Godzilla: Does Gareth Edwards’ epic live up to the hype?

Godzilla

Directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Max Borenstein, Godzilla is a beast of a film that sadly appears to have forgotten about its central monster.

1950’s: A previously dormant beast (Godzilla) is awakened by a submarine accident. Military personnel cover up the incident and repeatedly try to kill the giant, squamous monster. They fail.

Philippines, 1999: Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) discovers two strange looking spores in an underground cave. Meanwhile in Japan, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) go to their day jobs at the nuclear power plant. Some sort of movement causes a radiation leak and kills Sandra.

15 years later: A committed Joe has dedicated his life to researching the strange electromagnetic pulses that caused a radiation leak and were ultimately responsible for killing his wife.

Joe’s son, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) travels to Japan to bail his father out of jail and as a result, is plummeted full throttle into a merciless battle of the giants. Ford is now adamant to do what he can to help, but can’t seem to find his place since Godzilla is the only one that can save the city. That’s right. Save the city.

First of all, I want to start out with the films biggest fault. This film lacked a certain amount of ‘Godzilla’. No, really. Godzilla really didn’t have much screen time, not nearly as much as he deserved. With near on perfect CGI and one hell of a monster, you really expect him to take the lead in the department of ‘which monster gets the most screen time’, but he doesn’t. He is introduced late, and even when he is finally introduced, there is barely any focus on him. There are two other monsters that are flying/swimming/thrashing around and, alas, the center of interest is definitely on them.

With this noted, there is not a boring scene to be found in this action packed flick. Every image is full of impact, like a giant claw thrashing down on the statue of liberty. Although less focus is put on Godzilla himself, the movie follows familiar patterns as Edwards shows a fascination with the aftermath caused by the relentless destruction of stupendously powerful monsters.

The strong plot, inventive script and suspenseful soundtrack overrides the weak, undeveloped characters and their unnecessary back-stories. Edwards, clearly fascinated with his war toys, surprisingly manages to pull off some beautiful cinematography formed from admirable camera work that captures beautiful landscapes. Coinciding with the destruction, this film is not plain to look at.

The biggest twist in this action packed Sci-Fi flick is that it’s not a battle between human and monster, but more about the balance of nature and allowing nature itself to run its course without the need of human interference. Of course, human nature is also a strong theme, and leaving things alone is not in our nature. We fail. Godzilla succeeds.

Radiating with fantastical CGI, the most interesting characters were the spectacular monsters. It’s just a shame that ‘Godzilla’ really did lack Godzilla. Still, it’s entertaining through-out and absolutely worth a trip to the cinema.

  • Biggest fault: So, er… Where’s Godzilla?
  • Best feature: Action packed with astounding CGI.

Lorna Webb

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