Godzilla Film Review
One of the most iconic, if not the most iconic, movie monsters of all time rises from the ocean again. Gareth Edwards takes on the challenge of directing Godzilla, and he’s surrounded with worthy players, including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Ken Watanabe.
Edwards, who directed Monsters, does a fine job in the hot seat with this film. It’s a monster movie to the core, but it doesn’t sacrifice making human connections in the midst of it all, both with the monsters and the men. If anything is going to be agreed upon the most with this film, it’s going to be the special effects and overall design of the creatures. They look amazing. Godzilla was especially handled very well, as they modernized his look, but still kept the details of his classic design. As far as how the film unravels, the unveiling of the monsters and the epic fights are built up to be something grand rather than just shoved in your face. Edwards takes the approach that Steven Spielberg took in Jaws.
Godzilla is simply a badass mythical beast that has the presence of a champion. He rises up from the ocean to do one thing: fuck shit up, and boy does he do that well. Although Godzilla wreaks havoc, he is made to be a character we can sympathize with. Don’t tell me when that building crumbled down onto him that you didn’t gasp just a little bit. The film allows you to care for this building-wrecker because he has a man’s-best-friend quality to him, even though he’s just annihilating the Mutos because they’re a threat to his own life. Godzilla’s the G.O.A.T in the world of monsters, hence his very fitting name.
Bryan Cranston is the standout actor in this film, hands down. He’s not given too much screen-time, but while the spotlight’s on him, Cranston manages to knock it out the park. We feel his frustration as Joe Brody, a nuclear physicist looking to find the truth after his wife is killed in a nuclear disaster. Cranston punches you in the gut when he breaks down into tears, or when he’s spewing out his conspiracy theories, commanding the big screen as well as he did in a little show called Breaking Bad.
One thing’s for sure, Godzilla is light years better than the 1998 failure, starring Ferris Bueller. Edwards attempts to turn this Godzilla flick into something more than a cheesy smash-em-up, and he succeeds adequately enough, even going into the Man vs. Nature aspect of it all . It doesn’t hit the mark on every level, but it does leave you in awe enough times to be worth the price of admission.
Cranston as Joe Brody was amazing, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson was just very uninteresting. Talyor-Johnson plays the main character, and it just doesn’t seem like he does much of anything besides bat his mesmerizing blue eyes to swoon the ladies in the audience. Sorry, but that’s not enough. Yeah, it’s about the monsters, but the main human character should at least be a little interesting.
It drags at places. The slow reveal, showing the monster on the news and in the background in bits and pieces, is fine, but the film’s pace is uneven. It’s over two hours long, but it could have been shaved down by several minutes to keep things flowing better. When the monsters or Joe Brody aren’t on screen, the film loses its momentum.
Godzilla was fantastic, but many have complained that there just isn’t enough of him. He appears about an hour into the film in all his glory, but even then he’s still shown in short instances until the epic final fight. To some, it’s worth the wait, and to others it’s not enough.
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