Thursday, 19 June 2014

'Godzilla' Film Review

Godzilla returns in this year's reboot of the franchise, the last of which was in 1998. Making use of recent technology, the movie is no doubt the most visually breathtaking rendition of the legendary monster.

Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), who lost his wife in a nuclear plant explosion 15 years ago believes the government is hiding something and is obsessed with finding the truth. When he is caught trespassing in the radiation zone, his son Ford (Aaron Taylor Johnson) comes to take him home. 

Desperate to prove his theory, the two sneak back into their old home one last time for some of Joe's old tapes, but is caught and is taken to the site of the old plant. There, a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) is awakened and starts causing havoc across the world.

Godzilla resurfaces from the ocean depths and it too begins a trail of destruction. Despite Dr Serizawa (Ken Watanabe)'s pleas of patience, the United States Army prepares its protocol for defense, which threatens the whole population of the West coast.

Whilst I don't know much about Godzilla or its history, the 2014 version appears to bring in more Japanese references and culture that places it as a Japanese creation, whilst ensuring its stature as an American modernisation. 

The slow start and the slightly confused location hopping doesn't help; and whilst the skeletons and remains of other ancient creatures pop up to wow us, the movie doesn't truly begin until glimpses of Godzilla appear on our screen. 

Many critique the short screen time of the title character and I'll agree that the movie rarely gives us full shots of the monster. Rather, the MUTOs often overshadow 'the king of the beasts'. By bringing these extra terrestrial organisms into the movie- it almost feels like an 'Alien vs predator' type film. The two battle their way with no regard for human destruction, and similarly, we feel the same.

The only person we really feel for is Joe Brody in the emotional start of the film when his wife dies, but *spoiler alert* once he too is gone, we are left emotionally attached to noone, maybe Elizabeth Olsen's Elle Brody, but only slightly. 'Godzilla' sadly detaches us from much human connection and as such, the wreckage and destruction caused leaves us desensitized.

Thankfully, the overlong movie (at 123 mins) redeems itself with a beautifully cinematic finale (the colours, mood and everything was spot on) that was slightly convenient, short and predictable but nonetheless, executed with style, with iconic flair.

Aaron Taylor Johnson- Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe- Dr Serizawa
Bryan Cranston- Joe Brody
Elizabeth Olsen- Elle Brody

Also stars Sally Hawkins, CJ Adams and Juliette Binoche.

~~~OVERALL 3/5~~~
The recent 'Godzilla' is definitely the most visually stunning of the film franchise, but the prolonged run time and the lack of the monster, emotional attachment and a spot on script really leave you wondering what this movie does offer. The strong cast and visual style of the finale does offer some redemptive qualities, but my dozing off three quarters of the way through is perhaps representative of my feelings towards it in general, a bore.

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