By Joan Alperin Schwartz
Might as well get right to it. What bothered me most about 'Godzilla' is that Godzilla is not the star of the film. He's barely a supporting player.
When the name of the film is GODZILLA, you'd expect our favorite, fire-breathing, bad-tempered, over-grown lizard to be the main character. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Who are the main characters you ask? Star crossed lovers - aka MUTOS (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) Seriously? That's the name the scientists, way back when, gave to these ancient flying creatures?
Okay, so these two MUTOS are in love and and want when everyone in love wants. You know, a family...And miracles of miracles, one is pregnant. Big Mama Monster is having lots and lots of babies. And being a caring mother, she wants to make sure her fetuses have lots to eat, so they'll grow up to be and strong.
The only problem is the MUTOS food of choice is radiation, and they don't care where they get it. They gobble up, planes, trains, computers, bombs and that's just for an appetizer.
Time for a quick back-story.
The film starts with several old stills of the U.S. dropping the nuclear bomb on Japan at the end of WW2.
We then move forward to 1999, where we meet nuclear physicist, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) who is investigating seismic activity at the Janjira nuclear power plant where he works. But before he can have his morning coffee, a horrific event occurs, which changes Joe's life forever.
We then flash forward to the present, where we meet Joe's now grown up, hunky, son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who's a lieutenant in the Navy, specializing in disarming bombs (convenient)
He lives with his wife (Elizabeth Olson) and their 3 year old super adorable son. Ford is estranged from Joe and hasn't seen him in years. But this being the movies, it doesn't take long for all that to change. Joe, who still lives in Japan, gets arrested for trespassing...Ford flies to his rescue and the rest is cinema magic.
And that means excellent CGI, which show monsters fighting monsters, cities getting destroyed, people being wiped out, huge tidal waves and all kinds of fun disasters, brought on by the two MUTOS. The MUTOs eventually vacate Japan in search of a more radioactive place to call home, which just happens to be...the City by the Bay.
But of course, Japan to San Fran is a long trip and this requires food. So the MUTOS make a couple of pit stops along the way, namely Hawaii and California.
Godzilla, when he finally did appear, got a lot of applause at the press screening I attended...The guy should open a Twitter account. He's very popular. And that's why I wanted MORE of him. I just felt cheated at the end. and from the lack of response when the credits rolled, I had a feeling others in the audience did as well.
'Godzilla,' written by Max Borenstein from a story by Dave Callaham, opens in theaters Friday May 16, 2014.
I gave the film 31/2 bagels out of 5.
Check out our Two Jews On Film video for more of my thoughts and what I imagined John's score to be.
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