Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), Godzilla is the latest reimagining of Japan’s most famous nuclear-fuelled monster.
After a homage-paying opening sequence that echoes back to the 1954 original, the story begins with a devastating event inside Janjira nuclear plant in Japan. Still struggling to come to terms with the events fifteen years later, paranoid physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) continues to investigate the incident with his son, bomb disposal expert Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Tracking new seismic activity leads them to Dr. Ichero Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), who is involved in a secret project.
Standing at colossal 350-feet tall, Godzilla is far more imposing than anything from Cloverfield, King Kong or Pacific Rim. It’s undeniably cool the first time we see the beast in all his glory. Even emerging from the water causes a giant tsunami in his wake. Of course, bullets and bombs do little to concern the king of the monsters. But he has far bigger problems to contend with, as there are other ancient monsters in play with even more destructive appetites…
Cranston delivers a powerful and emotional performance, fresh from his iconic role in Breaking Bad. Taylor-Johnson as the action hero is comparatively less interesting, even managing to get out-performed by screen wife Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy) during a phone conversation. He also appears to be a monster magnet, seemingly unable to enter a train or bridge without a creature from the deep turning up to destroy it. The other female characters get little else to do, with Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) appearing briefly.
Visually, Godzilla is a treat throughout. The CGI monsters are fantastically realised, rampaging through Japan and later America like an apocalyptic force of nature. The action is complemented by Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack, which rumbles and roars with increasing urgency.
As the film stomps towards its epic final showdown, it loses some of the earlier tension that had everyone fleeing for their lives. For all the fantastic build-up and reveal, the titular monster appears in the film far less than you might expect. In fact, a more suitable title could be “Where’s Godzilla?”
That said; this latest incarnation far surpasses Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort in every way. There’s plenty of exhilarating fun to be had and you’ll ultimately be rooting for Godzilla like a skyscraper-sized Rocky Balboa!
The Blu-Ray comes with a digital Ultraviolet edition, along with an great variety of special features with the cast and crew. There's three 'MONARCH: Declassified' featurettes (Operation: Lucky Dragon, The M.U.T.O File and The Godzilla Revelation), an in-depth look at the legendary monster in 'Godzilla: Force of Nature', an exploration of the epic carnage in 'A Whole New Level of Destruction', a detailed scene breakdown 'Into the Void: The H.A.L.O Jump', and creating the perfect nemesis for Godzilla in 'Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s'. All of which will enhance your appreciation of the production and what they set out to achieve.
Review by: Sarah O'Connell
Review Date: 25th October 2014
Rating out of 5: