Godzilla 2014 and my Visceral Hatred of its Choices

on May 2nd, 2018 | Filed under Asides, Optoblog, Reviews

WARNING: *Spoilers*

As I mentioned before, I saw Godzilla (2014) in 3D with my son in the movie theater. At the time, I was disappointed with the story choices they made regarding killing the father off early on.

I saw the movie again on BluRay with the entire family, and I felt felt a strong, visceral hatred of the storyline- made worse by the fact that everyone was board. My girls fell asleep. My son was on the laptop Googling Minecraft stuff. My wife was into the movie at the start, but after the Hawaii sequence (the one right after he dies), she started shopping on her phone! I had to tell her to look up every once in a while so that she wouldn’t miss a nice shot, like when the son jumps out of the airplane or when Godzilla opens the mouth of the female monster and breathes fire into her. (“Why didn’t he just do that at the beginning instead of destroying the city,” she said.)

I just wasted my family’s entire evening! It was a gigantic waste of potential in exploring the divide between a father and son after the death of the wife/mother as well as the decisions military commanders and scientists make. After the father dies, I no longer care about the human story and keep looking at my watch waiting for the monsters to fight so we can get this movie over with.

I will propose ways the story could have kept me entertained, but first let me go beyond my visceral response and repeat and expound logically about the flaws in the story of Godzilla (2014):

…the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Further, killing the father eliminated the only character I cared about. He’s the only character the story explored, and they don’t even reference him at all the rest of the film! His death meant nothing to anyone, not even his own son as far as we can tell.

The son is just a punk who barely says anything. He’s too quiet. Sure, he’s got a wife and kid and just came back from the Sand Box, but big deal. Why should I care about him when I just watched his father close the blast door on his mother.

Also, the filmmakers missed a great promotional opportunity with Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe. In every scene, he should have been carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels (or whatever brand of alcohol that would pay the most to be in the film). That’s the best way to explain his character’s broodiness.

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