Gareth Edwards returns to the monster genre to bring us the king.
In ancient times, giant creatures known as Kaiju roamed the earth, feeding on the radiation. But when the levels began to drop, the monsters went deeper into the earth to continue living. In 1999 a mine is discovered with the remains of one of these monsters, and two eggs. One unbroken and one that has hatched. After a series of devastating earthquakes brought a power-plant in Japan to rubble, 15 years later Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is determined to prove that it was not a natural disaster, and rather something that is alive. An idea that is unfortunately true for Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson who is eager to get back to his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and child in San Francisco, but constantly seems to run into the monsters. After several creatures called M.U.T.Os (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object) begin to emerge and destroy anything in their path, the military believe there is only one solution to the problem…blowing the s**t out of them. But Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) has another idea, to let nature do what it does best and have a superior creature go on the hunt. The one and only ‘king of the monsters’…Godzilla.
Although we have seen this story line a thousand times before in sci-fi films – not necessarily on the big screen. An unearthed creature that time has forgotten or that has been accidentally created by man runs amok, and the army attempt to shoot what ever they can at it. All the while a crazy scientist is warning them about the dangers. We have seen this before in films such as: Tarantula, Them! or The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. However Gareth Edwards somehow makes it work in away that makes the genre seem so fresh and original, like something we have never seen before.
The way that he does this is by using the audience’s anticipation so well, by revving it up to 11 before we even see the ‘king’. It is about halfway through the film until you get a glimpse of Godzilla in all his glory, and that keeps you gripped and eager. There are a lot of other monsters in the Godzilla franchise, such as: Mothra, Gigan and King Ghidorah. So fights are quite common, this film keeps you so enticed and ready to see the monsters square up against each other that when it finally delivers you aren’t disappointed.
Apart from the incredible picture, what was also a great improvement for a film such as this was the character portrayals; mainly Bryan Cranston’s. After the conclusion of Breaking Bad it would appear that Walter White still wants audiences to know that he can bring it; and he can. With only a short role that sticks in your head throughout the entire film. Another role that stuck out was that of Dr. Serizawa by Ken Watanabe, although he doesn’t exactly steal the show, it’s hard to picture any other Japanese actor in that role, despite the constant crazy expressions he give through the film.
Let’s face it, the 1998 Roland Emmerich Godzilla reboot didn’t do a lot for the franchise, as it barely resembled Ishiro Honda’s 1954 version at all. However this new instalment takes fans back to the original look of Godzilla, and does the original justice. We get the scarred skin, the stubby legs and that incredible roar which we have been waiting for ever since word came out of Hollywood about this remake. Instead of just being shown as some dinosaur out of time or nuclear experiment gone wrong, Godzilla is shown as a force of nature that is not to be reckoned with. We can’t control nature no matter how much we try, and that is what he represents in this film. Sort of a return to normality, and restoring balance to the Earth from a time long forgotten.
One of the best things about this film was the picture and effects, some of the shots were just magnificent to watch. Even when the monsters – who looked incredible – weren’t on-screen it was just great to sit there and marvel at the eye-pleasing shots.
What Gareth Edwards does so well for the film – in the same way that Anthony and Joe Russo did for Captain America: The Winter Soldier – is to not cram the audience’s face with tons of CGI effects straight away and through most of the film. By doing this it adds realism to the picture, and when we are finally exposed to the CGI monsters we haven’t seen enough to be bored, like we were in Transformers. There were a few criticisms which only people who will have seen the film will understand, concerning the US army and their ridiculous plans, but nothing that would ruin the film. After all you are watching a film about giant monsters fighting, so you have to open up your mind a little bit.
Gareth Edwards has come a long way since his directorial film début of ‘Monsters’ in 2010, and he has done justice to the 1954 Godzilla in this blockbuster that has already announced a sequel.
Here’s hoping for ‘Destroy All Monsters’.