Writer: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Godzilla (1998)” and “Cloverfield”
When Hollywood's big budget attempt of "Godzilla" first stomped into cinemas in 1998, the anticipation was certainly high back then, especially since the movie was made by none other than the highly-successful "Independence Day" film-making team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. Unfortunately, this reviewer was disappointed with the overall outcome of the movie which really felt like watching a rehash of "Jurassic Park" rather than a proper "Godzilla" feature.
Flash forward more than a decade later, "Godzilla" makes a huge comeback for a second time in Hollywood and many disappointed fans of the 1998 version of "Godzilla" had their hopes renewed when British director Gareth Edwards was selected to reboot the movie. After all, Edwards was responsible for the acclaimed low budget but technically proficient "Monsters" in 2010. Thankfully, Edwards manages to set his direction mostly on the right course with a distinctively thunderous roar where Emmerich and Devlin failed the first time around with 1998's "Godzilla".
The story in this new version of "Godzilla" goes like this; Following a series of mysterious tremors that struck upon a Japanese nuclear power plant in 1999 where scientist Joe Brody loses his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche), Joe refuses to accept the fact that the tremors is merely a cause of natural disaster but something more of an unusual occurrence. Fifteen years later, we are introduced to Joe's grown-up son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a young U.S. military bomb disarming specialist who returns home from serving his country to his nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and their young son, Sam (Carson Bolde). When Ford discovers that his father has been arrested, he flies back to Japan to bail him out and subsequently gets caught in the middle of a top-secret government conspiracy involving otherworldly terrifying beasts. And one of them is a giant monster called Godzilla.
If you are expecting an all-out monster smackdown, say like "Pacific Rim", you will be mostly disappointed by Gareth Edwards' sparse use of the Godzilla monster itself, but that doesn't mean the movie is entirely a letdown. Edwards, who is a die-hard "Godzilla" fan himself, has obviously inspired his movie from the original 1954 black-and-white classic and of course, Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" where the monster is seen sparingly. Even though you don't really get to see much of the new Godzilla in full-scale mode, Edwards still manages to craft a couple of pulse-pounding moments that will keep your heart racing with anticipation and suspense. Not only that, "Godzilla" is also blessed with stunning visual imagery and it's particularly well-matched with Alexandre Desplat's thunderous score that evokes the classic monster movie feel of the yesteryears.
As for the creation of Godzilla itself, rest assured that the giant monster is close to the original Japanese kaiju version than the disappointed T-Rex-like clone of the 1998 version. Suffice to say, the Godzilla here looks flawlessly designed and even frightening enough to give you goosebumps, especially whenever it lets out the famous deafening roar that truly rocks the surround sound system at the cinema to its limit. One of the highlights is a short but memorable three-way showdown between Godzilla and two other monsters at the heart of the city.
Despite "Godzilla" exhibiting several strong points, the movie does suffer from several drawbacks and among them is the wobbly cast. It's kind of a pity that fine actors like Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Juliette Binoche are only granted with underwhelming roles which doesn't really give them room for a solid acting presence. Even the promising young actors; Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (soon to be seen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in next year's "The Avengers: Age Of Ultron") are rather bland. If there's an actor worth praising for, it's definitely Bryan Cranston who commits his role pretty well as Joe Brody.
The new "Godzilla" here isn't perfect by any means, but it's definitely a whole lot better than the goofy 1998 version. For a monster as big as "Godzilla", there is only one way to catch it in all its glory; on the big screen. This is one that is even worth the IMAX treatment or Dolby Atmos!Cinema Online, 12 May 2014