Review: Godzilla (2014)


Tasked with resurrecting Japan’s iconic monster Godzilla, Gareth Edwards – advancing to the big leagues on the back of his acclaimed debut Monsters – delivers an impressive blockbuster spectacle, even if it lacks a strong emotional core. After an eerie opening credits sequence that pays homage to the creations lineage, the film picks up fifteen years later, with Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) still searching for answers to the nuclear plant accident that killed his wife. Joe even ropes his military son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to help, only to make a monstrous discovery that awakens an ancient beast from the ocean depths. Embracing the notion of less is more, Edwards utilises his skill as a director and Alexandre Desplat’s expertise as composer to establish a sense of foreboding, luring the audience in with big promises and keeping them hooked with tactful teases and exquisite set pieces (a halo drop, in particular). The visuals, too, come up to scratch, ensuring both the monster and the catastrophic obliteration left in its wake are captured with smarts. It comes as a shame, then, that Max Borenstein’s script is so run-of-the-mill and scarce on emotional heart in which to humanise the destruction that’s taking place. Although the film is peppered with decent actors every which way you look – from Cranston to Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins as high profile scientists – they’re all but hollow shells spouting out technical terms and cheesy dialogue. It’s not that Godzilla isn’t both electrifying and visually tiptop, it’s more that without a well-bodied narrative and empathetic characters to back it up, it’s all show and little go.

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