2 Jun 2014


Long ago in the dark past, when Grunge was king, Godzilla was the king of late night TV.   I have fond memories of watching Godzilla battle his way through a variety of monsters, and devastate the major cities of Japan at the same time.  I cheered when Godzilla smashed Mothra, and burnt the smog monster, and I sighed when I realized, after twenty minutes in, that the film All Monsters Attack  was not a real Godzilla film, but some weird Japanese after school special  spliced together with footage from other movies. Still, I remained a fan.

I was not such a fan of the 1998 American Godzilla movie. Despite a pretty entertaining performance by Jean Reno it was a pretty awful film. Which is an interesting thing to say about a series of movies about a guy in a rubber suit smashing model buildings.

When I heard Hollywood was making a new Godzilla movie I wasn't all that fussed. But then you can't just review movies you think you will like, so we went along.

Surprisingly this film appears to follow the canon of the old Japanese films. All the nuclear testing after war seemed to awaken some ancient creatures that existed when the world was more radioactive. They arise and battle huzzah.
Spoilers follow

There is an excellent cast with  Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. None of whom are really utilised. Cranston has some nice scenes with Binoche, but then, well he dies. This was a nervous part of the film for me, because when such a talented actor dies early it is never really a good sign.  I really like Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a young actor, but all the cast are pretty one dimensional. The human elements of the story are basic, not bad but not great.

But who cares. No one that is a fan of Godzilla watches these films in the hope that a couple separated by natural (or unnatural) disasters reunites. Fans go to see the king of the monsters kick arse and take names.

Interestingly enough there is not a great deal of this. I estimate that the Godzilla scenes were maybe 15-20 minutes. While this may seem to be disappointing amount of screen time for the star, I found that the anticipation did build. Gareth Edwards did the same thing in his indie hit Monsters.  Making us wait until the end to reveal the spectacle of the alien creatures. Edwards keeps the big fight for the end, and I think he pulls it off because when Godzilla arrives in all his glory, it is awesome!  Even my partner enjoyed it when Godzilla appeared to battle the other monsters

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed myself, but I know I enjoyed it because I am a fan. I think that Gareth Edwards has made a successful Godzilla movie, but if you are not a fan of giant monsters or disasters movies then you might be disappointed.  I wasn't. Godzilla has returned as the king of the monsters and I hope there is a sequel. 


7 monkeys

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