The remake no one asked for; but for all the indifference to this film, there has been some hype in the build up. The early footage and images seemingly kindled something akin to hope within a disbelieving and sometimes non-interested public, that this may well be the film the big dinosaur-monster deserved. I wasn’t big on the 1998 film, though I still found it entertaining when I watched it on TV, but the 2014 incarnation, buoyed by some positive reviews and reactions, attempts to do justice to the world’s most revered monster by staying true to the origins – good to know, but is that enough of a drawcard?
An American scientist Joe (Bryan Cranston) and his wife (Juliette Binoche) work at a power plant in Japan. When a series of shockwaves are detected, Joe suspects it’s more than a simple earthquake. 15 years after that incident – another series of shock waves strikes, but no one is prepared for what ultimately arises. A Japanese Doctor though, knows that what they’re dealing with is very old and way beyond human control.
You kind of know what you’re going to get with this film, and you’re either a fan or you’re not.
The Bottom Line
Going into this film without expectations is a bit pointless because you do have expectations, even at a base level, so it’s really the film’s prerogative to outdo those basic expectations of an already skeptical audience having already lost the element of surprise. From this perspective I can say that for the first third it was certainly on the right track, but there comes a very definitive moment when things seem to lose momentum, and much of the second act is spent trying to regain it.
There’s plenty of destruction porn and the big monster visuals are quite a spectacle, but one cannot help but feel that little known director Gareth Edwards placed more emphasis on Monsters whilst somewhat neglecting the human aspect, which means the film loses resonance.
Granted, this is a film about a giant prehistoric-type monster, so much of the experience will be down to making Godzilla the star of his own film, but apart from impressive visuals and sound, little else is delivered. Cranston and Watanabe are perfect casting choices, but it’s disappointing that we’re robbed of them sharing the screen – something the film is plagued with – under using its best assets as the story favours the less interesting Aaron Taylor-Johnston/Elizabeth Olsen driven plot-line.
I’m pretty sure fanboys and nerds are happy with the appearance of Godzilla and the handling of his origin, since much of the previous discontent surrounded those elements, but one needs more than to simply tick those boxes.
In the end the film feels rather superficial due to some (obligatory) non-sensical/convenient plot devices, a central story that kind of gets lost in all the destruction and moments where the film seems to undermine the intelligence of its audience. It has to be said that the movie-going public have been rather over-exposed to the destruction of cities and apocalyptic stories and have in a sense become desensitized to it, so much so that we kind of know the drill, but the characters in the film don’t seem to.
In essence, much of the audience will have outgrown a film like this because it no longer has anything new to offer, that being said, it’s still good for what it is, and, had we been given this film in 1998, we’d still be singing its praises today. It may have rectified some of the Hollywood faults of the past and done justice to the Godzilla aesthetic with a cinematic spectacular, but was all of it enough, and was it all worth it? Me thinks no. A spectacular visual feast it may be, but I’m afraid it won’t stand the test of time.