MOVIE REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)
|MOVIE REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)|
by Sheena Ramchurn
I will admit, what first hooked me about the new Godzilla movie was, of course, Bryan Cranston. He features in the trailers, on the posters and in the promos, but the film delivers on it’s own. The film also features such names as Aaron-Taylor Johnson, (star of the Kick-Ass series) and Elizabeth Olsen. Ken Watanabe is the scientist in charge of investigating MUTO’s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). The entire spectacle is directed by the relatively unknown Gareth Edwards.
With a run time of 123 minutes, the narrative takes us all over the world, from the Philippines to Japan to San Francisco and keeps in line with the style of the original movies, with Godzilla (or Gojira) being a deadly force of nature. Without spoiling too much of the film, the main action revolves around Godzilla fighting off two insect-like MOTU’s who threaten to swamp the earth in their offspring with the American and Japanese governments and scientists coming up with a way to stop them.
Aaron-Taylor Johnson plays the son of a deceased conspiracy nut who was investigating the destruction of a power plant who then steps in to help save the day with his army buddies. Though the film is compelling in a number of ways, it falls short on one key aspect…Godzilla himself. The eponymous monster doesn’t actually appear until an hour into the film and it’s been calculated that his screen time is a mere 10 minutes long. Pretty abysmal considering it’s, you know, Godzilla. In fact, the two MUTO’s get more screen than him and appear as the more deadly kaiju. It’s quite disappointing seeing as when Godzilla is on screen, he completely owns it.
The visuals of the film are breathtaking with many amazing moments. The design for Edward’s Godzilla was drawn heavily from the original Toho Godzilla and when Godzilla finally does show up in the movie, he does so in a big way. Everything about him screams size and power, and his roar was something glorious to behold. Another moment that especially impressed me was a particularly eerie flared parachuting into an abandoned city swarming with kaiju.
The film was a bit of a let down in part due to Godzilla’s short screen time but also by the acting and character development of the stars. Granted this was a monster movie so it hardly called for a brilliant introspective narrative or for dramatically burdened characters, but nevertheless, something more than ‘nature is so powerful, we men are humbled’ and ‘kaiju are so scary, gasp, horror,’ would have done well for the film. Moreover, the actual fighting between Godzilla and the MOTU’s was lackluster, save for their final showdown which we were actually allowed to see for once.
Still regardless of the let downs, this movie manages to entertain. I think diehard fans and casual fans alike will be impressed by what this new Godzilla has to offer. So, what should you expect when you sit down to watch Edward’s Godzilla for the first time? A compelling story exploring nature’s secret weapon? Yes. Good looking army blokes having stare downs with ancient beasts? Check. A heavenly roar and a faithful mountain range back? Double check. And zero Matthew Broderick? CHECK!
Sheena Ramchurn is an avid lover of movies, including Asian cinema and animation. She is currently working toward a BA in English. Born and bred in Birmingham UK, she also enjoys TV (including bad TV – you know the ones), music and literature.