Let them fight… please!
[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00EXPOD9M][/pullquote] This Godzilla reboot forms part of the natural evolution of film-maker Gareth Edwards. Bursting onto the scene with his low-budget high-concept drama film Monsters, he took the reins in an attempt to wash the taste out of the mouth of all those who wasted money to see the abysmal Roland Emmerich version in 1998. He only partially succeeds.
Following the tragic and unexplained accident that steals his wife, nuclear technician Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) spends 15 years searching for answers. His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) grows up and joins the military, but the two are drawn back together after the discovery of a giant skeleton containing two spores brings giant monsters to the surface.
It’s your standard Godzilla setup with the King of Monsters drawn into a fight with another beast while humanity watches on. Only this is 2014, and as the Transformers films teach us; man cannot simply by a bystander. Thus we are treated to some dour-faced expositional narrative surrounding the fractured family unit and the use of the military.
Why is it that blockbuster film-makers think that we need these stories shoe-horned in? Sometimes it would just be nice to, as Ken Watanabe’s character nonsensically says let them fight! But no, we have to have the US military come to the rescue. This jingoist, pro-violence stance is not really a problem in most films, but when there’s a clash between two huge fictional creatures happening in the background it’s really difficult to give two hoots about a bland two-dimensional character like Ford. Bryan Cranston’s character is at least interesting to watch until he is cruelly side-lined.
The special effects are incredible and the design of Godzilla and adversaries are impeccably realised. It’s a testament to Edwards creativity that he’s stepped up from doing effects on his computer to those in a blockbuster film and kept the high-level of quality. It’s such a shame that the tone is so misplaced. He’s clearly aimed for a ˜serious’ level to it, but when you realise that it’s a more traditional Godzilla film it doesn’t really work.
There is enough in here to stop it drifting toward the dirge of the 1998 abomination, but a laugh-free adventure in the mundane really does suck the fun out of what should be one of the most entertaining blockbusters of the year. At least it looks incredible and the parts of the final battle that you do see are mighty impressive.