Godzilla - Review

HEAR ME ROAR - Gareth Edwards reverted back to the monster which first made an appearance on the big screen back in 1954 in Japanese director IshirM Honda's 'Godzilla'.
HEAR ME ROAR - Gareth Edwards reverted back to the monster which first made an appearance on the big screen back in 1954 in Japanese director IshirM Honda's 'Godzilla'.

I knew Gareth Edwards had pulled it off when I felt my eyes watering in the wee small hours of Wednesday morning.

I’d managed to secure an invitation to a pre-screening of the latest summer blockbuster, ‘Godzilla’ in the Brunswick Moviebowl and despite the fact I was dreaming of my bed beforehand, when the film started to roll, I was hooked, wide awake and on the look out for the beast they call ‘The King of the Monsters’.

I was a big fan of Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film ‘Monsters’. It had the perfect blend of simple storyline, contemporary special effects and one hell of an atmosphere.

British born director, Gareth Edwards, made ‘Monsters’ with a budget of $500,000 and it’s heart-warming to see that his reward was a budget of $160m for ‘Godzilla’.

As a direct result of the small budget, monsters were few and far between in ‘Monsters’ but Edwards created an atmosphere like a skilled apothecary making the best medicines money can buy.

I was a little sceptical when I found out how much Edwards had to spend on ‘Godzilla’ as I thought he might be tempted by style over substance. I was completely wrong.

The first hour of the film works so hard at creating this horrible sense that something truly awful is about to happen and when it does there can be no denying its significance.

The film begins with the most wonderful set of opening credits. They act as a salute to all of the films where Godzilla has made an appearance since Ishirō Honda’s 1954 Japanese movie ‘Godzilla’.

Then, it’s 1999 and we are in the Philippines where Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa is summoned to what can only be described as a one of the most significant finds in the history of man.

Dr. Serizawa is part of a group known as MONARCH whose sole responsibility is find and destroy the monster, ‘Godzilla’, however, when a set of even more deadly and horrible creatures arrive on the scene a very unlikely hero comes to the fore.

The special effects are awesome, the destruction is so believable that I found myself checking Google Earth after just to make sure parts of Japan, Hawaii and San Francisco hadn’t actually been destroyed.

The battle sequences between Godzilla and the other creatures, which are known as, M.U.T.O (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) are outstanding and when I found myself taking every punch, bite and stab with ‘The King of Monsters’ I knew Edwards had a winning ticket.

In stereotypical Edwards style, he keeps the audience waiting before he shows his full hand. Instances of monster spotting are brief and shot from various different angles - all of which do not reveal the true awfulness of their powers until the right moment.

Edwards is fast becoming a master of dramatic timing and when we do finally see the great ‘Godzilla’ is doesn’t feel too soon or too late, it feels just right.

In order for Godzilla and the Muto to beat one another black and blue there has to be some sort of human story and for my money, that’s where Edwards’ film is found a little wanting.

Bryan Cranston (‘Breaking Bad’) plays a nuclear expert who becomes fixated with what happened a radioactive power plant in 1999 which resulted in disaster.

Fifteen years after the disaster and Cranston’s son is played by the almost unrecognisable Aaron Taylor-Johnson (‘Kick Ass) who just happens to be a soldier.

Taylor-Johnson’s character, Ford Brody, now has a wife and a son of his own and after they become separated by the goings-on he must do all that he can to protect them.

I honestly couldn’t have cared less about the storyline about Ford Brody and his family - it was padding at its worst kind and brought nothing to the overall experience.

The aforementioned misgiving aside, ‘Godzilla’ is most certainly an excellent blockbuster and watching it in 3D did add a greater sense of drama.

‘Godzilla’ in 3D is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl, for full cinema listings visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com

VERDICT: 4/5 - Gareth Edwards showed tremendous promise with 2010 film ‘Monsters’ and it’s pleasing to say he hasn’t dropped the ball here. ‘Godzilla’ is terrific example of why movies work perfectly on the big screen and although it pains me to admit it, watching it in 3D does make for a more enjoyable experience. The special effects are outstanding and the battle scenes make any scrap outside a Derry nightclub look a bit like ballet. The storyline of Ford Brody and his family is irksome but in no way terminal. Highly entertaining stuff!