Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Film Review: Gareth Edwards' Godzilla

Sure, the CGI in Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot is dead on spectacular, but my heart will always belong to Ishiro Honda's original 1954 classic, and that guy in the rubber suit. Of course, none of this heartfelt nostalgia for a sixty year old film (I do tend to go the classic route, after all) means I did not thrill at this brand new Godzilla - because I did. This is something like the 32nd Godzilla movie (28 by Toho, two US retreads, and a pair of honest to goodness American versions - one of whom we should probably not speak) and through all the battles with Mothra and Hedorah and Mechagodzilla and even King Kong, this latest version is probably the best one since the original. So there.

Edwards, whose only prior feature film was the wonderfully melancholy super indie 2010 film, Monsters, where he acted as writer, director, cinematographer, production designer, and special effects artist, brings a sort of early to mid career Steven Spielberg-esque quality to his new monster movie. Much in the same manner as J.J. Abrams' Super 8, another film, and filmmaker, highly influenced by Spielberg, and Spielberg's own Jurassic Park, Edwards' starts out his film with tease after tease, never actually giving us a clear shot of the titular big guy until at least an hour into the action. This lengthy anticipation serves to give the film a palpable air of tension, though sometimes the somewhat tedious, and rather obvious script can drag it down a bit (Come on guys, why does no one ever listen to the crackpot scientist? Have you never seen a sci-fi movie before?). All the time, making us wonder just when the hell is the goddamn monster going to show up. Oh boy though, when he does finally come out of hiding, we get to see why he has been named the King of the Freakin' Monsters.

So, as Edwards' slow burn edges closer and closer to the reveling of that big guy we have all been waiting for, we are all hoping the pay off is worth the wait. And let me tell ya'll - it most certainly is. The final forty minutes or so of this movie is what one would (and should) call quite spectacular of an action-packed brouhaha. The battle we get for the film's finale (and no spoilers wanted, so I won't go into much detail) is one of the best any self-respecting monster movie aficionado could hope for. Pretty much non-stop at this point, Edwards' closing battle royale is right up there where one would expect something influenced by the popcorn early days of Spielberg to be. And then there is the actual ending. Once the smoke clears and the survivors are rescued, we get the ending that we the viewers (and Godzilla himself) deserves. Oh yeah, and there are some pretty good actors hanging around too (all with varying degrees of success - sorry Kick-Ass, but you are so good in other things, so don't sweat it), but they pale in comparison to the big ass freakin' monster. Godzilla really is the star here - and he makes the most of his screen time. That's for sure.


4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I was debating whether I should bother seeing it.

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  2. Oh I want to see it and now with 2 good reviews (you and Alex) I will see it. I missed Noah and other ones that I wanted to see. When will Ultraman ever make it back?

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