Godzilla (2014)

Not 10 minutes into Gareth Edwards' weirdly off-kilter remake of the 1954 classic Godzilla, stunt-casted Bryan Cranston delivers a cringe-inducing scene. He's an American nuclear engineer in Japan who is forced to shut the door on his slow-footed wife (Juliette Binoche) and her team as the belly of a nuclear reactor in full-meltdown fills with radioactive gas. It's a stunning wreck of a scene that introduces this stunning wreck of a movie. Edwards ably stages scenes of mayhem and destruction as Tokyo, Vegas and Frisco are reduced to rubble and kindling by the gargantuan deep sea lizard and his two leggy foes, the M.U.T.O.'s. British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a big-eyed cipher, is the human star of the film, as the skeptical son of Cranston and Binoche's characters, who is a bomb disposal ace. Oddly, he never does actually get to show his bomb-defusing stuff, though, because he's too busy running toward or away from screaming monsters and screaming people. The real weakness in the film, IMO, is that we have no human villain to cheer against. It's tough to unload your animus on 300-foot-critters that humans created and who eat our weapons as if they were chili dogs. Reap, sow and all that jazz.The film also features the reliable David Strathairn as an admiral who is tasked with the destruction of the big battling baddies. His character is introduced in a truly bizarre tracking shot on the deck of an aircraft carrier as Strathairn's character addresses the crew, his back to the camera. When he finally turns to face the camera, I'm sure most of the folks in the audience were thinking, "Who the hell is he?" The picture is no biggie but see it if you must.


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