Posted May 16, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

Godzilla Review


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I don’t want to oversell this, but Gareth Edwards has created the best monster movie of the 21st Century, after his own Monsters of course.

Godzilla stars Aaron Taylor Johnson as Ltnt. Ford Brody, a bomb disposal expert who finally returns from active duty to spend some quality time with his wife, Elizabeth Olsen, and son. Unfortunately, his father has been arrested in Japan and Brody has to travel from his native San Francisco to bail him out. His father, the dough-faced Bryan Cranston, plays a former nuclear engineer who believes that there is a conspiracy behind the death of his wife, who worked alongside him at the Janjira Nuclear Plant and died there fifteen years ago in an unexplained accident. Once in Japan, Brody is corralled into travelling back to the plant, now a quarantined zone guarded heavily by the military. Unfortunately for Brody, it turns out that his father isn’t some grief-stricken kook and sure enough, they uncover a conspiracy about gestating ginormous nuclear creatures from the dawn of earth’s creation. Brody foolishly promises to get home to his wife and son in one piece, which seems rather unlikely considering the unbridled destruction that is about to take place.

Before I talk about the epic scale, the heart-thumping soundtrack and even the big man himself (Godzilla, not Taylor Johnson) – I need to devote a paragraph to the beauty of the film. There are moments in the films composition, palette and lighting which create these picture perfect moments. At several points in the film I thought, yeah – I’d put that on a wall somewhere. Gareth Edwards has inserted pauses in the film where the noise and the visuals just slow all the way down, the film breathes and you have a moment to take in everything that you see on screen.

Godzilla himself won’t disappoint. Whilst playing homage to the original 1954 film, they’ve kept something of his clumping, roaring quality but updated it using CG. It’s clear that character animation techniques and ideas of weight and movement have been discussed and researched at length. You won’t be sitting back thinking that Godzilla was digitally created, he looks as real as he possibly can. And when that thing roars, it really roars.

The cast list is filled with serious thespian types – from Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Juliette Binoche.  It all lends to the credibility of the film; this is a film that takes itself seriously, which is again a homage to the 1954 original. The film gently mumbles about mans attempt to bend nature to it’s own will, the environment and the military – but its all in the background – it’s ostensibly a monster movie.

The effects will blow you away and Gareth Edwards sets a new standard with effects that are both aesthetically driven and visually engaging. I can’t remember the last time I watched a CG driven sequence and thought it was too fast and messy – maybe Inception? The credits are filled with hundreds of CG artists who have done an exemplary job, no doubt aided by a knowledgeable director who speaks their language. I’d want to see more CG driven films helmed by directors who know exactly what they want.

I was initially sceptical about Gareth Edwards helming Godzilla, conversely because I enjoyed Monsters, his directorial debut, so much. I wondered if the shift from independent film to mega blockbuster wouldn’t work. As you can tell from the sheer length of my awed ramblings, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I can give you only one piece of advice, it’s to see it on the biggest screen possible; it deserves the space.

4 Stars

 

 

 

Maliha Basak

 

 


editor