Thursday, May 22, 2014

What's Playing: Godzilla Text Review

Godzilla, a name that many people know.  Whether you grew up watching the classic science fiction films from yesteryear or you simply know him by his reputation, Godzilla is an icon in film as well as pop culture itself.  Originally created in 1954 by the Japanese studio Toho, the Kind of Monsters has starred in 28 feature films, as well as being used in comics, novels, and video games.  Godzilla left a giant footprint in sci-fi history, so much so that even has his own star on the Walk of Fame.  Now with film technology at the peak of it's performance and the high level of production, Godzilla returns to the big screen in an attempt to bring back the fantastic nostalgia for fans of tokusatsu (a scinece fiction film that uses LOADS of special effects) and fans of the original films themselves.

The story first takes place in 1999, where in the Philippines, a giant skeleton has been discovered in a quarry by the team led by Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Graham (Ken Wantanabe and Sally Hawkins).  It also appears that some...thing has escaped from the underground tomb leaving a very large hole in the process. We then meet Dr. Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), nuclear physicist at the Janjira nuclear power plant.  When a seismic event causes some damage at the plant, Brody's wife and team go to investigate.  However another event causes the core of the plant to overload and the team is trapped within the plant as his collapses.  Jump 15 years later, where Dr. Brody is still investigating what actually happened that day.  His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), also heads to Tokyo to bail his dad out, after he is arrested for crossing into the quarantined zone.  But Brody's assumption is correct, as something buried deep in the underground rises back to the surface, along with it's oversize mate.  When all seems lost, as our most high tech weaponry has no effect on these creatures, another colossal creature from the deep returns, GODZILLA!  As he, according to Serizawa, is the natural predator toward the two Muto, he may be humanity's savior and bring balance back to the world.

First off, let me say the film has a very, very, slow pace to it.  At some points I pretty much was yelling at the movie to get on with the action, but I realized that its pace was a good thing.  The slow and steady speed of the film helps build up the tension for what's coming.  This prevalent the first time we see Godzilla in all of his glory.  It seemed he became larger than life, smashing through everything that was in his path.  However the slow pace of the film also is something that can't be ignored.  It was like the monsters didn't show up for hour it seemed.  But still if you have the patience for it, the wait for the big, BIG reveal is well worth it.

Effects wise...I mean do I really need to say it? It was GLORIOUS to see a fully rendered CGI Godzilla.  To see it there standing in the middle of an airport or in a city like San Francisco just took my breath away.  Until I realized that, we didn't really see that much of the monsters overall.  Yes we saw some impressive fights and the mere presence of Godzilla was awe inspiring, but in the end we only get to see him a only a handful of times.  We actually see more of the monsters Godzilla fights more than the main man himself.  Speaking of which, the monsters that are the threat to the world, are a bit lackluster in design.  In fact I couldn't help but make a comparison with the two monsters and the monster from the film Cloverfield.  Although, much like Godzilla, they have a certain presence about themselves that make them impressive to look at.

On to the acting side of things, this is where the film may disappoint most.  We have some pretty big named stars in this film but sadly all deliver the same performance.  The performances from Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Wantanabe, and all the rest give off a monotone delivery that left me uninterested in what they had to say.  The one that stands out the most in my opinion is Bryan Cranston as he plays a stereotypical scientist gone mad role, but he adds a certain charm to it.  You feel a bit emotional to what he lost and how he goes about trying to uncover the mystery to what actually all those years ago.

Despite all my griping and complaints, I still had a real fun time with this film.  I may have not seen all of the original Godzilla movies but after this it makes me to go exploring through my local store's bargain bin and try and find more from the King of Monsters.

My Rating:

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