The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Godzilla starts promisingly enough, with archive footage of nuclear tests and an introduction to Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche’s scientists, in a town in Japan experiencing strange movements underneath the ground. It’s a shame then, that the rest of the film is mostly average and is not compelling enough to maintain my interest throughout. The problems begin with the film’s human characters, who we spent a lot of time with throughout. Gareth Edwards assembled a solid ensemble including Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn, but none of them (outwith Cranston) are developed enough. This leads on to one of the film’s main problems, in it’s choice to focus on the charisma vacuum that is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, surely one of the blandest actors currently being cast in Hollywood films, and his wife, Elizabeth Olsen, who feels utterly irrelevant to the main plot. Thankfully, this misuse of the human characters doesn’t extend to the monsters themselves, and Godzilla in particular, is frighteningly realised.
Motion capture expert Andy Serkis was on board as a consultant, and his considerable talents have been put to good use in creating the titular character. He’s powerful, menacing, and I could feel my seat shake everytime he roared. The big fights are well realised, albeit there isn’t anything particularly new given the current superhero trend of smashing up cities. We don’t see a great deal of Godzilla, but this is a positive in my opinion, and Edwards certainly makes it count when he does appear. Overall, there’s a lot to like here and Edwards clearly has a good handle on what makes Godzilla tick, but if we’re going to spend as much time as we do with the human characters, they need to be a hell of a lot more interesting than this.
Directed By: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins and Bryan Cranston