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May 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Early reviews of Godzilla, mostly from trade, magazine, and British critics, have arrived, and in some instances it’s difficult to determine whether the writers approve or disapprove. Take Todd McCarthy’s review in the Hollywood Reporter, for example: “Superbly made but burdened by some dull human characters enacted by an interesting international cast who can’t do much with them, this new Godzilla is smart, self-aware, eye-popping and arguably in need of a double shot of cheeky wit,” he writes. He then dutifully appraises its commercial prospects: “Domestic commercial prospects look very strong … but even better overseas.” But Alonso Duralde in appears to argue that the film could have drawn even bigger crowds if it had simply given Godzilla more things to do. “Is it too much to ask that a Godzilla movie feature more Godzilla than, say, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead features Hamlet?” he asks. “Sixty years after debuting on the big screen, Godzilla is still a global superstar; if Americans are going to build big-budget movies around him, they could at least give this legend more screen time.” Richard Corliss in Time magazine is clearly disappointed that a bevy of first-rate screenwriters were unable to create a film that lived up to the promise of its trailers and instead chose to preach to its audience about the folly of war. “All these political implications are for screenwriters and critic to purr and wrangle over. Every other moviegoer just wants to see the end of the world threatened and averted,” Corliss remarks. He acknowledges, however that “the title character looks imposing.” [The publications of Time Inc. have fallen on hard times of late, and the unit is on the cusp of being spun off by Time Warner, all of which raises the question of whether fact checkers are no longer checking Time‘s critics. Corliss erroneously refers to “Nevada, where the government tested its H-bombs.” Hydrogen bombs, vastly more powerful than the original atomic or A-bombs, were tested in the Pacific, not Nevada.”] Robbie Collins in the London Telegraph observes that the filmmakers no doubt faced the problem of how to update the Godzilla tale and then “solved the problem by dodging it.” A good thing, too, he suggests. “The result is a summer blockbuster that’s not just thrilling, but that orchestrates its thrills with such rare diligence, you want to yelp with glee.” Fellow Brit critic Geoffrey Macnab, however, says that what the filmmakers mostly take away from the original is the cheese. He initially praises Gareth Edwards, also a Brit, for his “extraordinary visual flair” and actors Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche for bringing “an emotional intensity to the film that you simply don’t expect in a summer blockbuster.” But once the monsters hit the screen, looking “as if he has just escaped from such low budget Ray Harryhausen movie shooting in somebody’s garden nearby,” he comments, “the cheesiness becomes overwhelming.” Paul McInnes in the Guardian, on the other hand, in a mostly critical review, remarks: “At least they get the monster right.” MacInnes’s take overall on the movie: “Predictable and two-dimensional. Godzilla is still not without moments of beauty.”