Published on May 14th, 2014 | by gareth0
Adapting a cultural film icon that is held sacred by a nation and legions of fans is a daunting task. Roland Emerich attempted to do so, and created a film widely panned that ended his run of blockbuster hits.
Gareth Edwards is the latest director bold enough to bring the legendary Godzilla to the screen and has done so with cutting edge visual effects and 3D.
When Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), becomes unsettled about some unusual tremors around the Japanese nuclear plant he works at, little does he know that the pending accident and tragedy will have long-term consequences.
Flash forward 15 years and his son Ford (Aaron Taylor Johnson), is an ordinance disposal expert in the military who is returning to his San Francisco home after a deployment to see his wife and young son.
No sooner does Ford get home than he is summed to Japan to retrieve his father who has been arrested for venturing into a restricted area located by his former residence and place of work.
Joe is convinced that a massive cover up is place behind the disaster that left him a widow and turned his life upside down.
When the mysterious tremors return, Joe is vindicated and learns that a massive threat is responsible for what has previously transpired, but this is nothing compared to the damage that is unleashed when the creature escapes.
In a race against time, Ford, the Navy, and a team of scientists attempt to prevent massive destruction and loss of life from an enemy they are not prepared for and do not understand.
While the film does have some great visuals, it unfolds in a very plodding manner and the action sequences are few and far between until the end and even that is for the most part anti-climatic.
The dialogue in the film is filled with groans and unintentionally laughable moments that really make it difficult for the characters to really connect with one another and the audience and as such it is very hard to really care what happens to them.
Another big surprise was how little screen time the title characters actually appears in the film. I spent much of the film wondering how such a larger than life character could be reduced to a supporting part in a film that bears his name.
It has been reported that Japanese audiences have not been thrilled with the new film stating that the creature looked “fat “and “slow”. I would not go that far as from a visually standpoint, the film obtained nothing but high marks from me.
However, I had to ask if we really needed to have this film made. We have had so many giant creature movies in recent years including “King Kong”, “Colverfield”, and “Pacific Rim”; one has to wonder what new material there is to show an audience.
While it is not as bad as I expected, it is pretty much a guilty pleasure that you can enjoy in parts and then quickly forget as this film is not likely to enhance the legendary status of Godzilla.
3 stars out of 5.
Second Review By
Welcome to Japan! Meet the Brody’s in their daily morning routine. Young Ford Brody (CJ Adams) is waking up to surprise his father with his birthday gift and a huge hand painted garland.
Unfortunately physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is already hyper-busy on the phone in getting his superiors to join him a spontaneous meeting at the power plant he and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) work for.
After dropping of their son at a close by school, the couple gets to work. While Joe Brody takes over the control room, his wife and her team prepare to take the elevators down to check the radioactive reactor.
All of a sudden things go crazy, red lamps start rotating, sirens start their alerting sounds. When all technological attempts and improvements fail to solve the nuclear mystery, the plants own security systems start its lock-down leaving helpless Joe Brody to see this wife and her team dying behind massive ion doors.
15 Years later after the nuclear fallout we meet Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) again, now an adult, he has joined the US-Navy and was trained as an elite-soldier. As a lieutenant he is a specialist for all kind of explosives.
Ford is on his way home to San Francisco where his doctor wife Elle Brody (Elizabeth Olsen) and his son Sam (Carson Bolde) already wait for him. Unfortunately the family reunion of the Brody’s is interrupted by a call from the US-embassy in Tokyo. Joe Brody who still lives there got arrested for trying to enter the nuclear dead zone of his former neighbourhood. To bail his old man out and make peace with him, Ford leaves San Francisco.
The Philippines: Somewhere in the endless green jungle a huge US-mining company has called Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) for help because while drilling and digging in the natural beauty for rare minerals and other riches, the workers accidentally have opened and extremely strange cave. Dr. Serizawa and his colleague quickly seem to have a clue what this might have been, but it has obviously escaped from its former tomb and is now out there in the open sea.
In the meantime Ford is about to reunite with his father who is still obsessed by the incidents of the past. Joe Brody is convinced that the Japanese government is hiding something extremely dangerous in the dead zone of the former power plant. As there is no other way than going back with his dad to prove him wrong, Ford leaves the save city of Tokyo to be smuggled into the closed fallout area.
Much to his surprise the Geiger counter proves Joe Brody’s suspicions to be correct; there is no higher radioactivity than normal in Japan. So Joe persuades Ford to go back to their former home and look for some old floppy discs of him and possibly some photos of his dead mother.
After getting what they wanted, the security company catches the two intruders and arrests them. This enables the men to get a closer look of the secret that is hidden and obviously seems to be pretty alive.
We see Dr. Serzizawa (Ken Watanabe) again who is working for this secret project, he has just decided to destroy the unknown animal which seems to be quite big. A huge wired net closes over it and sets the place under power. A very bad decision because that is exactly what this animal loves to eat.
It’s obvious that what has taken place in the Philippine jungle is not an isolated incident…
BIG, BIGGER, GODZILLA ?
Well, the real good news is: Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film is better than Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort that left New York in fear, dust and ashes.
We get to see the biggest Godzilla ever to be seen on screen and some really badass opponents from his prehistoric world. But approximately 27 films later and 60 years after Japan’s Toho Studios first had the iconic giant sea lizard stomping over the silver screen, the latest 3D digital film techniques and the massive use of bits and bytes to create the tallest Godzilla ever do not fully manage to bring back the charm, magic and horror the first black-and-white monster had and kept viewers from around the World entertained.
Goes without saying also this Godzilla, the praying Mutus and all kind of military overkill equipment do rock the movie theatres and the ticket payers. Still good stories, genuine actors, unique settings and strong messages plus the use of the latest technical gadgets are the basic ingredients for a good movie. Even for a so called pop corn feel-good-movie like Godzilla is.
Gareth Edward’s movie undoubtedly has all these ingredients, the dilemma is: Unfortunately not always all together at the same time! I was missing those great dear jaw-dropping moments that make me want to see the movie again and again as soon as possible.
Those who loved Pacific Rim will not be fully satisfied; those who love classic monster movies like Jaws or King Kong will love the new Godzilla.
Personally I really liked the strong environmental message of the film especially the original black-and-white film footages of the intro where Godzilla was implemented and giving those pictures an even stronger critical message about what really took place.
Maybe a little less thriller and a little bit more Godzilla smashing cars, trucks, helicopters and planes like matchbox toys around would have been a cooler disaster monster movie? But reading that the Japanese audience found the new computer creature too fat to be Godzilla shows our World of today really needs a giant creature like him to put us back on our feet!