Godzilla (12A)

Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn

Spectacular monster movie from Gareth Edwards, whose low budget movie, 'Monsters' a few years was his calling card for Hollywood. Here, Brian Cranston's scientist is our way in, as a nuclear power plant in Japan is suddenly beset by unexplained power surges. After tragedy strikes, we skip on 15 years to Cranston's now grown up son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) a disappointingly bland screen presence. The bad guys are mega-monsters that are one part Giger's Alien, one part War of the World's tripod monsters with a dash of Cylon around the eyes. They wreack havoc across the US - most entertainingly, ripping holes in Las Vegas! All this leads to a huge showdown in San Francisco that flattens pretty much everything in sight!
This is one of those films you really should see on a huge screen with a yelping audience. The scale of the CGI is epic, even though we expect that these days.


However, the decision to kill off Bryan Cranston's Dr Brody after 45mins or so was not a good idea in my opinion. Cranston is always watchable, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson proves Brits can be dull square-jawed all-American types too! Talented actors like Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Elizabeth Olsen are badly under utilized, but somehow this film works! We've become so used to the Marvel/DC template for big budget action films yet Gareth Edwards manages to keep things fresh and fun. Virtually wisecrack-free and if there was a post-credits sting, I didn't catch it. Godzilla is a very entertaining popcorn movie.

[EDITED TO ADD: Watching this on the small screen was a MUCH less involving experience! I'd probably downgrade it to 6 out of 10 as the plot holes and weak characterisation are less disguised by spectacle.]

May 2014

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