and Emmerich’s previous big summer blockbuster, it’s a real shame. Because Independence Day, while certainly implausible, had no problem whatsoever getting charisma and personality out of its enormous ensemble cast. Poor Matthew Broderick, Hank Azaria, Jean Reno, and company are only there for exposition. The one exception — the love relationship between Broderick and miscellaneous blonde actress #487 — is so cheesy and forced, you’d rather the movie get back to CGI monster mayhem than watch them try to fall in love… in the middle of a monster terrorist attack!
Which brings me to my main gripe with Godzilla: implausibility. I don’t need movies to make scientific sense. I don’t even need them to be believable most of the time. But when a movie like Godzilla gives me nothing else to hang my hat on, implausibility becomes a death knell. The biggest eyeroll is for the fact that Godzilla spends half the movie burrowing underground in New York City. Really? The subway tunnels are big enough to house God-fucking-zilla? And would miscellaneous blonde actress 487 really spend the two hours and twenty minutes trying to mack with Ferris Bueller when there’s a big giant monster trying to kill them the whole time? And when Godzilla dies (the first time, spoilers!), it’s kinda 90 minutes into the movie and he dies very easily and quickly. First I was upset at the anti-climax. Then I was upset that the movie had 50 more minutes to go! And those fifty minutes are spent at Madison Square Garden in an entirely different movie I didn’t ask for, where Godzilla has laid a bazillion eggs, and Ferris Bueller has to escape all the little baby Godzillas. And the baby Godzillas look like absolute CGI crap — some of the most unconvincing CGI the 90’s ever put on screen. And then the car driving out of Godzilla’s mouth… ugh. Devlin and Emmerich have always been silly, but Godzilla is just too much to bear.
Godzilla threatens to end twice before it finally does, which only made me angrier. The whole film is shot at night in the rain, so you feel like you’re stuck in the same scene the entire time. There’s no ambience, no atmosphere. There is cheesy slow-motion photography and bad jokes. Godzilla looks kinda stupid. His babies look even worse. Even composer David Arnold, who almost single-handedly makes Stargate or Independence Day watchable, was like, “I’m not gonna try very hard this time.” If I had to say anything nice about it, I’d say that Godzilla’s death is a good moment. It’s one of the only times the movie ever gets quiet and thoughtful. I felt bad for Godzilla. I felt bad that Sony dragged him out of his grave and made him star in this shitty movie.
Godzilla‘s ad campaign was built around “Size does matter,” which is hella cute. And I believe that. Big things are awesome. I like ’em big! But have you ever noticed that the bigger they are, the dumber they are?