Godzilla (2014)

imageGareth Edwards directs Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elisabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston in this prestige attempt to reboot the big nuclear lizard franchise.

Godzilla is not a perfect film, in fact it often is a frustrating one, but then there is no such thing as a perfect Godzilla film and I have an affection for all of them… This one especially. Not only was it a film I excitedly went to see in Paris on my honeymoon, but it is a huge summer blockbuster that attempts the more sophisticated and rare adult risks of say the excellent Planet of the Apes prequels or The Bourne franchise. To its credit, I might add. The issue is never the scale or scope of the action, when it comes that is all 5 star perfect. It is just for a movie that promises two brilliant things (Godzilla and Bryan Cranston) it gives such small portions of each over its two hours. When either are on screen the film really flies but the middle hour where both are absent we are left with Taylor-Johnson and Olsen’s wet and insipid middle aged, teenagers. So blank are their performances you feel like you are requeuing for a ride that has already started, enduring their bridging plotline as it spools out between the chaos. Cranston shines in the screentime he has, turning in the kind of grumpy, overly excited magic that makes him always watchable. And I understand why Godzilla is teased and held back and obscured so often in her own film. If we “Let them fight” any earlier than that glorious last half hour, then the moneyshot would be spent and going cold and crusty too soon. The global disaster movie that spins out while we stand about for Godzilla to get her moment in the beautiful Hieronymus Bosch-esque ruins of San Fransico (fire, smoke, rubble, dust blend into a marvellous backdrop that seduces the retinas) is fine fun in long shot. But it’s not until we can revel in the lighting breath, jaw snapping, building pummelling and especially that shot of a victorious but exhausted Godzilla wading her loveable fat ass back into the ocean that you feel like you got the movie you paid to see. For a blockbuster that knowingly avoids giving you too much of what you want, I still find it an obtusely satisfying and rewatchable endeavour.


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