Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn
Plot: A couple of prehistoric monsters come to life, triggering the return of Godzilla, a huge monster that is a force of nature in its own right, to combat them, leaving mass destruction in their wake.
Review: Nearly everyone condemned Roland Emmerich's 1998 version of Japan's beloved iconic hero, though I liked it for its entertainment value. This newest version attempts to stay as true as possible to the original Japanese version, and in that sense, it succeeds, but not without flaws.
Director Gareth Edwards successfully creates a sense of awe of the creature in question by showing scenes of the aftermath of the carnage it causes, as well as the carnage caused by the two monsters it is fighting. Edwards cleverly teases the appearance of Godzilla for the first half, showing parts of the monster and making it look too huge for our eyes to see, until he finally lets us see it in its full glory when the action kicks in. And sure enough, when Godzilla faces off against the two monsters, it is a sight to behold.
However, even a monster movie like this needs a good script, and this is where Godzilla trips on its tail. Edwards tries to make the human characters relatable, but only succeeds in the first half or so. Other than Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe, most of the cast have very little to do or say, and even if they had a good scene, it wouldn't matter that much in connection to the plot. Elizabeth Olsen in particular is wasted as Taylor-Johnson's wife, while Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche make rather short appearances as his parents. From the trailers, it looks like Cranston has a huge part, but he does not. Taylor-Johnson and Watanabe themselves spend a lot of time looking tense, hence making this film almost humorless.
The other thing that bugged me is Edwards' habit of cutting away from a scene just as Godzilla is about to kick ass. It happened at least three times and I wondered why. I get the idea of teasing the audience into wanting to see more of the monster by doing this, but he needs to pick his moments better. Like I said above, it worked in the first half, but after that it got a bit tiresome.
Borrowing a quote from a review I read, when it works, it works well. Godzilla has some of the epic feel a film of its ilk should have, but needs a better script to make it memorable. I still enjoyed it though. (3.5/5)