A film review is a totally appropriate topic for a ‘Date Night’ prompt, right? I’m a big cinema fan (obviously), there’s something about the shared experienced of watching a film as part of an audience over at home. It makes it funnier, more emotional, more awesome. And Godzilla definitely falls into the ‘awesome’ camp.
Godzilla | Gareth Edwards | 2014 | USA/Japan | 12A | 123 min
Gareth Edwards returns with his second feature film and again it is a monster movie. This time though he has a considerably larger budget than the £10,000 for his 2010 feature, Monsters. Godzilla is a big-budget Hollywood movie but it benefits from Edwards’ experience in creating a film of substance and atmosphere on a shoestring.
Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) was just ten when a nuclear plant disaster in Janjira, Japan, killed his mother and sent his town into quarantine. 15 years later and now a bomb disposal expert he is forced back there when his father Joe (Bryan Cranston) is arrested for trespassing in the quarantine zone. Racked with guilt and anger since his wife’s death, Joe has spent 15 years investigating what really went on at Janjira convinced that there is a cover-up over what caused the tremors that caused the meltdown. Turns out he’s right – the Government have been hiding knowledge of three giant monsters – a male and female parasitic insectoids and Gojira.
During some films of this genre, you are just waiting to see the monster (Pacific Rim) while other make the most of its off-screen time to build an actual story (Jaws). Godzilla lies between the two. Godzilla’s screen time isn’t huge but there are two other monsters – the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) to balance this. The story is definitely solid, even if it doesn’t quite stand up to the likes of Jaws – possibly due to the sheer number of characters. Edwards clearly wants to return the legend of Godzilla to its roots – born out of fear of nuclear warfare. Dr Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) urges the government officials away from resorting to nuclear weapons to take down Godzilla and the MUTOs, his family having already experienced the fallout of Hiroshima. The design and sound of Godzilla is much more like an updated version of the Japanese Toho Pictures than the 1998 attempt and he is restored as an ‘avenging angel’ character over a mindless force of destruction.
Above all, Godzilla is a hugely enjoyable film. The final third is stompy, confident, and full of swagger. Godzilla’s first roar make the wait for him to appear in all his glory worth it. See it in IMAX to have your face melted by the sheer awesomeness.