Laura Walkley | On 17, May 2014
In an era where our superheroes are beautiful, baby-faced boys in red lycra suits and muscular men behind masks, GodzillaÂ brings an unwelcome change in the aesthetics department of 21st century saviours. Although appearances are redeemed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, the film’s $160 million budget is a huge gamble coming off the heels of Roland Emmerich’s 1998 laughable subjection of the film (multiple viewers have not made full recoveries, 16 years on).
Although not entirely humourless, director Gareth Edwards has just managed to achieve believability through a plausible explanation of monsters and excellent visual effects wizardry which scraped the movie to success with an enticing climax.
It’s the late 20th century and a Filipino mining quarry is causing disruptions to the earth and generating irregular seismic readings. Scientists uncover a giant skeleton and two huge sacs, one is empty (shivers) and one is transferred to an undisclosed location near Las Vegas (seems like a good idea).
A few years on, in Japan, a young boy attempts to surprise Brian Cranston for his birthday but he’s busy brewing methamphetamine. Sorry- he’s actually reporting some unusual seismic behaviour at the nuclear plant where he and his wife (Juliette Binoche) work. Joe (Cranston)’s alarm bells are ignored and disaster strikes for the nuclear family (figuratively and literally) when a ‘tragic explosion’ (actually a massive monster emerging from the ground) at the plant kills his wife.
Cut to 2014, and Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) returns to San Francisco from a US Navy post as an explosives expert. As the human protagonist, Taylor-Johnson successfully wins the audience heart through his characters’ selfless and applaud-worthy performance. Although scriptwriter, Max Borenstein, is no Charles Dickens, viewers are probably opting to see Godzilla for it’s digital effects, and they won’t be disappointed. Edwards, who is also a digital effects expert has covered all grounds to satisfy the hungriest of CGI eye-candy appetites.
A slight hindrance in the film was the lack of on-air time that Godzilla was allocated. As the eponymous character, I probably expected to see a bit more of the big friendly monster, however, he was merely a side note, spending the majority of the film swimming across the pacific ocean before anchoring in San Francisco for the climax.
Overall, I give the film a three stars. Although there were some ridiculous moments, the visual effects were phenomenal. With rumours of a trilogy, Edwards has left some space to build his humanising angle of a character stereotype usually at battle with humanity.
GodzillaÂ is a film that may have turned the tides on our beautiful Marvel heroes, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that (I love you, Tobey Maguire).