‘Godzilla’: Monster reptile hogs all the scenes

  • Wed May 14th, 2014 2:17pm
  • Life

By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic

It must be getting tiresome after all these years. You’re trying to sleep off a terrific atomic hangover, but they keep pulling you back from your reptilian slumber. Another city to crush, another opponent to battle. Power lines everywhere. They send missiles at you, but they don’t work; they never do. Pretty soon, they unleash the nuclear option. Again.

Maybe it’s just me, but Godzilla looks weary in his latest outing, 60 years after his debut. This new “Godzilla” uploads some dazzling special effects (in 3D in some theaters) and unleashes them on Tokyo, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Godzilla himself goes up against a couple of angry MUTOs, large dinosaurish creatures related to a meltdown in a Japanese nuclear plant in 1999. Echoes of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster are very much encouraged.

“Let them fight,” says a scientist (Ken Watanabe), a man who has clearly seen Godzilla’s big-time clashes with the likes of Gamera and Mothra in the past. And so as the monsters make their way toward the North American coast, we can anticipate a battle royale on a seismic scale.

Like any diva, Godzilla doesn’t make his appearance until the show is well under way. Much of the time we’re focused on a Navy bomb expert (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and his wife (Elizabeth Olsen), who are drawn into the fray.

There’s also some backstory about his parents (Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche) and their involvement in the discovery of the MUTOs. The obligatory military effort against the monsters is led by David Strathairn — a fine actor, but not the man you want defending the future of the planet.

Listing these actors seems irrelevant. They are all equally colorless, their dialogue bland, their characters non-existent.

Taylor-Johnson, from the “Kick-Ass” movies, gives off little personality. I kept wishing the young version of Bruce Willis would swagger into the movie and take over, spreading a little humorous bravado around.

But no. Although the cast is intriguing, this movie has the same shortcomings as director Gareth Edwards’ previous effort, “Monsters.” Interesting idea, fantastic special effects, but incredibly awkward when it comes to detailing the human side of things.

If you don’t care about the human stuff, “Godzilla” has lots of destruction, evocatively shot. Godzilla himself looks great. Now let’s let him rest on the bottom of the ocean for a while until the next time a summer blockbuster is required.

“Godzilla” (2 1/2 stars)

Another go-round for the 60-year-old giant reptile, this time summoned when a couple of dinosaurish creatures emerge from a nuclear-plant disaster. Interesting cast — Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston — and dazzling effects, but the human part of the movie is completely bland and colorless.

Rating: PG-13, for violence

Opens: Friday at Alderwood Mall, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood Cinemas, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Thorton Place Stadium, Woodinville, Blue Fox Drive-In, Cascade Mall and Oak Harbor Plaza.