Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, CJ Adams, Ken Watanabe, Carson Bolde, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Richard T. Jones, Victor Rasuk, Patrick Sabongui, Jared Keeso, Luc Roderique, James Pizzinato, Catherine Lough Hagguist, Eric Keenleyside, Primo Allon, Ken Yamamura, Hiro Kanagawa, Yuki Morita.
Every generation gets the Godzilla they deserve. The 1990’s debacle starring Matthew Broderick thankfully can now be put to bed as the nightmare it was and audiences in the second decade of the 21st Century can breathe easy knowing they at least have got a monster so cool that it practically makes all other versions somehow seem vastly inferior.
Godzilla, the king of monsters, the nightmare that comes from beneath the waves and whom has deserved such a film for the best part of 50 years is the star, the creation that reminds audiences of the deeper message that what we as the planets custodians wreck upon the Earth, nature will surely come back with something to level the playing field and if it’s 300 feet high and in an uglier mood than a Boxer who has taken one too many wallops round the head and who finds himself trading punches in a fairground for 20 pounds a fight then so be it.
The 50’s concept was one that should be commended and yes the early Japanese films were astonishingly good for their time and having touched upon a nerve of a country that had endured two atomic bomb attacks on its soil, the films were perfect for how they kept the public’s mind on what humans were capable of creating, the ugly side of the mirror reflecting humanity’s darkness. Since then though the beast has not fared well, he has fared less well than an American Frat Pack film being given unlimited release in a country that finds the alleged comedy intolerable.
What the film makers did well straight from the start was acknowledge the past, humanity’s almost lunatic pre-occupation with the nuclear bomb and turn it on its head by having the despairing tests near the Bikini Atoll become a show of strength in which to blow the unknown monster to bits. It is clever thinking and gives the film that slightly sinister feel in which will become evident as the minutes progress.
A film that takes an hour to introduce fully its major star could be seen as failing in its duty to thrill the audience. A film in which kills off two of the biggest stars in it early on could be accused of portraying disaster films in a bad light but it works and if it works then you cannot ask for anything else. With Bryan Cranston, the likeable Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe giving very credible performances, it immediately has so much more going for it than the film that can now be buried in so much Nuclear waste, it would take a million years for it to be allowed to surface.
The stars though were the people behind making Godzilla and the Mutos such great adversaries. The fight scenes in which saw these towering monsters battle it out around the San Francisco Bay area was something to behold and whilst there have been more disturbing monsters over the years in which to gape at, the Alien for example or the monster in Cloverfield, there is something captivating about seeing a giant monster treat humanity with such disdain, even when it is doing them a favour by killing the species that will desecrate them. So much disdain that it compares us to the lowest of the low, the ants on the floor scurrying around, the cockroaches who have spawned this evil with their drive to Nuclear sustainability. There is a true conscious behind the eyes for which the makers should be congratulated for capturing, for showing the difference between the Supreme Being and the insects that dash towards their own oblivion and over all making a film to which pays the highest honour to the original notion, by making a Godzilla film which really claws at the mammoth potential on offer.
Ian D. Hall