The Human Angle
Gareth Edwards is no newbie to towering creatures devastating humanity when his critically acclaimed indie flick Monsters became a hit favourite among the scene. So he was the right man for the job to bring the classic Godzilla back to the big screen. No, this is not some Roland Emmerich disaster of a disaster movie starring Ferris Bueller; this is the real deal, the best westernized version of Japan’s favourite lizard.
Viewers expecting to see some full on Pacific Rim style CGI action will be quite sadly disappointed as Edward’s Godzilla is not just a monster vs. monster take. It presents more of a human side to the towering fights, the human struggle to find a way to survive under the battles Godzilla rages across cities spanning the Pacific. It’s a clever touch, more Cloverfield, less mindless action throughout the first three segments of the film finishing off with a brutal fight that ends quite spectacularly.
Godzilla follows Lieutenant Ford (played by Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson) alongside his dad Joe Brody (Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston) on a mission to discover what was behind the tragedy that tore their family apart, obviously Godzilla-related. Taylor Johnson performance was serviceable for the nature of the story and he does not exceed more than what’s expected. Cranston on the other hand as a support was probably the strongest performance throughout the allocated screen time he had.
The film also adds in more exposition to the story with two additional characters – Elle (played by Elizabeth Olsen), wife of Lieutenant Ford and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) the scientist that seamlessly knows what’s going on detailing the backstory for the film. Edwards really wanted to detail the scenes of human struggle on the ground making Olsen fight for survival as the monsters clash. It was great shifting the scenes between Taylor-Johnson and Olsen attempting to showcase the fight for reconnection no matter what which relates to his previous film, Monsters.
The action scenes while few are probably a ticket seller if you just came for the fights. Following the Japanese material more than Roland’s Godzilla, this film adds more than just one monster. Godzilla is not the only target for trigger happy Americans to shoot – the film adds MUTO characters in to take the fights to the next level which adds more variation to just the simple, kill one monster.
As mentioned above, people would feel underwhelmed by the lack of action and ‘monster fight scenes’ in the movie when in comparison to other summer action flicks. However, the movie portrays some brilliant drama and excellent set pieces but the abundance of shallow acting and typical B movie grade lines stopped Godzilla from being one of the best films this year.
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont & Dave Callaham
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen & Bryan Cranston