Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Screenplay: Dave Callaham, Frank Darabont, Max Borenstein
Director: Gareth Edwards
Watched Prasadz IMAX, Hyderabad.
One of the most famous monster movies of all time, Godzilla, returns to the screen this weekend in a big budget film starring Brayan Cranston, Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen. Godzilla have trashed cities and terrified public since the monsters first appearance in 1954’s Gojira from Japandirected by Ishiro Honda. The first monster was called Gojira, based on combining the words of Whale and Gorilla. The original thought was inspired from the fears following the onset of the atomic age. But in his many following incarnations, Godzilla was sometimes the hero as well as threat. Similar to dual monster battles Godzilla Vs Mothra, Godzilla: Final Wars and Godzilla Vs Megalon, even latest Godzilla tries battle with a dual monster in a heroic way.
Movie starts a year after Emmerich’s Godzilla (1998), with a discovery of an ancient skeleton in the philippines that is bigger than anything that has ever been known to live. Attached to the skeleton are egg thecae (If there’s one thing we learnt from the Godzilla movies over the years, when there is goop don’t touch the thing), most of which are fossilized. Fifteen years later in 1999, we are introduced to lovely family – Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), loving French wife (Julieete Binoche) and there’s son, cute tyke ford – living near a nuclear plant in Japan, and also works at the plant. One day Joe gets distracted by some inexplicable, but rhythmic tremors. Due to mystery earthquake Joe looses his wife at the Nuclear Power Plant. Joe never returns home and stays in Japantrying to get into the bottom of the accident that ruined his life. With the help of his son Ford (Aaron Tayloe – Johnson) goes with to the quarantine zone, where they discover a huge cocoon that about to open, unleashing a giant monster (MUTO – Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) into the world. That’s when Godzilla awakens from his ancient slumber and starts thrashing the prig out of anyone who bugs him.
Coming to the performances, Bryan Craston plays Joe Brody, a man who had to make a very touchy call. His wife, with such a little screen time, portrays her character with great emotion. Surprisingly Bryan’s character has a lot less time than anticipated. People in monster movies should be more terrified (naturally) than showing their courage in killing the monster beast (If I was going about my day & a giant lizard appeared, I’d cease being able to function). Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character seemed to be suffering from shell-shock throughout. As his wife, Elizabeth Olsen is exceptional, particularly considering her character being severely underwritten. She plays a nurse, but she doesn’t even get to treat anyone. At least have her applying field dressings as the city crumbles around her. Ken Watanabe delivers some of the best bad lines of the movie.
Edwards got this job on the strength of his film Monsters (2010), if you have seen the film you know what exactly you’re in for with Godzilla (2014). Edwards always tried to keep camera locked into subjective view, always trying to show us action from the point of view of a human in scene. Though the balance between the humans and the creatures was done perfectly in Monsters, Edwards attempts to do the same in Godzilla, but struggles after something major happens in the story. But even so, Edwards was the perfect choice to direct this film, if only he had a better-constructed screenplay to work with.
One of the best things about Godzilla movies is the background score. Alexandre Desplant brings some nice themes to the table and the best thing being G’s theme in the opening credits (And the fact that this marks the 60th anniversary of Godzilla). Hands down my favorite score of the year so far. The Visual Effects were refreshingly impressive. Especially San Francisco, New York Settings deserve special mention. Having Japanalso in a focus was nice touch (reminding of franchise’s origin). The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers) follows a raree-show esthetic, putting viewers in the position of watching through a windowpane or down a street as the monster crush unrolls. Edwards has a lot of fun with his visuals in Godzilla, creating some truly awe-inspiring moments. There are a few wide shots that give you a decent view of the full creatures, but for the most part these beasts are shot from the perspective of a true observer. Strategy works particularly well in a scene where a school bus full of students waits in horrified anticipation for approaching terror and while Army personal try to checking the bridge in the night. Editing of the film is crisp. The Production values of the film are grand.
Godzilla is ultimately about the title monster, but its imperative that our human characters are given enough screen time to properly develop the story. Post interval human storyline completely dissolves into the monster’s one and the two are never appropriately poised throughout. The latest Godzilla will please fans of the original film and gain new ones, but its first act is far better than its finish. Godzilla delivers, and it delivers all that really matters: As you head out of the theatre and you are wrapped in the warm and splendid satisfaction of knowing you have just witnessed all the kick-ass monster action, chaos, and destruction you could have ever hoped to see. Avoid seeing it in 3D if you can, as it was entirely unnecessary to the experience. However, definitely go out watch latest Godzilla in the IMAX / Dolby Atmos theater. There’s simply no better way to enjoy Godzilla roar in all its glory.
Survi Review: 3/5 (0.25 more for the different angle)