Still undisputed king of the monsters.
I had no real expectations of the new Godzilla outside of hoping it would be better than the 1998 abomination with Mathew Broderick. Couple my reluctance further with all the reviews I’ve been reading about how terrible the human element was in this newer version and that brought my expectations even lower. Sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.
For the life of me I cannot understand what everyone is complaining about…I love the slow reveal to actually seeing the monster (it takes almost an hour!) and the human element here. It’s a breath of fresh air in what could have easily been a monster movie that goes straight for the action like Pacific Rim. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pacific Rim, it’s a big, dumb, monster movie done right. But with Godzilla, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) is going for so much more than cheap thrills and standard popcorn fare. He’s building tension. And he does so by throwing us directly into the shoes of a soldier, a scientist, a mother…hell, even a brave bus driver. By giving us the viewpoints of all these different characters you almost become them and can feel their fear as giant 500ft tall monsters destroy the world around them, it’s horrifying.
Monsters tearing apart cities full of people shouldn’t be fun and that is exactly how it is portrayed here. That’s not to say the monster action once it’s in full gear isn’t an absolute blast to watch, because it totally is. But you’re constantly reminded of the devastation and death that is happening as a result of it. The sense of scale that is presented here is astonishing, there are some marvelous shots in this film and nothing thrilled me more than being given the time to take it all in. There are NO quick cut action edits here. NONE. The action is deliberate and beautifully filmed, letting your eyes marvel at every bit of detail in the monsters as they crash through buildings as if they were paper. It’s such a treat to go see an action film these days that doesn’t utilize cheap editing tricks to try and show you “action”, but instead takes the time to choreograph and film it properly.
For anyone who is expecting none stop Pacific Rim style monster fights, you’re in for a serious disappointment…but for anyone who enjoys a slow burn, then you will be doubly rewarded by both the story as it unfolds and the grand finale battle royale.
All in all, Godzilla is a tense, wonderfully crafted summer action film, that has a lot more going for it than monsters with atomic breath.
-Sock Talk Jon-