It has been a very long time since I have reviewed a book. It may have even been over a year at this point. What better way to get back into the industry than with Godzilla right? The film was fun even though it certainly could have been better to say the least. I know that many people weren’t crazy about Ford Brody in the film and I always thought that he was a bit of a non factor. After reading the book though, I can safely say that the character isn’t very good.
The book follows the plot of the film. Essentially, a creature destroys Ford’s mother along with many other people simply by waking up. Over a decade later, the monster has woken up along with a second one. They are known as the MUTO creatures and their abilities are unparalleled. With the EMP bursts that they can generate, the army is essentially out of their depth here. Their only course of action is to allow the Super Kaiju known as Godzilla to step in and save the day. The question is…did the government have a choice in the first place and can Godzilla really win the 2 on 1 fight? Pondering these questions is what makes the book fun.
I had a hard time getting past the beginning of the book because it starts off a little slowly. To the book’s defense, that is typically the case for just about every book that I read. It’s simply hard to start off with an interesting beginning that will keep you ready for action. Another problem is that the book adds some unnecessary details. See, Godzilla ended up attacking the island in 1954 because some animals were being tested on and it was defying nature. The government nuked Godzilla and the animals were hit as collateral. It makes the humans look terrible once again and you can see why a lot of people just end up rooting for Godzilla here. The Kaiju is the hero here and the humans need to get their act together if they want to win.
I wasn’t particularly crazy about the writing either. As I mentioned earlier, Ford wasn’t necessarily a negative for me in the movie, but I didn’t like him in the book. Not only is he incredibly generic, but he’s simply an unlikable character. He panics a whole lot and is almost always on the verge of tears. He constantly has to “tear himself away” from his son and family because he has a world to save, but he’s always so overly dramatic about it. Towards the end of the book, he even gets annoyed when people come to save him from the nukes. Sure, he’s tired and fatigued, but he should be grateful. It’s hard to simply spell out, but Ford just wasn’t my kind of character. I much preferred his father in the book. That plot was typically a lot more interesting than Ford’s.
Of course, the Godzilla scenes are the reason why you will buy the book. As with the movie, he doesn’t get a huge role and misses most of the first 75% of the book, but then he gets a solid fight in the end. The author definitely seemed to like the MUTOs as they were crushing Godzilla in the initial fight. In the film they temporarily started to overwhelm him as well, but here…they flat out beat him. Ford has to (accidentally) save Godzilla’s life by distracting one of the creatures. Once the MUTO is gone, Godzilla is able to take out the other one. Then he manages to defeat the second and proves that he is the strongest Kaiju out there, but I would have liked more G domination.
I also have to question the fact that the MUTO’s were able to short out his Atomic Breath. It’s not exactly standard electricity so I don’t think that an EMP would knock it out. If it could, then that means that the Government could essentially use the same tactic against him. Godzilla is also able to use it at the very end so I guess that the normal EMPs that the MUTO creatures generate is weak enough for Godzilla to overpower it. I’m glad about that at least. The Godzilla scenes are certainly the highlight as its fun to see the Kaiju in action although he could have looked a little stronger.
Back to the negatives, the writing goes to horror film mode at times as Ford loves to swear when he’s in danger along with just about every other character. It’s something that I always bring up because you wouldn’t have seen it back in the 70’s or earlier. Dr. Serizawa is a character that I didn’t like in any version and I still don’t care for him here. At one point, the government is out of options and they ask the doctor if Godzilla can defeat MUTO. Serizawa essentially shrugs and says his “iconic nature controls arrogant men” (Completely reworded and out of context, but you’ll likely know the line if you’ve scene the trailer. before he says to just let the monsters fight. Cmon Serizawa, the government is looking for a serious answer at this point.
Of course, the government doesn’t look too good when they decide to send a Nuke after Godzilla and the creatures. The climax has them essentially admit that MUTO and Godzilla could easily tank the missile. The plan seemed to be pretty bad from the start and reeked of desperation. While they like to think that there wouldn’t be too many casualties by dumping it in the river, many people would still die through the fish and the radiation that the wind carries. Nukes are never a great measure.
Also, they were hardly necessary. Maybe against the MUTO creatures, but against Godzilla, the airplanes were actually doing well. The book implies that they could have ultimately defeated Godzilla had some more planes come on board as they were dealing a lot of damage to the King. Long time Godzilla fans won’t like that of course, but it’s nice for the government to get in some wins once in a while. It’s like the old saying, “It’s why I’m here.”
I didn’t like the format that the book was in although I suppose that this will vary if there are any other versions. The type is simply too small. It’s part of the style as it allows the book to be small as well, but it’s not worth it. I like the classic hardcover style so much more as the print is nearly double the size of the Godzilla book and it makes the reading so much easier. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve had the book since sometime in February or earlier. I’ve renewed it 10 times from NYPL until I finally read it now. (And just in time too!)
Overall, the book got better once I was past the beginning, but I’m still not crazy about the writing. The characters just felt unlikable for the most part and the animals part in the beginning was really not needed. Godzilla also should have looked more impressive like how he was portrayed in the film. The book had its negatives to be sure and the format also made it a little tougher to read through. If you’re a big Godzilla fan, this is still a book to check out. If you aren’t looking forward to the Kaiju fights then you should probably take a pass on this book. After all, the fights were the climactic parts. If you don’t care for those, then it’s Game Over time!