So, having watched Godzilla, I have to say I enjoyed the film. It gave me what I wanted from a Godzilla film - the movie itself had a strong human element at the beginning, introduced the potential threat of the daikaiju, then moved to awakening the daikaiju and introducing them as forces of nature humanity simply won't control. The middle part of the movie had humanity trying to figure out a way to deal with these things, while the threat of the daikaiju grow and destruction becomes a major part of the film, and the end result is humanity scrambling while the daikaiju do their thing. If you've seen the earliest of the Godzilla movies, you'll recognize this pattern. This is how Godzilla rolls.

Godzilla himself gave me everything I wanted from him. He had everything I had hoped for, and more than I had expected to see from him. He was Godzilla, doing what he does best. The only thing that stood out as 'weird' was his stumpy feet, I had expected to see his feet portrayed a bit more realistic than they were, and this was perhaps the only disconnect I had. Other than that however, he was a giant titan of butt-kicking, and they showed aspects of him I did not expect them to introduce. So, in that, I was pleased.

Now, for the elephant in the room.

The one thing I did not like - the big thing that stood out as 'off' to me, which prevented me from considering this the perfect Godzilla film - was Ken Watanabe. It wasn't his fault - I blame the script. He was there, but his role in the movie was almost passive. He put as much gravitas as he could into his lines, but... well, let's see how to best put this:


In my opinion, the movie spent a big chunk of time in Japan. However, it appears that the people who made this movie didn't want this to be a "Japanese" film, so there were a few too many white people in Japan, doing things you would expect Japanese people to do. The big guy in the nuclear power plant is white. There's a tonne of white people running things at the second base later on, in Japan. When Hero #1 is being interrogated, it is by a white person, in Japan. White and black people take over the show once the crap begins to hit the fan, and from that point on Ken Watanabe is relegated to a ghost on the screen. His big act to further the plot is to point out Hero #1 and Hero #2 to the Americans, so the heroes can still be involved. He keeps nudging an American and says 'You don't want to do this. It won't work.' a few times. And show how in awe he is of Godzilla, and how respectul he is of Godzilla. Beyond that? He doesn't do a heck of a lot. Nobody really listens to him except at one point, really. He's just along for the ride.

In my opinion, this was, "yeah, we know Godzilla is a big thing in Japan. I guess we should have some Japanese people in here. Oh, and I guess we should have a Japanese character along for most of the movie. What should we do with him? Uhh, I don't know. I guess we can give him a few lines. But this is an American film, and the Americans get to do all the cool things." And that pisses me off. Did you want some Americans in this movie? That's fine. Know what could have been done?

Hero #1 is Japanese. Hero's Wife is American. Hero #2, then, is American-Japanese. Fast-track to the present. Hero #2 has married an American Woman. Lives in America. There you go... doesn't impact the plot in any negative way, and you have the added bonus of a mixed-race main character.


Ken Watanabe's character could have played a much bigger role. He might have understood more about what's going on. People could have listened to him. He could have spoken with Hero #1 instead of some faceless American, and learned first-hand just how much Hero #1 knew. He could have felt responsible for the Turning Point, and decided to actively help Hero #2, working with him and trying to get him home. Ken Watanabe's sidekick could have also been Japanese as well - I don't know why she wasn't to begin with, but having her be Japanese would not have hurt the movie one bit. (Oh, side note - I DID like that she called Ken's character 'Sensei'. Loved that.)

So, Godzilla gets 4 / 5 from me. It loses one specifically because of my beef with what wasn't done with Ken Watanabe or the entire first half of the film. But that's just me.