Director: Gareth Edwards (2013)
This handsome reboot of the Japanese sci-fi classic is monstrously poor, resurrecting the giant lizard with dazzling computer graphics but failing to create any excitement, tension or fun.
Characters are thin and lack humour, the dialogue is banal and the story needs focus. It lumbers from Japan to California creating plot-holes so deep they could hide a massive mutant reptile.
Nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife in a mysterious explosion at a Japanese power plant. Fourteen years later and he has become a conspiracy theorist trying to establish what really happened.
When his estranged son, naval Lieutenant Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), visits they are arrested investigating the quarantine zone where his wife died. Taylor-Johnson can be excellent but here he is a dead-eyed, muscle-bound charisma bypass.
They are taken to a secret base where scientists are keeping a huge radiation-eating insectoid called a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. It promptly buzzes off to the US to mate with another escaped Muto.
Scientist Dr Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) has nothing to contribute except listen attentively to Dr Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) bang on about the balance of nature. He displays a surprising amount of Godzilla background knowledge considering it’s the first time he or anyone else has ever encountered the beast.
Elizabeth Olsen plays Ford’s wife Elle who has very little to do. Director Edwards must shoulder the blame for his poorly written characters being absent-mindedly picked up, toyed with and forgotten about.
With no-one to empathise with we fail to care what’s happening on screen, regardless of the marvellous work of cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.
Meanwhile Godzilla appears and swims across the Pacific to fight the Mutos. The US navy manage to lose sight of him despite his size.
A dog is put in danger in a shameless attempt to generate tension. Then children are put in jeopardy in a school-bus on a bridge. I haven’t seen that happen since ooh, The Dark Knight Rises.
Military Intelligence decides to attack the radiation-eating monsters with a nuclear weapon. This is clearly stupid so Lieutenant Ford must parachute in to defuse the bomb, ending the film with a whimper not a bang.
The name Godzilla comes from the Japanese word Gojira and is made of two words; Gorira, meaning gorilla and kujira meaning whale. So not so much a giant lizard. But it would probably have made for a more fun movie.