posted by Joe Anaya on May 19th, 2014

Consider summer movie season officially started. A very good Captain America: Winter Soldier and a very bad Amazing Spider-man 2 not withstanding, the first mindless summer movie has entered theaters with a roar. Godzilla is a tough call for me.

At times long and boring and then at times exactly what I hoped for in a Godzilla movie. As my old boss used to say, “I feel strongly both ways.”

The makers spent a lot of time setting up the backstory of the hero (human, not creature) and trying to establish some emotional content for the monster mayhem to come. Typically, I’d praise a filmmaker for taking the time to put some humanity into an action movie or a horror flick or any genre picture. So, it feels odd to complain about spending too much time with people. But, they spent too much time with people in the first half of the movie. I paid to see a giant lizardy thing smash other things. The big guy doesn’t appear on whole until about an hour into the movie.

We’re teased (once too often) with news footage about to show two monsters fighting, only to cut away to humans making a soon to be ruined plan.

And maybe the emotional part of the story didn’t work because ultimately the humans have very little to do with the monsters, other than running from them. The mortals made plans but those plans oft went astray. The humans mostly end up being props to illustrate scale for the gigantic size of the monsters once they do appear.

And that’s when the fun begins. Unlike the 1998 version where the creators took the gigantic misstep of taking the magic and advances in Computer Generated Images and turned what was a man in a rubber monster suit into a computer generated image of a monster who looked like a man in a more snug monster suit. This 2014 Godzilla does not make that mistake. This version looks like the King of Monsters in an updated way. And that’s a good thing.

[Slight spoilers] The real fun is when the monster fights begin. When the monsters finally take over the movie, Godzilla and the other monsters look like giant creatures smashing their way through cities. The visual effects are well done. They look realistic but still keep the fun of giants laying waste to the puny human world erected while the behemoths lay dormant. And that’s exactly what I was looking for on this hot night.

So, while I admired the impulse to put some human emotion into the story, it was long and poorly executed. And while I had to wait longer than I wanted to see the monster-on-monster violence, it was worth it. As the credits rolled, I was exited to guess which monster nemesis would be in the next Godzilla, I’m hoping for Mecha-Godzilla. Roar!

File Under Mr. Cool