Gareth Edwards’ reboot of Godzilla is a film that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and it’s one of the best films you’ll see this year. Godzilla is the star of the film for sure, but it’s the human characters in this latest take on the King of the Monsters that really shine. Check out the full review after the jump…
Don’t get me wrong—this is definitely a monster movie. But it’s the outstanding cast of characters that are introduced in the first act that really make us attached and invested in the story.
Among the ensemble cast of the film is Bryan Cranston who plays the character of Joe Brody, a nuclear physicist. Cranston absolutely kills it, bringing gravitas and emotional truth to the situation he’s been placed in. His son Naval Lieutenant Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, carries a large weight of the film on his shoulders as we follow his journey home (and the path of destruction) from Japan to San Francisco. Ford’s scenes with his wife, played by Elizabeth Olsen, along with his father, and son really drive home the human element of this film.
Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ichiro Serizawa expands on the mythology of the Godzilla creature. The good doctor also helps to explain the giant lizard’s history within the context of this new movie universe and provides a connection to the 1954 original. You feel the scale of Godzilla, and he is a towering beast. Likewise his opponent is as equally horrifying in size and sheer power, there’s a real sense of danger throughout. Long time fans of Godzilla fret not; there are plenty of great callbacks and Easter eggs for you as well.
Gareth Edwards holds off on showing us Godzilla for a good portion of the film, choosing to only really showcase him during the third act. I found myself sometimes getting aggravated by this as just when you feel like you’re about to see something really cool it cuts away. Nitpicks aside, when you do finally see Godzilla in all his glory it’s totally worth it. The way Edwards has assembled the film also gives it a sense of urgency, leaving you on the edge of your seat at times hoping that a certain character will connect with another.
Other aspects of the filmmaking process are mostly satisfying as well. The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is both haunting and beautiful. The original music from composer Alexandre Desplat also adds to those visuals; he’s written a score that is both as epic as its title character and as personal as the relationship between Ford and his father. The visual effects are top notch as well—Godzilla and the destruction caused are both beautifully rendered and at times you may even forget they were all created in a computer.
The only problems I had with the film were some of the jumps in logic as well as hoping some characters had more screen time. There could have been a little bit more of an explanation on Godzilla’s motives and where exactly he came from.
As stated earlier, see this movie on the biggest screen you can, preferably in IMAX. The 3D conversion was ok but you won’t be missing out on much if you see the film in the standard two dimensions. This is a film you absolutely must experience in theaters, the theater quality sound alone will be worth it when you heard Godzilla roar.
If you go into Godzilla looking to have a good time, wanting to see some amazing monster fights on an epic scale, and human characters you actually connect with, then you will most definitely leave the theater happy. Gareth Edwards has truly created an outstanding, satisfying reboot. Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla this is not.