Film Review: 'Godzilla'
Opened: 16 May 2014
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
Director: Gareth Edwards
Producers: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers
Make no mistake. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is truer and far more faithful to its source material than Roland Emmerich's, stinking 1998 interpretation of the same name. While Emmerich’s version was all noise and destruction, with the actual beast projecting very little emotion and lacking depth, here Edwards at least tries to give the magnificent monster some character and dimension. He succeeds and makes Godzilla a fairly watchable summer blockbuster that delivers on what it promises, albeit not entirely.
Contrary to popular perception, Legendary Pictures’ reboot is not by any means just a disaster film with a huge CGI beast running amuck and causing widespread chaos. In fact, it’s not so much about the ‘King of Monsters’ being the threat at all, but more about a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or ‘MUTO’ that inadvertently hatches while under surveillance at a nuclear plant in Japan.
The result is a giant winged creature that escapes causing epic destruction and obliterating everything in its path and generally proving to be a nuisance for nuclear technician Joe Brody (Cranston), who’s wife, we learn, died many years prior as a result of the terrestrial organism, and who’s son Ford (Johnson, looking rather buff but displaying as much acting and emotional range as an overused fridge, although, who can blame him when he’s hardly the star attraction in the film), is having difficulty coming to terms with the mysterious disappearance of his mother all those years ago.
Ford, now a technician in the navy is married to a nurse Elle (Olsen, playing a simpering doe eyed damsel in distress to perfection), and has a son, and predictably, the trio become embroiled in nature’s ultimate fight for supremacy, when a larger creature, also known as 'Godzilla' or 'Gojira', emerges from the depths of the ocean and takes on not one, but two MUTOs head on causing all round epic devastation ("Let them FIGHT..." — by far the film's most squeal worthy, geek-gasmic moment) .
Godzilla is not bad by any means but definitely doesn't live up to the hype and edge of the seat mayhem and spectacle promised in its trailers. The special effects, unsurprisingly, are top notch and you’ll find yourself gawking at some of the fight sequences, but in essence, this all has a sense of déjà vu about it. Last year’s Pacific Rim, which also revolved around terrestrials and had a similar premise, was actually a far better film, probably because it came with minimal expectations.
A major grouse with Godzilla is that it doesn’t have enough characters. Both Johnson and Olsen are so bland that their stoic woodeness and zero chemistry adds nearly zilch to the film and It doesn’t help that key characters are killed off so early on either.
Still, that said, Godzilla delivers the goods for what can be termed fun and decent, yet eminently forgettable popcorn fare that probably needs to be enjoyed in IMAX format to appreciate the scale on which it was envisaged. It’s moody and atmospheric, and yes, in case I hadn’t said it already, it’s far better than the Roland Emerich turkey. I’m going with a respectable three stars.
Theatrical Trailer: Godzilla (2014)