I know a lot of people had some pretty diverse opinions about Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot, especially concerning the screen time of a certain 150-meter-tall-city-stomping-radioactive-fire-spewing-Japanese-lizard. However, it also turns out that Bryan Cranston was not happy with the amount of time another character spent on-screen.
While appearing in a Nerdist podcast, Cranston explained he was dissatisfied with the early death of his estranged father figure character. Just after reuniting with his son, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Cranston's character is unceremoniously crushed by a crane before being seemingly saved. Unfortunately, he only lives long enough to deliver the obligatory heartbreaking monologue to his son. Regarding the scene, Cranston stated:
That character dying at that time was a mistake. I knew it when I read it. When I read it I said, 'Oh, page 50 this character who was the emotional core at the center, that was guiding the audience in the story up to that point - he dies?' What a waste.
Check out one of Cranston's emotional Godzilla scenes below:
Apparently, Cranston voiced his concerns to the production staff, although it seemed it was too late to do anything about it. He continued:
They kind of dealt with it poorly, that's my only criticism of it because I think it was a fun movie, it was a very successful movie. I told them that even if I wasn't doing this role, that character shouldn't die at that point. It's just bad narrative, but they were too far down the road.
Cranston doesn't seem to mind that his character was killed off, merely that it could have been done at different time in order to illicit a stronger emotional impact. He added:
...That character should have been with his son and they would've started to bond a little bit more and they went on this journey together to go back home and be reintroduced to his grandson. Just when they're bonding and it looks like they could have a relationship, the father sacrifices himself to save his son. And that's the way he should have died.
Now usually, I'd follow Bryan Cranston off a cliff if needs be (with a massive grin on my face because I'm with Bryan Cranston), but in this case, I slightly disagree with him. Although Cranston might see the above as 'good narrative,' I'm more inclined to see it as 'cliché narrative' - it's the kind of cheap emotional story device we've seen time and time again in any blockbuster featuring a father and son. It's just a bit predictable. Getting bonked on the head by a crane half an hour into the movie is much more surprising, and in my mind, satisfying to watch - even if it does mean Cranston's acting ability is wiped from the film. But that's just me.
Watch another example of Cranston bringing the emotion in another Godzilla scene below:
That being said, Godzilla did slightly struggle to find an emotional core following his death. Although the relationship between Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen's characters did somewhat fill the void, it never really developed and Olsen's character was generally underused.
But, at the end of the day, this is a movie about a giant monster fighting another giant monster, and when the mighty toes of Godzilla are squashing a condominium, it's probably not the best time to redefine and rediscover familial ties anyway. Perhaps it was better Edwards followed Ken Watanabe's character's advice and simply "let them fight."