Movie Review: Godzilla
The summer disaster movie is something we the people of the 21st century have become quite accustomed to. They cost millions, involve catastrophes of an epic scale, sell out midnight premieres and accrue something towards the $1 billion mark at the box office. And sometimes… they can even be really good! I say this because it is very rare that one of these movies does all of the above while still pleasing the critics. Take last years Iron Man 3 and 2 Guns. Both made a huge mark at the box office whilst underperforming with reviews. However, one does always seem to accomplish performing well both financially and critically. This years example is none other than the long awaited (and wholly satisfying) remake of 1954’s Japanese classic of the same name, Godzilla.
It opens with one of the most memorable title sequences that i’ve seen featuring the production team and casts name imposed into news snippets about coverups and propaganda relating to the initial appearances of Godjira (the Japanese term for our giant anti-hero). After the titles finish, we open into the Japanese suburbs where parents and nuclear plant workers Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche go about a regular day in their lives. They send their son (a younger version of Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to school and then head to work. Little do they know this will be their last day on the job, for different reasons. A series of “tremors” send the entire plant into disarray which ends in complete devastation and a quarantining of their entire city.
As much as I would love to continue recounting one of the most exciting nights at the movies that I have had recently, I also wish to not give anything else away before you (all) have the chance to spoil it for yourselves. That may be one of the most commendable aspects of this entire movie. The marketing team certainly knew how to go about promoting a movie of such a large scale while keeping an entire 3/4th’s of the film under wraps ready to be shown only when opening day rolls around. This is almost impossible now-a-days in the world of social media and leaks of supposed hidden content, but somehow the workers over at Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. managed to do the impossible. Just when you think it can’t get any bigger, badass and exciting, it throws something else at you that keeps your heart racing, sweat dripping and feet tapping, all the way until the credits roll. This is also a movie where getting too close to a certain character may be almost as dangerous as the subject material itself as many are put in jeopardy (or worse) throughout.
Another great aspect of this film is the ability that the director (relative newcomer Gareth Edwards) had to balance the terror, excitement, destruction and subtle grim that a story of this nature no doubt has. Yes your palms may sweat, and yes you may or may not almost fall out of your seat several times, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments to cool down in between. Such as the endearing moments between Taylor- Johnson and his beautiful and strong in-movie wife Elizabeth Olsen. Honestly, who would have guessed that the younger sister of two of hollywood’s biggest wastes of space could turn out to be one of this generations best actresses? Just another wonderful trait of this beautifully tragic soon-to-be blockbuster experience. So do your summer self a favor and sit back, relax and enjoy the awe-inspiring terror that is GODZILLA!