Godzilla

Poor Godzilla. Being an alpha predator is such a thankless job. He's only trying to keep the world safe from giant mutant praying mantises, and all he gets is the military shooting at him, when they aren't just stalking him, waiting for another excuse to shoot. It's mostly the U.S. Navy shooting and stalking, since he's an amphibious ape-lizard alpha predator, so he swims when he isn't stomping around on two legs like a T-Rex. I realize that's a pretty odd-sounding description, but, well, Godzilla's always been odd-looking.

It's also difficult to say his name with a straight face sometimes, though Ken Watanabe (Inception) as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa does a good job of managing it. I usually want to burst into that "Go, Go, Godzilla" song myself. Anyway, Serizawa is the world expert on Godzilla and his ilk, it seems, though he's sort of a secret expert since no one's supposed to know Godzilla is real. Serizawa and his loyal assistant Vivienne (Sally Hawkins) apparently go chasing after any reports of large, prehistoric-looking beasties, making sure that the big guy doesn't show up again.

What they're supposed to do if he shows up again is something they didn't actually expect to have to worry about, however, since they seem totally flummoxed when the inevitable happens. Enter Bryan Cranston (Total Recall) as mad scientist Joe Brody. He lost his wife (Juliette Binoche) to a prehistoric beastie attack 15 years ago in Japan and has gotten progressively weirder ever since. His son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who was in the teaser scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, though they don't call him either of those things), is just vaguely embarrassed by him and tries to pretend he doesn't exist. Ford is in the Navy, doing Explosive Ordnance Disposal. This is what's known as Foreshadowing.

Anyway, there are these giant praying mantis things that are like Godzilla but not quite as big. They all eat radiation, which means that things like nuclear reactors and missiles seem like tasty treats. Oddly, they don't seem to eat anything else, except perhaps the occasional missile casing, and I can't imagine that has much nutritional value, or calories, come to that. I could understand needing the occasional dose of Vitamin U-235 with their food, but eating only radiation seems a bit of a stretch. But there we are. The whole movie's a bit of a stretch, really.

Ford is just back from deployment when he has to pack right back up again and head to Tokyo to bail his dad out of jail. Then monsters start happening, etc., and he spends the rest of the movie trying to get back to wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen, who was also in the teaser scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as Wanda Maximoff, aka The Scarlet Witch, though they don't actually use those names, either). It's probably very weird to go from playing husband and wife to playing siblings.

From there it's pretty much what you'd expect, with lots of fighting and destruction and tiny little people fleeing for their lives as giant monsters kick each other around. It's a little depressing, actually, to think of how little anything that size would notice us, or even our cities. It's almost like they're knocking over sandcastles when the buildings are falling down. And... it wasn't really as much fun as Pacific Rim, though I'm not absolutely sure why. I like Ken Watanabe a lot, but he wasn't in enough scenes. Ditto David Strathairn (The Bourne Legacy) as Admiral William Stenz, though he also had the problem of a not very likable character to work with. So three and a half out of five, I guess. They tried to make it fun -- there's a little shout-out to Mothra, for instance -- but somehow it doesn't click. Still, the next flick in the series is already in the works, so even if Godzilla cares about the critics, he can still just laugh all the way to the bank.

Image: 
Godzilla challenges the Kraken from the Clash of the Titans to a roaring contest

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nice articles

nice articles

nice articles

nice articles

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