This new iteration of "Godzilla" is directed by Gareth Edwards, who won critical acclaim for his low-budget 2010 flick, "Monsters." Here, he's got, relatively speaking, an unlimited budget to bring an iconic monster to life -- and the results are very good, but not great.
Bryan Cranston plays Joe Brody, an American scientist overseeing a nuclear power plant in Japan in the late 1990s. Thanks to Cranston’s performance, a gut-wrenching scene in which the power plant is all but destroyed makes us immediately care about Brody and his family. Years later, Brody’s convinced that what happened then was not a natural disaster. He's so focused on proving it, he puts his relationship with his son and grandson on the back burner.
Nobody will listen to Brody but, as you've probably guessed, he was right all along. More importantly, we care. If we didn't, we'd probably be impatient to see Godzilla. Instead, we get an arresting story about a person.
But then something happens, and we stop caring so much. Then Godzilla shows up and we’re back to caring, because this version of the monster is legendary. On a scale of one to 10, give this Godzilla a solid 9.
And that’s the problem. There’s not enough Godzilla. When the monster’s away, the movie drags. It’s clear what Edwards and company are trying to do here. i.e. less is more. The issue is, this Godzilla is so much fun to watch, we never want it leave the screen and when he/she/it's not there, it's a letdown. Most of the characters in this movie just aren't particularly interesting. And besides, the name of the movie is "Godzilla," not "People."
Having said that, the finale, more or less, makes it all worth the wait.
Three-and-a-half out of five stars.