16 years after the dodgy Roland Emmerich version of the 1954 Japanese cult classic comes a welcome Hollywood reboot of the mother (or father) of all monster movies – Godzilla.
Gareth Edwards, who shot to fame as the director of the hugely successful Monsters, is behind the camera this time and has managed to breath fire into this dormant franchise.
With a stellar cast of award-winning actors including Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody) taking the lead, it always seemed likely this film was going to take a more serious approach to the subject of Godzilla, rather than the slightly tongue in cheek 1998 version starring Jean Reno and Matthew Broderick.
Like many disaster movies, the human element this time revolves around the Brody family, who suffer a tragic loss at a Japanese power plant in 1999 when the first signs start emerging that something is not quite right. 15 years later Joe Brody is still obsessing, trying to find the truth behind the disaster, which in turn brings his son Ford back to where it all began. They start unravel the massive cover up and discover that what is being hiding is much worse than they thought – and this is when the fun begins!
At the end of the day Godzilla is just another disaster movie, but what makes this works is that Edwards has gone back to basics. True to any Godzilla feature it offers us gargantuan monsters, nuclear energy (referring back to Japan’s history of Hiroshima etc.) mass destruction and, of course, cities terrorized by giant beasties that leave buildings crumbling in their wake. Although we have been awash with cities being destroyed in recent years – 2012, Avengers Assemble, Man Of Steel etc. – there is something especially rewarding when giant monsters do it rather than super villains with their mass weapons of destruction. It just seems more organic.
There are the usual flaws with these types of films, such as the film’s backstory being explained in clunky dialogue. There’s also a slight element of cheesiness lying under the surface, but in general the script is pretty sharp and succinct and we do genuinely care for the characters. Where films like Pacific Rim failed to impact was partly due to the darkness that often comes with 3D, but this time around the monsters are sharp, clear and seen in daylight. The buildings crumbling like paper helps create an excellent setting for the ensuing battles, when Godzilla emerges from the dust clouds reminiscent the scenes of 9/11.
There are certainly some iconic images in this remake – the troops parachuting through the dust clouds with trails of red smoke being one key highlight and, of course, most of the scenes involving Godzilla itself.
So whilst of recent years we are awash with Marvel Superheroes, in many guises, treat yourself to good old fashioned monster blockbuster !
Personally I’m looking forward to some new Godzilla Vs… movies.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater