Whilst I was growing up the only experience of Godzilla I had was the cartoon show followed by the 1998 blockbuster film. Other than that I really didn’t know much else about the lore and origins of such a following. But one thing I couldn’t quite understand was why this beast was so awesome and regarded as such an icon amongst his adoring fans. I couldn’t understand why from watching from the kids TV show (which also featured the miniature Godzuki) that this towering reptile became stuff of legends. And after seeing the 1998 American film that portrays Godzilla as a 60-meter tall foe I was then lost as to why there was a fan base for a villain. How Godzilla is depicted in various cultures and countries varies from what I’ve gathered and the latest film shows off and taught me about this creature being the greatest weapon man could ever have on our side.
From the start of the film we’re introduced to the history of Godzilla whilst the opening credits reveals the names of the cast amongst redacted documents honing in on the theme of government and conspiracies. The cast included from the start features researchers played by Ken Watanabe (Inception) and Sally Hawkins (Happy-go-lucky) and scientists Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and his on screen wife Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) setting an eerie atmosphere from the discovery of an unhatched life form living deep underground and how it relates to strange seismic activities picked up by the scientists. Causing an unnatural disaster and the loss of many lives, the emergency evacuation features great performances from the actors and sets the standard of what Dolby’s new Atmos Mix can generate for intense cinema sound.
The film really gets into it’s stride when Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) and onscreen wife Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy) appear 15 years later after the accident whilst the unhatched egg begins to draw attention to the researchers as it replicates the same seismic activity. Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) leads us through suspense as we still have no idea what was dormant, now active within. From here on the real movie begins and we’re thrown into a film where a new foe tears through cities nicknamed a MUTO as the army calls it. Amongst the destruction and wide spread chaos Taylor-Johnson’s military character Ford aims to help the army lure the enemy away from the various cities and make it back to family.
The introduction of Godzilla is the most awaited part of the film and is certainly the most exhilarating scene stealing moment when that retro screech an rumbling roar stops your heart in it’s tracks for a few moments. I honestly felt very satisfied with what is now a sky-scraping creature, taller than any incarnation I’ve every experienced before. Even though every cinema goer will be primarily attending to see the beast you won’t be disappointed with the downtime segments with Ford’s role which other blockbuster films sometimes fail at with balancing and pacing. Being a bomb specialist Ford makes it his goal to assist the troops with keeping the radiation tanks away from the hungry MUTO creature who needs it to feed it’s even larger queen. You get an incredible contrast of man verses monster with these scenes as we see the human’s having to fend off these attacks from the electric magnetic pulse charged monsters that disrupt all things electrical.
At times the film will feel like it doesn’t want you to see Godzilla surfacing from the water to fight these other creatures as it’ll frequently lead you away from the action. I personally think it works well this way and that you shouldn’t threat too much from this as it helps focus on the more serious matters at hand: humanity’s survival. Whether it be rescuing the innocent or showing us another man verses monster plan to bring the collateral damage down you’ll be eventually rewarded with the beast brawling that doesn’t disappoint. Having a structure set out like this reminds us of the importance of the individual players within a disaster movie, what unforgettable and important roles they play and the importance of setting aside all differences to come together to fight a bigger foe.
I loved this film for what it did differently compared to the other Godzilla films and other similar movies out there. It was the importance of the human characters that could have been disregarded or them not being important amongst the towering enemies which was executed correctly. The fact that the film was perfectly paced, nothing was rushed and the reveals were spectacularly well timed so that we wouldn’t get bored in the 123 minute feature. The attention to detail in the sound design with the Dolby Atmos Mix locking you into the emersion of buildings crumbling around you as the monsters roar overhead. And finally the casting and performances weren’t overdone and it was great to see these actors not being upstaged by Godzilla himself. I can honestly say I left the cinema with a new sky-scraping hero that certainly knows how to pack quite a mean punch.
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