My Thoughts On… Godzilla

Just a reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to Why Should I See This Film? which is spoiler-free!

Synopsis

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

What I Liked

  • I’ve never seen as much as a minute of a Godzilla film before, neither the original Japanese films, nor the 1998 American film. As such, I don’t really know what it was that made me want to see the latest offering, but after hearing some good reviews, and knowing that it was directed by Gareth Edwards (without having seen Monsters at this point), I took myself along. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the opening sequence that ran behind the credits. At first it just seemed as though it was regular archive news footage, but then it became clear that it was doctored to include Godzilla, and gave the impression that all the time that we thought nuclear tests were being carried out, it was actually the monster emerging and feeding.
  • From most of the reviews and opinions that I have read about the film, it seems as though the major complaint is that there is an awful lot of time before you get to the monster. That’s true, to a certain extent, there’s certainly only glimpses for a good hour of the film, but I really liked it. It gave us time to get to know the characters, and character development is really important to me, even in a summer action blockbuster. Besides, I think the idea that we don’t get to see enough Godzilla is a bit over-egged. I think we get to see plenty of him, and the MUTOs, and the climactic battle is about as long as it needs to be.
  • I like Bryan Cranston, and I am perfectly happy watching Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but my favourite actor in Godzilla was Ken Watanabe. He’s one of those actors that I don’t think about an awful lot, because he’s not in that many films that I watch, but when I do see him, I remember how much I like him. He’s just great here as Dr Serizawa, bringing the conscience that the film needs in the face of so many American soldiers. He seems to be genuinely worried about Godzilla, and he’s the one that understands how Godzilla can be helpful, rather than just destructive. It helps that he’s pretty easy on the eyes, as well.
  • As I said, I hadn’t seen Monsters at this point, though I have heard Gareth Edwards speak on more than one occasion, and he seems like a very nice man (I’m pretty excited that he’s set to direct a Star Wars spin-off). Having since seen Monsters, and obviously having watched Godzilla, I can see what a talented director he is. He has a great eye for detail, and he constantly brings the viewer into the film through a great use of perspective. The monsters themselves are given a fantastic sense of scale, and while the film may seem to rely on coincidence from time to time, when you get shots like the stunning one of the soldiers freefalling out of the plane into the city, it really doesn’t matter all that much.

 

What I Didn’t Like

  • There are three main female characters in Godzilla: Juliet Binoche plays Sandra Brody, a worker at the nuclear power station in Japan at the start of the film, Elizabeth Olsen is the wife of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character, and Sally Hawkins plays Dr Vivienne Graham, who works with Ken Watanabe’s Dr Serizawa. None of them are given an awful lot to do, but Dr Graham has potential at the start of the film. She’s obviously an accomplished scientist who is integral to the work that Dr Serizawa does, but she just kind of disappears halfway through the film. Of course, the action sequences completely take over, and none of the characters except for Ford are really at the forefront, but I missed Sally Hawkins, because I like her.
  • Talking of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character, Ford Brody is a terrible name. It’s like someone went “I need an all-American sounding name now – GO!” and someone just shouted “Um, Ford Brody!” Seriously, it’s terrible.

 

Why Should I See This Film?

The best way to see this film is at the cinema, there’s no doubt about that. If you haven’t seen it, and it’s still lurking around on a screen near you, I’d hotfoot it to the cinema to catch it while you can. It’s a great action film, with characters you are actually encouraged to care about. I’ve never seen any Godzilla films before, but I’m lead to believe that this one has been made with deference to the old Japanese ones, and that fans are more than happy with this new addition to the franchise. Plus Ken Watanabe is just amazing (and really attractive).

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