At first, news of the imminent arrival of the king was transparent to me. I didn’t know that Godzilla was coming to greet us on cinema screens until I caught a glimpse of the first official poster. Ever since that moment I’ve been anticipating this film like no tomorrow. I’ve always been a sucker for disaster flicks and huge monsters. So as you’re probably thinking, Godzilla would be perfect for me.
For a monster film, it was pretty well written. If you ignore the humongous lizard, the film is about a man trying to get back to his wife through any means necessary. The way Godzilla was portrayed as a anti-hero was excellent, as I thought that he might just be in the movie destroying stuff for no reason for a couple of hours. I was immensely glad that the screenwriter, Max Borenstein, didn’t try to force any unneeded humor on the viewer. The events on the screen were played out serious and straight. He also threw in some pretty great homage to the older film and it’s sequels that you’ll have to see for yourself.
I don’t think I have to say this, but I will anyway. The special effects in Godzilla were extremely well done. The real set pieces and the computer generated ones blended flawlessly. The king himself looked spectacular. In a world where it seems like the effects departments have been getting lazier and lazier, this film really shines through.
One big issue I’ve been hearing about this film is the lack of the title character, and to some degree I agree that he could have been present longer. But honestly if Godzilla had been around the entire film the characters we see on the screen would be extremely one-dimensional and we wouldn’t care if they kicked the bucket or not.
The director of the film, Gareth Edwards, used a lot of techniques that Steven Spielberg used for his 1975 classic Jaws. Edwards set it up so the king would always be looming over the events of the film. My anticipation of his arrival kept on building so that when he finally arrived in the film I was ecstatic. In my opinion, the wait was well worth it.
Some pretty talented actors brought these characters to life. Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binchoe play husband & wife, who both work at a nuclear power plant in Japan. The rising star Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Joe and Sandra’s son, military man Ford Brody. Elizabeth Olsen plays a nurse who is Ford’s wife, Elle Brody. Last but not least, we have my personal favorite Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe, who portrays scientist Dr. Ishio Serizawa. My only complaint with the cast was that some of the characters really weren’t utilized as well as they could have been by screenwriter.
However, Godzilla wasn’t without its flaws. Just because I love gigantic creatures duking it out, doesn’t mean I would sacrifice good characters for CGI goodness. Even though the film tried to develop the characters as much as it could, I still felt that some of them could have had more screen time to do so. They were very cliché. The soundtrack was average and not very unique. With that said, the sound design of Godzilla’s roar was excellent. They took the original roar from the 1954 film and revamped it for modern times. It sounded glorious.
Overall, despite the issues I had with the film, I had a really good time watching it. And that’s what summer blockbusters are about. Enjoyment. Yes Godzilla could have been on the screen longer. Yes the character development wasn’t perfect. But 2014’s Godzilla was more entertaining than half the big budget films out there today. So grab a few friends and enjoy the ride.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay: Max Borenstein
Cast: Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche
Running Time: 123 Minutes