“Roar!” Godzilla roars.
Director Gareth Edwards has made a breakthrough in his Hollywood debut by bringing back the monstrous icon, Godzilla, back to the screen with a formidable rampage. In the conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Toho Studios first introducing Gojira to cinema, this “king of kaiju” gets a decent reboot that roots deeply on the original. Godzilla gets a decent clean slate after Roland Emmerich dried attempt in 1998.
Warner Bros along with Legendary Pictures appoints Edwards to direct this century-passed franchise on a notion that he has humanized monster genre in his indie gem Monsters. This 2014 version introduces a completely different plot devices. Edwards exemplifies the tendency of not simply letting the monster destroys the city and perishes human races, but exaggerating more on human reaction to the abomination.
In 1999, Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and his colleague (Sally Hawkins) gets a report that a mining in the Phillipines has collapsed. Yet, what they find is a truth more than just the origin of our monster. Meanwhile, a physicist in Japan, Joe Brody (Brian Cranston) loses his wife in the collapsing nuclear power plant in which he works. Fifteen years later, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Joe’s son has joined the U.S. Military while his father is still obsessed in investigating the truth behind the accident that ruins his life. Due to an event, Ford has to get to Japan seeing his father, while leaving his wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), and his son. Tragically, the drama of separated family issue is not the only thing awaits—it’s rather an opening to a prehistoric combat that entertains us much.
Edwards’ second monster film demands more patience than any Godzilla films ever made. Edwards saves his monsters up until the minute they are meant to rampagely perform. The first half of the film deals with quite emotional and depressing pace to reveal the what people really faces beyond—supported by Cranston’s most emotional kicker and all. Other casts may not show tougher performance than Cranston, but they can deliver how they react to their doom convincingly (at least better than all the uncredited casts). This hour effectively shows how people try to survive from catastrophe that lies beyond—how they get panicked, surprised, and struggled.
Surprisingly, during the “showtime”, Godzilla doesn’t have sudden POV. The sight of this legendary monster can only be observed through fragments from the human characters’ vision. Director Edwards saves everything up for the final built-up climax with massive destructions and city-flattening devastations like Man of Steel. When it comes to the Godzilla-in-action scenes, comparisons to Pacific Rims are inevitable; yet, Godzilla has something its colleague doesn’t have. Godzilla is not merely an invader who wants to occupy the earth and it’s no “motiveless” predator—our king of kaiju has its own call of its action and, thankfully, it’s not a bleak villain. To divulge the set-piece of this action, I think, might ruin the pleasure of being entertained by our prehistoric monster; yet, I might say that it might top expectations of the action portion in this film.
Judging from how Godzilla seizes the earth, I think this one deserves a look. Although Borenstein’s script has flaws and prolix narrative in the beginning, Edwards’ treatment has successfully mended the hole. He eventually creates a deeper monster film that focuses on the human characters.