This American Godzilla (“Gadzilla”) had two goals, to revive interest in this franchise and to finally give us a proper high budget Hollywood version of Godzilla that could truly depict his sheer size and power. Both have been achieved and I’d like to credit director Gareth Edwards for putting the “God” back in Godzilla.
I saw Godzilla when it was released, by now it’s been out for ages and I was happy to pay to see it again, so why not write a review this time? I must stress that Godzilla has to be the most divisive film I’ve seen for a very long time. I’m not specifically talking about the critics, who have also been polarised, although the majority are leaning towards the positive side; I’m talking about people I know that have actually seen it.
Not actual maths here, but the reactions I’ve seen or heard from people I know in real life and on social media have been anything but consistent. I’m going to make a comparison of two completely different films here, but the hype for both Godzilla and Frozen before and after their releases could be felt across the world. Remember how 90% of those who saw Frozen liked it? Remember how 90% of that 90% seemed to love it? Well Godzilla is more like 33.3% liked it, 33.3% thought it was okay, and 33.3% disliked it. I’ve read or heard people talking up the movie like it was the best damn thing they’ve ever seen. Some have expressed such unmitigated hatred of the movie that they simply cannot accept anyone’s opinion to the contrary. Others just felt a bit underwhelmed, disappointed or indifferent to it. So while I really liked Godzilla and I would heartily recommend it, if you were to ask me if you would like it, I couldn’t confidently say yes. However, I can guarantee that you will enjoy the big monster moments, making it a must see whether you enjoy or despise the rest of the movie.
To the story now! Mild spoilers from here onwards!
In 1999, a so-called nuclear accident occurred at a facility in Japan where both Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) work, while their son Ford is attending school. Sandra is killed in the incident and Joe spends the next fifteen years trying to work out what happened that day, believing it to be more than a nuclear accident. In 2014, Ford Brody (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) has grown up, lives in the United States, dismantles bombs for a living and has a wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and a son. After Joe is arrested in Japan for trespassing where the accident took place, Ford flies over to bail him out, and Joe coerces him into investigating the conspiracy. Monsters are discovered and it’s pretty damn spectacular. Let’s leave it at that, hope you enjoy the events that unravel.
I get the criticisms that some have thrown at this movie, such as Godzilla not having enough screen time. Some may think the teased glimpses were well implemented and resulted in a big payoff at the end, while others will literally feel teased by Edward.
I can see ways it could be improved, such as devoting less time to the other monsters featured and the human characters and more on Godzilla. I mean sure, the human storylines aren’t anything special. However, it’s not like the Transformers movies where the titular robots are more like the side characters in their own movies. The human stories in Godzilla all come back to the destruction caused by the monsters. Plus, Godzilla can’t speak, so the humans are needed to move the story along. Could they, or should they have been more interesting? Most definitely, hopefully the sequel improves on this. Also, hopefully the sequel gives more time to BIG. ARSE. MONSTER. MASH.
Anyway, Godzilla was more enjoyable the second time, but then again the first time I saw it was in IMAX 3D and you can’t really top that. So go see it! I hope you really like it, I sure did and I know a bunch of cinemagoers that enjoyed it too. If you end up hating the movie, hey at least you’ll dig the hell out of the monsters’ screen time. That Godzilla roar is so damn awesome. Oh and the last monster fight scene? PURE PERFECTION.