Writers: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham
Plot: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody
Sally Hawkins as Vivienne Graham
The Godzilla (or, in Japanese, Gojira) franchise features a series of 28 original Japanese Kaiju (“monster”) movies. Inspired by the success of ‘King Kong’, the first ‘Godzilla’ was released in 1954 and was extremely influential, and it was adapted by Americans into ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters!’. Godzilla inspired many other movies, video games and comics. Four Godzilla movies have been produced in America and one in Italy (also known as Cozzilla),while North Korea released ‘Pulgasari’, which was similar to Godzilla. The monster was created as an allegory of the effects and consequences of the hydrogen bomb, and represented the Japanese fear of the Hiroshima disaster happening again. This ‘Godzilla’ is a reboot of the one from 1954, and not a remake of the badly received 1998 version.
In 1999, a couple of researchers are investigating the finding of a massive skeleton under an excavation site in the Philippines, along with a strange cocoon attached to it, and one that has apparently hatched. In Japan, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is worried that the periodical ‘earthquakes’ occurring lately may cause damage unless the nuclear power plant he’s working in is shut down. As his wife (Juliette Binoche) approaches the reactor to check it for damage, a strong tremor causes a breach in the reactor, Joe’s wife’s death, and the collapse of the building. Fifteen years later,
Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) lives in the USA but is called to Japan to bail his father out, who’s been trespassing in order to find out what really happened the day his wife died. At the ‘abandoned’ nuclear plant, that has been turned into a military-protected research center, what happened in 1999 starts happening again.
Interestingly enough, the two characters that looked like main characters in the trailer – Godzilla and Joe (Bryan Cranston) – are the ones you’ll see the least in the movie. I didn’t find this characteristic to be that bad, in regards to Godzilla. It manages to build tension and expectation as you wait for the monster to appear, and it also gives you time to appreciate the monsters Godzilla’s fighting – the so-called MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). But the fact that Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the ‘human lead’, instead of Bryan Cranston,
was just bad. Because Mr Kick-Ass isn’t a good actor, has no charisma, and the public doesn’t get anything from the script that can help sympathize with him. He has a wife and small child, and I could really care less, because most of the (too many) actors in the movie are just expendable and forgettable. The dialogues don’t help, either.
On the bright side, like I said, the movie is tense. Many scenes occur at night, in silence – when all of a sudden a huge monster appears and destroys everything while shrieking maniacally, which is just beautiful. The CGI is great and the cinematography doesn’t disappoint, just like the majestic soundtrack. There aren’t as many action scenes as one would expect, and the MUTOs and Godzilla are gradually revealed, up until the final big fight. The fact that some serious effort has been put into creating an interesting story – and actually, the mere fact that there is a story, gives this movie an automatic thumbs up. All in all, this ‘Godzilla’ is an interesting, tense, fun monster movie to watch, that can be appreciated by newbies and long-term fans of the franchise equally.