After being on hiatus, Godzilla returns to the big screen in yet another American adaptation. Could it be worse than 1998’s Godzilla?… Let’s face it, that’s nearly impossible. Will Godzilla steal the summer box office glory? Find out after the jump.
***WARNING SPOILERS PRESENT***
In 1998, Godzilla made his first American appearance to not only destroyed New York, but also our hearts. It was so bad, that the cliff hanger at the end was forgotten as plans of a sequel were scratched. Since then, Toho released 6 more films in the franchise with more and more over the top Kaiju action. Now Godzilla returns from a 10 year absence to become the king of monsters once more.
As seen in the trailer, the plot revolves around Bryan Cranston’s character Joe Brody and his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has just returned from active duty, as they try to uncover a shocking secret. The trailers do a very good job with not revealing too much of the film, like how other movies tend to do.
The Human Element of the film is predominant in the film as it follows Joe, Ford, Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), and even the Military as they react to the awakening of these massive Kaiju (Yes, there are multiple Kaiju). Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody, was one of the best roles in the film. Using his ability to display extreme emotion, Cranston reels in the audience on a emotional journey as he battles guilt and attempts to unveil the truth behind his wife’s untimely death. It’s a shame that his character is killed off so soon in the film, not only because of the caliber of acting that he has, but also because the fact that many viewers were probably lured into seeing the film because of his presence.
As far as Aaron Taylor-Johnson, he didn’t seem to fit the role perfectly, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. The lack of character development and maybe even poor writing for the character, seem to make his scenes to slightly drag, compared to others. That being said, the scene with him in the monorail was exciting as his experience as a soldier and father came in handy. His overall story arc could have definitely been improved, especially given the fact that the character was so bland.
Ken Watanabe as Ishiro Serizawa was another performance that made me excited every time he was on the big screen. While the role of a scientist ignored by military leaders has been over used in countless films, the character seems fresh, mainly due to Watanabe’s acting skills. You can see in his eyes, the memories that haunt him, as he realizes the only way to end the madness is to let Godzilla fight.
One of the main issues with the film is the jumping around that seems to happen quite often. One minute we see military in the lush forests of Hawai’i, and then it cuts to Las Vegas. With several different story lines going on simultaneously, it doesn’t confuse the audience but rather slows down the film as it builds for a grand finale.
As for the monster called M.U.T.O, they are seen throughout the entire film. It was very interesting that opposite sexes differed in appearance from one another. The agile male, was much smaller but had the ability to fly. This element made for an exciting battle between the King of all monsters. The M.U.T.O’s resembled a cross between the cloverfield monster, the super 8 creature, and a metallic arachnid. At first I was somewhat opposed to the design, but as the film progressed I found myself liking the creature design more and more.
Now for the reason why we are all here, GODZILLA! Godzilla, in my opinion, has never looked better. While he is completely CGI, rather than the traditional rubber suit, the special effects are top notch. The close-ups on his face as he inhales for a roar, looks so real that one would think they are looking at an actual animal. In general, the CGI in the film met the standards of today possibly even pushing it. Utilizing mostly night scenes or dark settings, the CGI is able to create a realistic look. The addition of 3D was a plus as well, as it gave depth to the screen without being over utilized. Another great component was the sound, which was one of this year’s best. Seeing it in IMAX was a definite treat, as the theater seemed to shake when Godzilla unleashes the iconic roar. If you don’t mind ponying up the extra cash, it’s advised to experience the film in Imax.
While Godzilla has its faults, it still manages to be a thrilling summer blockbuster adventure that will keep you invested until the very end. Fans of past films, excluding Godzilla (1998), will be thoroughly impressed by this bigger, fatter, American installment. Now please… let’s see King Ghidorah in Godzilla 2.