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Godzilla back with a bang

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

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AFTER Independence Day director Roland Emmerich nearly killed off all hopes of making the Godzilla franchise a success in Hollywood with his god awful take on the Japanese giant, many thought the legendary monster would not appear on our screens again after the 1998 abomination.

Instead, like all things in the movie industry, time is a great healer and 2014 sees the return of the monster from the deep as the first shot fired in the summer blockbuster wars.

At the helm of this beast of a movie is Nuneaton born director Gareth Edwards in what is only his second feature film, after smash-hit debut Monsters.

Along with an interesting take on the creatures’s backstory, the director has assembled a great cast which includes Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen and pulled it altogether with a story that traverses the world.

After Emmerich made Godzilla into a T-Rex style creature of ridicule, Edwards has helped put it right back onto the top of the monster charts.

The story follows the world’s most famous monster as it is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten the entire world.

The first thing that struck me about Godzilla was how much it reminded me, in parts, of my favourite film of all time Jaws.

Unlike modern blockbusters, which seem to want to showcase all of the big reveals early on, Edwards makes the audience wait, wait and wait some more until they get a glimpse of what they paid to see.

The first sighting of Godzilla takes more than one hour and, just like Spielberg holding back seeing the shark in Jaws, it only increases the impact of the force when the creature finally finds smashes its way on to the screen.

This continues throughout the film as the director often cuts away when the action is reaching its peak, in a bid to throw greater emphasis on the human story of the film characters.

However, action fans will not walk away disappointed as, when the big battles commence, they are exceptional.

Some will like this and some will not but for me it worked really well and only increased the tension for everyone in the audience.

Anyone who saw Edward’s directorial debut, Monsters, will know that he made his name in visual effects, something that is evident in both of his films so far.

One scene that stands out is when soldiers jump into a battle zone from a plane, strafed by red flares. The scene is simply stunning and shows just how good this director can be.

In terms of the cast, Cranston is excellent in his role and shows just how far he has come from his early days as the dad in Malcolm in the Middle.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is serviceable as the main hero as his Elizabeth Olsen, who plays his wife.

The pair do a good job but nothing that makes waves and form what is probably the weakest part of the entire film.

The film offers up different take on Godzilla’a back story and has a story line that will keep viewers engaged throughout, apart from a section in the middle where it sags slightly.

When you look back at the horror show that was Emmerich’s Godzilla, the franchise looked like it had no future, at least in Hollywood, and certain to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

However, rookie director Edwards took on the job with great gusto and produced a great film that is not your everyday blockbuster, but still works and will thrill audiences.

Is it a classic? No. But what it does is try something different.

This could of finally killed off Godzilla.

Instead, it has breathed new life into the genre and I don’t think this will be the last that we see of the big beast.

3/5

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