At The Movies With Javid #02

Godzilla-movie-reviewI’ve always had a thing for Godzilla.

Not like a sex thing you dirty bastard. Talk about throwing a sausage down a hallway – more like throwing a toothpick in the Grand Canyon, am I right? Huh? Huh?

Anyway, it was with much joy and excitement I headed off to the drive-in last weekend to catch the latest venture into the world of gigantic Japanese creatures.

Not only was I getting to see Godzilla, it also had Bryan ‘Heisenberg’ Cranston in it – and given that I finished watching Breaking Bad all of a month ago I found that to be mildly enticing. Combine this with some warm reviews in the lead up and some kick ass trailers and I was prepared for one hell of a ride.

Did I get one? Yes, quite ironic really considering I was sitting in my stationary car the whole time.

Is the movie going to be spoiled for you if you continue reading? Continue reading to find out!

Yes, yes it is – but only the shit bits. The shit bits being EVERY HUMAN CHARACTER IN THE FUCKING MOVIE.

The movie starts with Walter White and his wife (I never learned her character name, let’s call her Skyler), working in a nuclear reactor in Japan about 13 years ago. There’s been a disturbing amount of seismic activity lately. Best solution? SEND YOUR MISSUS DOWN THERE WHILE YOU GO LOOK AT SOME PAPER.

Of course everything goes haywire, the reactor breaches and Walt has to make a traumatic decision to let his wife die for the safety of everyone else, including a lovely scene where he stands watching her die through a glass window. Cue a bit of emotional investment in his character.

Meanwhile their kid is at school on a hill that has a convenient view of the plant. Sirens sound, the plant collapses and the class is evacuated, but the American kid just stands there (no teachers come to get him, appalling safety from Japanese schools) watching the plant come down. You’re left with the impression that no one survived. How could they have?

13 years later and Walt Jnr is now in the army. He’s just got home from a tour of duty and is about to have sex with his rather cute wife before the phone rings. It’s Dad, he’s been arrested in Japan. Instead of saying “What? My Dad died 13 years ago in an impossible-to-survive nuclear reactor collapse, AND I’m just about to have sex” he immediately leaves for Japan.

Dad was arrested for being where he shouldn’t, and he thinks some real shit is about to go down. He needs answers, and instead of being convinced against doing the exact same thing that got him arrested by his son, they go right back to grab some floppy disks. The air is no longer contaminated. It turns out everything this hurt, caring old man you’re finally starting to like said MIGHT ACTUALLY BE TRUE.

Then bam, they get busted.

Instead of throwing him in prison like they did the first time, or just shooting them on the spot, or at least KICKING THEM OUT OF THE QUARANTINE AREA, they take them right into the heart of it, where all these top-secret things are happening. Japanese schools, Japanese military, they really don’t seem to care about their jobs over there. Who needs to trespass when you can get a state-sponsored lift?

The fact that he worked there 13 years ago makes Walt a valuable person to the Japanese science/legend/sensai dude running things – despite the fact that if they were that desperate for someone who used to work there, they surely could have found one IN THE PAST 13 YEARS.

Of course, something strange is going on and it all just happens to go batshit crazy when Walt and Walt Jnr arrive.  As the first of the monsters (yes, there’s more than 1) makes its move, Walt falls off a scaffold (once again, these Japanese OH&S practices… sheesh) and gets seriously hurt.

Given his previous miraculous survival rate, surviving a building coming on down on him and such, you assume Walt will be fine. BUT HE IS NOT. The next time we see him he’s being put in a body bag. No farewell speech, no cryptic last words, BAM. Walter White is dead – but instead of 6 brilliant seasons it takes ALL OF 40 MINUTES.

You’re left feeling cheated, and not just because he was the face of the advertising campaign. Up until this stage in the movie, he’s the ONLY character with a bit of a back story, he’s the central focus of the film. He’s the one that goes through everything. You begin to identify with him as the protagonist, and it’s right at this stage that BAM, he dies.

This wouldn’t be so bad if ANY of the other characters had been given anything other than development so shallow you couldn’t drown a dachshund in it.

The son is supposed to be straight and narrow but bends to everyone’s will immediately. His wife misses him dearly but is always too busy to answer the phone when she’s supposed to be worried sick. The Japanese guy just wants to see the monsters fight, no matter the cost.

Then there’s the little Japanese kid, who wanders onto a train because his parents are too busy to attend to him, then gets his life saved by Walt Jnr as shit goes crazy, and then just wanders back to his parents, who don’t even have the gratitude to look to the man who saved their sons life. This movie makes Japanese people look like crazy assholes.

And of course there are the military, who are all about saving lives and instead end up putting at least as many at risk as the giant beasts. They’re also blindly determined to destroy these creatures by blowing them up with nuclear bombs, even though THEY FEED ON FUCKING RADIATION. At no point does someone with glasses even CONSIDER “Hey, this might kill them sure, but if they feed on this stuff isn’t there a chance this will just make them bigger and infinitely stronger?”

You might think with all this negativity that I drove out of the cinema thinking I’d just seen a horrid piece of shit, but I hadn’t. The monsters are awesome, the attack scenes are awesome, the graphics are awesome, Godzilla is awesome, the back-story about Pacific nuke tests and the legend is awesome. I’ve tried not to spoil these bits for you, because they’re awesome – and really, that’s why we go to see these films – but is it too much to expect some HALF DECENT FUCKING CHARACTERS?

The characters, their development and their mentality is ALL SHIT. I was really hoping for a better human element than the last Godzilla film (1998, starring Matthew Broderick), and really, it didn’t have too far to reach – but it failed.

As Godzilla finally returns to the ocean at the movie’s end, and people cheer as the news headline reads “Godzilla: Saviour of Humanity?”, you can’t help but wish that the monsters had united and killed every living soul.

Contrary to nearly everything I’ve written: 78/100


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