IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 73%
Directed By – Gareth Edwards
Starring – Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche, and Bryan Cranston
The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
I finally got around to seeing this film. It was my umber one most anticipated movie until I found out about “The Rover” and I decided to wait until the crowd died down to see it. Leaving the theater, I felt both satisfied and a bit underwhelmed, but overly glad I saw it. The film was given mostly good reviews but the bad ones seriously bashed the film for being poorly written, slow, and seriously lacking a gigantic creature from which the title gets it name. While all three are true in their own right, there are a lot of good things that happened in this film that left me wanting to see it again one day, and from hating the shit out of it.
Let me get this out of the way first. Bryan Cranston is amazing. He was easily the best part of the entire film and I’m including all the action, all the monsters, all the everything. The fact that he wasn’t in the film for all that much just goes to show how well he did because his character was the only one that I cared about and it wasn’t because of the writing. It was because of him. He gave a heart wrenching and intense performance. We all know how well he played Walter White. Hell, that character may go down as the greatest television character of all time when all said and done, but the man can flat out kill it in other roles. I hope this run of spotlight roles are an open window to him being used in more films because he alone is worth the price of admission. He was the best part of the film.
Besides him, the cast did what they needed to do. Juliette Binoche was in this for three minutes. “Happy Birthday! Okay, bye.” Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen were acceptable in their roles as a young husband and wife and Johnson did well in carrying the action. They needed a Japanese guy in this film and they got the most Japanese guy who we can almost understand in Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins just kind of followed him around. Cranston shined while the others just sort of glistened every once and a while.
The action! The action was pretty fucking awesome. I think I may have been one of the small minority of people to have actually seen (and own) Gareth Edwards first film aptly named “Monsters”, a low budget sci-fi flick with minimal action but gorgeous scenes of destruction. Well, they did a great job in hiring Edwards because I thought he directed the shit out of this. The film looked great. The pivotal scenes of monster on monster action were incredible and while they were few and far in between, delivered when present. I wish we saw a bit more Godzilla but the end justified the mean because the big fucking lizard out on a show for the last 20 minutes or so. I was almost cheering for ol’ lizard brain to crush more things. The evil monsters also had their own cool moments. They kind of reminded me of the bugs from “Starship Troopers” meets the thing from “Cloverfield”. That’s a good thing. They were both awesome. The reason why I was so excited for the film, the Halo jump, exceeded my expectations in being fucking gorgeous, intense, and creepy as shit. I mean, they used the goddamn music from 2001 when the monkeys discovered the monolith. I believe Wendy Carlos did that score but I’m not sure. It was dark and unnerving and a perfect compliment to the jump sequence. It was my favorite action set piece of the film.
There are faults though. The writing was pretty lazy and all over the place. I’ve always hated bringing in children during an action film for a couple reasons. The biggest reason is that you have to find a way for the damn kid to get saved. You think people wouldn’t get scared when a child is about to get killed because they rarely ever do on screen but no, everybody goes “OH NO. SAVE HIM.” It’s unnecessary and just distracting from the actual plot of the film. Unless you’re going to kill the kid and be original for once, leave that scene on the cutting floor. It’s a cheap way to create tension in a film with HUGE FUCKING MONSTERS THAT COULD CREATE TENSION.
There was also a complete lack of logic and results of a monster destroying an entire city. Everybody just kind of gets up afterwards and was like, “shit, a building just fell on me. That sucks.” This was more towards the end of the film but it still ticked me off.
Overall I enjoyed the film. I was into it any time there were monsters or Bryan Cranston on the screen and meh’d by it when there wasn’t. It still was a great sophomore film by Gareth Edwards and I hope he tackles more action movies in the future.
Suggested Viewing – The Host, Monsters, Pacific Rim