Godzilla review: Far better than '98 version, this is worth a watch
The film is definitely very engaging, keeping you at the edge of your seat, biting your nails, wondering whether this is how it all ends.
Warning: This review contains some spoilers
The new Godzilla film is easily far better than its 1998 version by a mile. While the older one was long and boring, director Gareth Edwards has reworked the classic post World War monster into a more menacing but benevolent avatar in the new movie, keeping you thoroughly hooked throughout. We have here three monsters that wreck havoc across two cities on a colossal scale and Edwards does well to orchestrate this feat of epic proportions, each frame as stunning as the next.
The new Godzilla emerges as a result of a catastrophe at a nuclear power plant in Japan. Dependent on radioactive energy for their survival two more pre-modern creatures appear, all set to mate and reproduce. Bryan Cranston plays Joe Brody a nuclear scientist at the plant which was struck by disaster that claimed the life of his wife. While his son, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) manages to get past the horror of their past, Joe vows to prove that the devastation of the plant was not a natural disaster, and that its real cause had been covered up by the Japanese government. Turns out he is right, and we are introduced to a giant flying creature that has been feeding off the nuclear plant's energy for nearly a decade.
What follows is a kind of reunion of all things ancient and gigantic, fighting among each other, while human beings run about trying not to get squashed under their feet. The American military meanwhile, has plans to kill the monsters that feed on nuclear energy with..wait for it.... nuclear bombs.
The film is definitely very engaging, keeping you at the edge of your seat, biting your nails, wondering whether this is how it all ends. All our modern fears of tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and nuclear wipe outs are aroused, setting the tone for a truly scary film. However, whatever points the filmmaker gains for keeping you anxious and tensed, he loses for ridding Godzilla of its historical context.
The creature was created by the Japanese in the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as a metaphor for nuclear destruction. The new Godzilla film however, argues that the nuclear tests in the '50s were nothing but the world military's attempts to kill the monster under the sea. Additionally, the fact that Godzilla turns into a saviour of the human race, killing the two rogue MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects) didn't sit well with me either. Are we now saying that nuclear energy is good? Do we need more nukes to kill products of nuclear disasters?
The film, at the same time is treated quite unconventionally. Unlike its predecessor that introduced Godzilla to us within seconds, Edwards holds back on the monster show for as long as he can — a smart ploy given the audience's familiarity with Godzilla. Seamus McGarvey's cinematography is breathtaking, offering us some chilling shots particularly of the enormity of Godzilla in comparison with ant sized humans.
This is quite a neutered and non-political take on the Godzilla myth, but one that is a definite must watch, if only for some spectacular CGI and direction that will leave you with a violently pounding heart.
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