Movie Review: Godzilla – 2014 – directed by Gareth Edwards

Posted: May 18, 2014 in Action, Creature Features, Sci - fi
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ll start by saying it’s been a while since I’ve last written a review so here goes:

Godzilla

Before we get into the review I will warn they may be possible spoilers throughout:

So where do I begin?

Well I guess an introduction to Godzilla isn’t really needed as he really is such a cultural icon, which makes it hard to find a suitable opening. Anyway we’ll give it a go.

Now having 27  films in the Japanese series, and 4 American pictures (even if one of them is just the original Godzilla film with an American actor slipped in) Godzilla is one of the longest running film franchises around. This newest incarnation is helmed by the great Gareth Edwards of ‘Monsters’ fame. Where ‘Monsters’ was a low budget almost indie film made with pretty much no crew, 2 actors, a camera and a load of CGI done on a home computer, this is a much larger beast (like the creatures in the film). This film has hundreds of cast and crew and effects that rival pretty much all films on the market today, plus a budget of over 20 times what ‘monsters’ had. I wondered if the money would go straight to Edwards’ head like numerous directors nowadays but I was gladly surprised.

The film is hands down one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at the cinema in a long while especially after the travesty that was ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. For me almost everything about it worked, not that there aren’t a few issues which I will get to in due time, but let me just say I really liked this film.

For me one of the things that really worked and in a way didn’t work were the characters in the story. Much like Edwards’ earlier film ‘Monsters’ (sorry to keep mentioning it but it does feel like Edwards has taken a lot from his previous effort and implemented aspects into this film) he focuses very much on the relationships of the characters involved and does really make you care about some of them. The broken relationship between Bryan Cranston’s ‘Joe’ and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s ‘Ford’ is brilliant and they really do feel like father and son. the same can be said for Joe and his Wife. Everything kinda gels with the characters. But they also feel kind of pointless. we get these relationships and we get these characters but they ultimately mean nothing. the character of ‘Ford’ simply exists as a plot device to take us where the monsters are going. he doesn’t really learn or accomplish anything in the film. the only real character that does is ‘Joe’ but even then it kind of feels pointless. the fact they are pointless doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters aren’t the main focus of the film either because you could argue they are but they feel like something is missing.

The other issue I have with the ‘pointless’ characters is Elizabeth Olsen’s ‘Elle’. she is simply inserted, again as a plot device to try and bring ‘Ford’ home to her. without her there would be little reason for ‘Ford’ to keep moving with the monsters, but at the same time she is completely wasted. She is kind of necessary to the story but at the same time is not.

You may notice that I keep on mentioning ‘Monsters’ in plural and that is because this film has more than one monster. This is one of the films biggest assets as it truly harks back to the Godzilla films of old. In this film Godzilla IS NOT the bad guy and I love that fact. The monster on monster fights are handled really well even if you cleverly see very little of all but the final battle. The CGI is very impressive and for the most part blends seamlessly with the real environments and actors. In a way it feels very much like the other large creature film ‘Pacific Rim’ which also featured amazing effects and sound and an equally large number of pointless characters.

In a way the film ‘Pacific Rim’ has lessened the impact of ‘Godzilla’ due to it’s similarly large monsters and epic battles (you could argue it was the best non-Godzilla, Godzilla film in recent memory). that’s not to say this isn’t amazing when the action really ramps up. The final battle really is amazing and really feels like the Godzilla’s of old (minus the man in rubber  suit dramatics).

there are a few other odd negatives such as a military compound that no-one seems to have noticed has a giant hole in the side of it, the sheer collateral damage the fighting monsters do that seems to go unnoticed, the fact that the creature is far larger then it’s ‘cocoon/egg’.  there are probably a few more but they were not important. In fact none of the negatives I mention really detract from this film.

When all is said and done this is kind of what you’d expect from a large budgeted Godzilla film. Its loud, big and has awesome action. but in a way has far less action then you may expect. In its 2 hour runtime less than half is action, but when they come some of the set-pieces are breathtakingly awesome (like the amazing Halo jump features in the trailer).

So as you may have guessed I really like this film (although I may have focused on more negatives then positives weirdly). It’s rekindled my love of Godzilla and has spurred me on to watch all of the old ones again ( including the Roland Emmerich 1998 film that I also really enjoy. It’s fun and delivers on what it sets out to do) and possibly the animated series that was also produced.

All in all I’d highly recommend watching this film if you like this kind of cinema (most of you reading this have probably already seen the film or are planning to see it so you know who you are) I’d give it a strong 8/10.

 

godzilla image property of warner brothers and is used in fair use.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s