By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: Fantastic drama, an affecting performance by Bryan Cranston and spectacular CGI, #Godzilla puts pride back into the Japanese monster franchise.
The Gist: Two ancient flying evil monsters which feed from radioactive energy, wreck havoc on several cities while there is only one thing that can save the Earth from utter destruction.
What Works: When a remake is done, it should be done wit the intention of always looking to improve the previous version or show a different perspective on an idea or a story. This film does both very effectively. Director Gareth Edwards approaches the film with a true-to-life grit rarely seen in monster films. It all feels very real. The beginning takes its time to develop characters in detail, their lives, ideas, even losses, but amongst all this exposition, it still manages to thrust magnificent suspense into the second act. Bryan Cranston’s visceral acting (how else can he be) sets the tone from the very beginning of the film. Immediately you know this is a different monster movie than what we’re used to seeing. The battle scenes are eye-popping and satisfying, but I must confess, they don’t compare to the last 20 minutes of the 2008 “The Incredible Hulk” deathmatch.
What Doesn’t Work: The film suffers from some narrative gaps in the second and third act. For example, a good explanation on why Godzilla appears out of nowhere to fight these leviathans is lacking. I kept on trying to decipher Godzilla’s raison d’etre, except to accept that he rises from the sea due to a sixth sense for monsters attacking defenseless villages. Really? How does that process work? Is there a trigger or signal he receives? “Jack, it’s just a movie, man. Stop asking too many questions and enjoy the film, bro!” Yes, that’s probably what you’re thinking, but here’s my two cents: as a director, if you establish a realistic, plausible tone from the beginning, you can’t suddenly swerve to implausibilities to bail you out. That’s my point. You need to be consistent. On another note, can we talk about Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s acting? It’s better if we don’t.
3D or not 3D? The 3D here is useless because nothing pops out of the screen, nothing that entertains or plays with you ocularly. It might provide some imagery depth, but why would you pay $20 dollar for some flimsy depth? Stick with IMAX which provides a better experience.
Pay or Nay?: Pay! With Bryan Cranston, huge scale monster battles, a serious approach to the story and references to the old school Godzilla movies, this adaptation is worth the cash and the time!
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Screenplay: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham
Director(s): Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, CJ Adams, Richard T. Jones, Al Sapienza, Patrick Sabongui
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Film Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi