As a film, Godzilla is perfectly adequate. But that’s the nicest thing I can say about it. It’s always disappointing when a breakthrough director like Gareth Edwards catches the eye of a big studio only to be hired for rote product. Big blockbusters like this tend to swallow filmmakers whole and render them more or less anonymous (see also: J.J. Abrams‘s Star Trek, Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim). Edwards’s Monsters was a distinctive movie with real characters and story. His Godzilla is more expensive, but less of a movie. There’s nothing in it we haven’t seen a million times before.
Dir. Gareth Edwards
(2010, R, 93 min)
★ ★ ★ ½
Monsters is a science-fiction thriller that’s light on science-fiction thrills, but in this case that’s not a criticism. I wrote a couple of years ago regarding the BBC miniseries Torchwood: Children of Earth that sometimes special effects are the enemy of imagination. With a lot of Hollywood money at stake, oftentimes directors and digital artists are limited to explosions and pyrotechnics that will appeal to the broadest possible audience. But with fewer resources, you might have to actually think of something for your movie to be about, and then as a bonus have the freedom to make it.