After an atrocious 1998 Hollywood adaptation, it just seemed a good idea to just leave the making of Godzilla movies to the Japanese. So when it was announced that Warner Bros. has dared to make another film about the ‘King of Monsters’ , the worldwide fan base of the Japanese pop culture icon let out a collective sigh. Needless to say, expectation for this movie was in the low end. Until the trailer came out that is, and we were given a glimpse of a dark, brooding, and scary atmosphere, punctuated by the shadow of the giant beast we know and love. By then the fans started thinking that maybe the movie won’t be that bad.
Well those fans won’t be disappointed because the film delivers on so many levels! Opening with the usual but vague origin-story-in-the-opening-credits, the movie unfolds slowly as we are introduced to the film's main characters. First there is Dr. Ishiro Serizawa(Ken Watanabe), a Japanese scientist who works for a secret organisation, and Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), a nuclear physicist and former engineer at a Japanese nuclear plant who discovers an anomaly that triggers an earthquake that causes a nuclear meltdown. Then there's Brody's son, Lieutenant Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who. despite loving his father, is getting tired with his obsessive research .
I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, one of the movies’ greatest strength is its unpredictability--it tends to leave you guessing at every turn. It is also genuinely frightening, a lot of the camera angles were done from a first person point of view. Think Cloverleaf without all the shaking. Godzilla is very intimidating if seen from that perspective, and it really puts the audience in the middle of the situation. The way they use light, smoke, and shadow is also very interesting. There are many scenes where you cannot perceive where the monster is and only silhouettes are shown. It adds to the thrill, since the audience has no idea where they will attack next. The whole thing keeps you at the edge of your seat!
Long-time fans have a lot to look forward to! The movie pays homage to the original film, acknowledging that Godzilla was created as an allegory to nuclear power and its dangers. The whole movie centres on the premise of monsters being powered by radioactivity. Plus there is a major monster mash in the end-a hallmark of many TOHO produced Godzilla films. The ‘King of Monsters’ himself, looks almost exactly like his rubber-suit version--just more lifelike. Not to be missed is the instant when Godzilla uses his signature weapon, the blue flame! Trust me, fans everywhere will get goose bumps! It was beautifully executed, with a slow momentum that builds excitement on anyone familiar with the TOHO films.
The only complaint I may have is the fact that the title character was not really given that much screen time. Aside from that, Godzilla is an amazing and exciting movie for both fans and non-fans alike. It gives the origins the respect it deserves, while delivering something new and innovative.
Godzilla roars into US theatres tomorrow, May 16.
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