Godzilla (2014) Review

Monsters don't get much bigger than Godzilla, both literally and figuratively. The anticipation surrounding the latest incarnation of the King of Monsters has been palpable; Godzilla + Kick Ass + Heisenberg = unbridled awesomeness. Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn't often subscribe to the science of math and Godzilla is case in point.

Granted, this film is leagues beyond what we were left with from 1998's train wreck of a film, but still didn't live up to my own lofty expectations. That said, I guess I have no one to blame but myself for that one. Glaring plot holes and lengthy exposition fuel what could have either been an all out, balls to the wall kaiju slugfest or a more subtle yet still ultimately terrifying creature flick like Gareth Edwards previous jaunt, Monsters.

Unfortunately, only Brian Cranston seems to deliver his A game. The great hunk'a'spunk, Aaron Taylor-Johnson certainly looked the part but never really seemed emotionally invested in his role, particularly considering the menace facing his wife, Elizabeth "the talented one" Olsen, and son. Juliette Binoche is desperately under-utilised, as is the surprisingly captivating David Strathairn. Ken Watanabe brings some Japan to the table, albeit as a rather reactionary specialist in kaiju. He never seems to know anything about them. 

The sound is absolutely amazing and is reason enough to go see this on the big screen. The iconic, guttural "SKREEEOOONK!" of big green had the hair on the back of my neck standing up. The noises coming from the M.U.T.O's (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), while reminiscent of the low, digital Decepticon-esque rumbles, still provide some fear inducing, seat shaking thrills. Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack is fierce, full of shrieking strings and bellowing brass. The use of Japanese woodwind came across as a tad cheesy but overall the soundtrack is fantastic at being both original and an appropriate homage to the Toho source material. 

Overall, this film is fun but ultimately dumb, but not quite Pacific Rim dumb. The plot isn't terribly rich which makes every characters penchant for exposition all the more frustrating but it's certainly not a deal breaker. It's a disaster movie wherein monsters are the volcano/earthquake/tsunami. Scientists may as well be entirely bypassed when Godzilla, the King of Monsters, is the saviour to all of the films woes. Any time that big, beautiful bad-boy was on the screen I couldn't help but feel that there should be more Godzilla in, well, Godzilla. Restraint in a monster flick is fine if handled well but if you're going to commit to monsters fighting in the final act, go all out. 

The action sequences are fantastic and like all good disaster movie, humans are entirely insignificant and powerless. Thrown around like rag dolls and stomped on like ants, Godzilla manages to highlight our complete inability to harness the unstoppable force of nature. Akin to post 1950's Godzilla films, we get a monster which is a hero, apathetic but a hero nonetheless. I for one welcome the return of our reptilian overlord and hope that he's back sooner rather than later.

- Ryan


  1. It's the middle act which kind of dragged for me, it could have been tightened up by trimming about 20 minutes or so


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