Yes people, it's here.... Godzilla, and I have seen it in all of its 3D glory.
Ok, so technically not a 'horror' review, but when I was growing up Godzilla was in the same league so I'm doing this anyway and rightly so as this film made me feel like I was experiencing a second childhood.
I was somewhat surprised initially at the sheer amount of time setting up the whole scenario. It starts out rather basic, and introduces a 'human interest' angle which has very little to do with anything 'monsterish', and then gathers pace gently. I'm not the most patient of cinemagoers, but resisted the urge to yell "Get with the monster already". I'm proud of myself for that, and my guess is that the lengthy set-up does something to make us care about the characters just a little more than we would have in previous versions.
Having established several of the important characters and a straight-forward enough explanation of the origin of Godzilla (Clues are in the opening credits too) we are left watching a monster encased in rock or lava or some such substance. It is being carefully monitored, but we all know that it's not going to be monitored much longer or there wouldn't be much of a movie. Godzilla takes a while to get to the money shots, but when it does we are not left wanting. For the benefit of the public here's an image of our creature from the Legendary Pictures movie poster promoting the 3D version.
What followed was the usual expectation, as the beast gets free and the fun begins.
Unlike the rather disappointing previous incarnation of Godzilla this film actually has a fairly well thought out plot that isn't pedestrian or clearly aimed at children. This version reminded me very much of the essence of the original Toho movies in that it's a huge creature fighting other huge creatures (and assorted Military types) against a backdrop of absolute devastation. Ok, the Broderick version had something similar, but handled in a very shiny and tongue-in-cheek junior marketing way in which every scene was a marvel of product placement. This version has teeth. Think 'Cloverfield' without the amateur acting and nauseating camerawork.
I'm trying very hard to explain what is so good about it without citing exact examples and thereby giving spoilers away, but it's 'Godzilla', so it's not as if you don't know what to expect from it. It's very much a film with a little of something for the whole audience. There's a very high geek factor with nods to the originals and above average acting from all concerned. Especially notable is Bryan Cranston, who is fast becoming 'He who can do no wrong'.
The characterization is fine, nothing exceptional, but in as much as it adds to the plot it doesn't detract from it massively. Sure there are the usual stereotypes, but they are all well-handled and none of them stick out as particularly poor. The casting is fine, and the main hero of the film Aaron Taylor-Johnson does a great job of casting off his 'Kick Ass' costume, losing the curls and getting into an action-man role. So if you see it and wonder "Where have I seen that guy before?" now you know how different people look with a Military crop. The boy does good throughout, showing that he has enough acting chops to hold your attention when there's a 300ft monster smashing its way through the city.
One small niggle, it's the whole 'strange attraction' wrong-place-wrong-time thing where he just so happens to be exactly where the action is when it is happening over various locations, it kind of made me wonder if Godzilla was fitted with homing devices. Like I said, small niggle.
A note about the 3D. I love 3D, I have a large collection of 3D films, and have been a fan of anything and everything stereoscopic since childhood, so to get the chance to see Godzilla in glorious 3D was something not to be missed. I went, I saw, it conquered. The 3D was gobsmackingly great, used to full effect without being obvious. There are some films, far too many in fact, in which the sole purpose of the 3D is to show how clever it is and it gets gimmicky (James Cameron take note), but in Godzilla the 3D is just natural, totally clear, beautifully done. I couldn't fault it at all, and I also can't imagine watching Godzilla in 2D at any time now.
I'm done with this review, I know it's not seriously in-depth, but rather more of a nod toward saying that if you are wondering what to watch for some fun entertainment go rent or buy it, as it is family friendly, nerdily nostalgic and has enough of all of the right things to allow you to feel good about having seen it.
Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sally Hawkins star in this science fiction reimagining of the 1954 Japanese film about the destruction caused by a giant monster. When a devastating event is covered up as a natural disaster, nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Cranston) realises something much more sinister is to blame. Scientists Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Hawkins) reveal that in 1954 a powerful monster was awakened and though 'nuclear tests' were carried out in the Pacific Ocean to destroy it, the creature has now returned. With the US Armed Forces, including Joe's son Navy Lieutenant Ford Brody (Taylor-Johnson), called into action, humanity fights for its survival. The cast also includes Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn.