by Alex Southey
Despite the number of existing Godzilla movies, yet another has been released in to the world by Warner Bros this May. This Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards, is a retelling of the origin story. I found that though this film was void of genuine substance, doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun to watch.
It begins not by focusing on Godzilla, but on a parasite-monster that has been found in the ground. Things of course do not go as planned and the parasite-monster breaks loose from its holding place where scientists are analyzing it. Soon after, hints of Godzilla’s arrival begin to appear. We catch glimpses of him in the ocean, and in the darkness on land. Only about halfway through the movie do we see him in all his glory, and it is glorious. The special effects in the film are its strongest point. The majority of the film comprises of humans trying to play catch-up with the monsters, deciding what exactly they should do, if they get the chance to do anything. Each character’s field of knowledge ends up aiding in researching and ultimately dealing with the monsters, however, each person (with the exception of Elizabeth Olsen’s “Elle”) feels like they’re average, susceptible to whatever comes next just like anyone else.
Edwards has put together a good-looking, successful cast, on top of a beautifully shot movie. Scenes prior to Godzilla’s actual arrival, when the audience only gets a few minor details of its appearance, are enticing and generally fun. The way he shoots scenes puts you right next to the film’s main characters, causing you to be carried along with them instead of feeling like you’re separated, watching from aside.
The story itself is laid out well and I can understand why, after a studio was pitched the idea, they were excited. However, the specific script does not service the story well enough. All of the lines and the scenes that are formed around them just seem like a mish-mash of better movie ideas by Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrams.
The acting is something else. Bryan Cranston, well-known for his major roles in Breaking Bad and Malcolm In The Middle, is well cast, as the misunderstood, unkempt scientist who believes the reason for unusual chart readings is something more than just radiation. The peak of his emotional performance occurs about a minute in, when he must make a tough decision regarding his wife. Aaron Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen act in their roles dutifully. Realistically, they were cast because they’re good-looking people and decent enough actors to carry the thin script.
But ask yourself this, are you really watching it for the acting or for the big green monster and effects? Different movies fulfil different needs this one does the job it sets out to do.