I have to admit that my first Godzilla experience was courtesy of Roland Emmerich and as such, when I first heard that Godzilla was getting a re-boot I was understandably uninterested. However as soon as the name Gareth Edwards appeared on my radar, I was interested, hell I was excited for the re-boot. I hadn’t heard anything of Edwards since his 2010 low budget British science fiction film Monsters, and was pleasantly surprised that the man had been given the reigns to this big budget Hollywood re-boot.
Godzilla is a mix of monster film, human drama and an eco-warning, with a hell of a lot of movie references chucked in for good measure.
The film starts off well, with some archival footage from the American nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll, with images of Godzilla spliced in for good measure, and setting the scene. The opening credits use a redacted technique to give the film the feeling of a government coverup, which is of course the main theme for the first part of the film, which begins 15 years ago.
After a mining company accidentally uncovers a pre-historic monsters lair in the Philipines, allowing the release of one of the monsters, the action quickly shifts to Japan, where the monster, which requires radiation to grow, is setting up a nice little home base under the Janjira nuclear plant. Seismic activity concerns the plant supervisor so much that he sends his wife down into the core to check things out, dooming her to a painful death. The plant is shutdown just before the moster’s lair building causes the plant to collapse, and the whole event is blamed on an earthquake with a definite nod to the recent Fukushima disaster.
Jumping back to the present, and ex-suervisor Joe Brody is now racked with guilt and a rampant conspiracy theorist. His son Ford, however has moved on after loosing his mother, and essentially his father and has a son and wife of his own.
When his father is arrested in Japan for trespassing in the quarantine zone around the Janjira site, Ford heads over to bail him out and try to convince him to come home. Whilst there however, Joe convinces Ford to go with him to try and recover his old notes, in doing so they get picked up and taken back to the Janjira site to witness the accidental opening of Pandora’s box.
From this point on, things start to get hectic, with giant monsters smashing their way across the globe, whilst Ford attempts to do his duty for his country whilst at the same time being a good husband and father.
I won’t go into too much of the plot, as this is a film to be experienced, and experienced on the biggest, loudest screen you can find. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is a massive action monster flick with a huge heart, giving us the opportunity to feel for the central characters, as well as the film’s namesake.
The action pieces are spectacular, the story is well driven by the lead actors, and the special effects are stunning. Godzilla the monster is apparently based on the original monster and plays a great homage to it’s roots. The monster on monster fun is also a hat tip to the original Japanese films.
It’s nice to see this level of understanding in a unique retelling of the story, and whilst I may have some reservations on the design of the other monster, when the mighty Godzilla enters the frame, you will be suitably impressed.
Godzilla is an entertaining wild ride, but one that contains a whole lot of though and consideration, and proves that Edwards’ is the got to guy for making spectacular monster flicks that have a living soul.
Rating: M Violence.
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