Joseph Austin reviews monster movie Godzilla.
The cinematic foreplay of a ‘slow reveal’ is what makes a monster movie truly great.
A glimpse of a fin in Jaws, a ripple in the puddle in Jurassic Park, the rustling of trees in King Kong.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla would be another to add to this list of intriguing revelations.
But, unlike the shark, the T-Rex and the ape, the ‘King of Monsters’ barely takes centre stage in this reboot and, rather embarrassingly, ends up in a supporting role in his very own film.
What’s also embarrassing is that when you strip away the multi-million dollar gloss of near-perfect CGI and immense visuals, Godzilla is a muddled and, in the end, rather dull B-movie with a ginormous budget.
Not even its promising cast can save it.
When Ken Watanabe’s Dr Serizawa isn’t staring blankly into monitors or looking out of windows and muttering something under his breath, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Lieutenant Ford Brody is being simply boring.
The best minutes of the film come, rather unsurprisingly, when Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody is present.
Ranting and raving over seismic graphs and pouring over books on echolocation, a grizzled Brody desperately attempts to uncover the truth as to why the power plant at which he worked is mysteriously destroyed after a series of abnormal ‘earth tremors’.
Haunting scenes of an abandoned cityscape evoke warnings of nuclear power as Brody, and his son Ford, enter the ‘quarantine zone’ years after the incident to find answers.
Captured and taken to the now rebuilt power plant, Brody’s ramblings of a force capable of sending us “back to the stone age” are realised.
No, it’s not Godzilla, but an annoying daddy longlegs-looking creature that resembles something you’d find on the shelf at the toy section in Poundland.
These creatures, known as MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms), are explained as ancient parasites from the same ecosystem as Godzilla.
You remember, the giant lizard who shares his name with the title of the film? No?
After the TWO daddy longlegs (as they shall now be referred to) tear down countless buildings and one unlucky casino in Vegas, Godzilla decides to show up, just because he feels like it, to hunt them.
Here, Watanabe delivers the film’s most thought-provoking line, “the arrogance of man is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around,” before leading the film into mindless monster-action with the fatally damning line, “let them fight.”
One saving grace is the look of Godzilla.
But, instead of ‘wows’ and ‘ooohs’ when the big reveal finally arrives, all intended impact is lost thanks to our de-sensitisation to all things monster-y, after the ridiculous escapades of the daddy longlegs prove all a bit too much.
Gareth Edwards’ re-imagining of this legendary behemoth promises a lot but, ultimately, delivers very little.
It’s not as far down car-crash lane as Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Godzilla.
There’s no corny love story, or scenes stolen from Jurassic Park, and no Matthew Broderick this time.
In its place, however, is a Godzilla film that really does find itself under the category of missed opportunity.
An opportunity as big as Godzilla himself.