Godzilla – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

godzillaGodzilla – 4.5/5 – Monster movies; always seem to be the hardest to create.  The reason I say it is hard because you have to find a balance between creating a decent story with the overall enjoyment of the ultimate conflict with the monster.  Most of the time, the film fails because they don’t develop anything within it’s simple scripts and leave all the reliance of direction on the over abundance use of action; creating the mind numbing feeling of ‘flash’ and ‘bang’  on screen.  What makes a great one is the buildup, teasing and layering of threat with characterization that leads to a showdown that comes off as ‘epic’ for all time.  Godzilla is that great film.  The God of monsters returns to the screen with a great triumph.  This is what a Monster film should be.

Premise:  A new threat has come to the modern.  As this threat rises, the world’s most famous monster must come from its slumber and battle against malevolent creatures; creatures that threaten the very existence of the whole world.

The strength of any film is its character, even within this fanatical genre.  The actors/actress must find a balance to provide a rod for their characters without taking the full focus on the Monster itself.  There has to be some kind of characterization.  Thankfully, we get that development in the following:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody

Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ichiro Serizawa

Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody

Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody

There are a few others that flesh out the rest of the cast, but the focus of the ‘stories’ center on these four.  These actors/actresses involved do a good job to entrench the audience into this world of ‘monsters’.  As you watch their lives and stories evolve, you feel the dire situations that wreck havoc on them.  With that feeling, you get a grip on the emotional buildup that happens for each character, as their lives become involved deeply with Godzilla.  This also helps provide a sense of realism within this ‘non fictitious’ world, believing that everything you are watching is possible.  The interactions between the characters do come off ‘melodramatic’ at times, but in the overall scheme; the steady pace and subtlety in their acting keeps you focused through the thick of it all.  Outside of these, the supporting cast are basic ‘disaster casualties’, no matter if it’s the civilians or the military personnel.  At times, the ‘one-dimensional’ ideals of these characters are very obvious, but it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the film.

The direction you find here is typical of a true monster flick.  In that, the film provides us a ‘doorway’ prologue into the world through its ‘human’ characters.  As you get a quick idea of how these specific humans are involved with Godzilla, the film then movies slowly in the first act; providing subtle buildup and teasing, helping you get a feel that there is going to be an ultimate showdown.   That startup helps providing a footing on what to expect for the rest of the film.  The generalization of this might make this seem like a dull film, but it isn’t.  This kind of focus is what helps this genre of films.  When you have a fictitious kind of premise, you need to do just enough to bring in the audience, and then hit it out of the ball park in the third act.  As to not give away all the details of the story, this will be a very short styled description of the next two acts.   In the next acts, you get a very short description of the ‘threats’ coming through Dr. Ichiro and the Brody’s, which eventually have to come to terms with being at fault for some of it.  After the quick description of Godzilla, the movie picks up its pace, setting up the collision course of the epic fight.  The story keeps along its ‘thin’ thread, as it gets stretched just enough to parlay between the ‘teasing’ of everything.  Once the film get’s to the third act; the ultimate buildup does pay off, and the fight is nothing short of amazing.  The fight also involves the main characters above, which helps add a significant impact on how dire this fight of Godzilla is to the rest of the citizens.  The human characters help provide a fragile aspect within the ultimate fight, helping create layers to the tone.  This helps provide a more emotional reaction to the fight, where as it could have just come off ‘exaggerated’ and ‘predictable’ (like Pacific Rim).  Once the ultimate showdown is over, the cliché ‘happily ever after’ epilogue does takes away from the impressive fight and buildup slightly, but it doesn’t completely hinder the overall enjoyment of what you just experienced.

The visuals of this film are quite possibly, a masterful achievement.  From the creation of the destructive environments and ‘sweeping’ camera angles, you feel the aesthetic appeal of everything on screen.   Along with this, the fights between Godzilla and the other monsters also adds to that feeling, as you see the rawness of the helplessness of everyone on the ground trying to avoid the ‘disasters’ happening.  The raw intensity of the scenes comes across very well.  What also comes across amazingly is the sheer size of Godzilla.  When he is on screen in all his glory, the CGI created character doesn’t seem unrealistic, and you believe Godzilla exist.  The score is another wonderful aspect of the film.  The music helps add to the whole ‘teasing’ affect, making you crave more and more until Godzilla ultimately shows up.  The blending of the music forms a ‘whole’ bond for the film, creating something that encapsulates a journey for what you’re experiencing.

Overall, Godzilla is what a Monster movie should be.  It provides enough human elements to bring you in, and gives enough ‘teasing’ and ‘buildup’ so when the ultimate fight happens, it doesn’t fail to disappoint.  If you’re looking for a really entertaining film, this is one for you.  It will not disappoint at all.

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