21 May 2014

Review - 'Godzilla' is a Huge Blockbuster that Stomps but Rarely Romps

Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
Running Time: 123 mins
Sub-Genre: Monster, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Action
Release: 16th May 2014

The world's most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Godzilla has be a landmark creature in terms of the evolution of cinema, and he is undoubtedly the most iconic movie monster of all time, if not the most iconic cinematic character of all time; everyone knew him and everyone fought him, from King Kong to a flying moth. So it was no surprise that the legend has to once again be reborn (after that painfully sore attempt at it back in '98), but was the rebirth of Godzilla as worthy as everyone expected?

With a worthy percent of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes combined with a strong score of 7.5 on IMDB, I really expected more from the rowdy blockbuster given the hype that had been surrounding it. However Godzilla is blockbuster and its mightiest nonetheless, and a good dose of monster on monster action (and by that I mean fighting and not an X-rated version) will surely get the blood bubbling and the testosterone pumping. Or if your a girl and love Godzilla just as equally, you might tinkle with excitement when the almighty beast first makes his appearance, even if its 60 minutes into the film.

The monster sub-genre has surely been re-vamped here given that this is the age of Pacific Rim (which was a tedious film might I add), but when such films like Cloverfield come along that are heavily inspired by the monster-mashing tale, you expect such a film like Edwards' Godzilla to rise above such a students, not merely dangle below it through conventional faults of its own. Most movies dedicated to an unstoppable monster normally make their characters first priority, fleshing them out enough the make their struggle for survival engaging, but with Godzilla, you will soon find yourself waiting for another crashing battle of heights, regardless if the characters live or die.

The acting is solid especially on Olsen and Cranston's behalf, and the effects are phenomenal; but the plot moves along lumbering from one point to the other, playing out like an arcade game; battling the same movements with the same monsters until the final battle becomes a little worn out. But, the novelty of watching a monstrous beast like Godzilla battle other giant foes never shows its age, and if you find that it does then you are simply sitting through the wrong film. There is only a certain amount of things you can pull out of the bag when it comes to showing two monsters at battle, and this becomes evident, but credit has to be rewarded as each battle is both intense and exhilarating; enough to make you forget the lousy 40 minutes that come before it. Why? Because the characters hold an interest rate of about 20 minutes, and after that they merely become one-dimensional targets.

Godzilla is riddled with faults and let-downs, but that is to expected with such a daring film. What Gareth Edwards has done here is impressive, and his flare for monster mayhem certainly shows, as does his craft for humanity within such villains. The film is strongly presented and packs a strong punch both visually and with the formula, it's intense, and it's certainly chilling, but the restrain from not wanting to break away from the Godzilla traditions has crippled it, leaving little to the imagination for both casual film goers and franchise fans alike. Many will love this and many will root for more; but for now, I think Godzilla should remain in the sea, long enough the recover and learn from its many mistakes.

Godzilla is indeed an unstoppable force of nature which shows, but Edwards' re-vamp lacks the characters vital in creating both a powerful character tale as well as an epic monster invasion. Luckily however the action is intense and glorifying enough the keep tension high until the end credits.

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