Godzilla is back!
By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)
This is it. This is the film that I’ve been waiting to see all year — the one I’ve put my hopes and dreams into in the belief that I would walk into the theater with a smile on my face. If history is any indication then the previous American Godzilla film should have taught me that I shouldn’t expect so much from a film, especially one with the King of Monsters as it’s star in an American reboot… and yet I still went in with the highest of expectations.
I guess some people never learn and I’m one of them. In this case, my expectations were not only met, they were surpassed. I walked out of the movie theater with a grin plastered to my face.
Director Gareth Edwards has done something I thought might be impossible, he created a Godzilla movie that was as deadly serious as the original, married it to the ‘Godzilla beats the crap out of another monster’ concept from all of the sequels and kept the b-movie charm. That’s great and all but the key is that he really made this film feel like the first 1954 Godzilla movie — the tone was spot on.
Visually, they really captured Godzilla as he should be. Not only is he instantly recognizable, but you feel the weight of the kaiju in every scene — he is massive and you have no problems believing he can easily level a city. Edwards shot almost the entire film looking up at Godzilla from a street level, and you almost never get a chance to see him fully as if he’s too large for the screen.
Speaking of the visuals, I am not a fan of 3D for a variety of reasons, but predominantly because it reduces the brightness of the film by 50%. Even Godzilla cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers) doesn’t like 3D, or working with 3D equipment, and shot the film with 2D ARRI ALEXA cameras, with 3D added in post. So understand that when I say the following, I mean it:
You owe it to yourself to watch this in 3D.
The film is still dark like all 3D films, but Edwards and McGarvey’s framing really made the film pop in a way that I haven’t seen since Avatar. I keep thinking studios use 3D as a gimmick to bump up ticket prices, but every so often a film really deserves this kind of treatment.
Bryan Cranston does what he does very well in this film and is one of the few actors who can do hysteria perfectly, while Ken Watanabe brings an almost zen-like nature to his role. For the most part, the actors in the film are our eyes and ears into the world of giant monsters fighting so while their story isn’t too engrossing, it doesn’t need to be.
Finally, there’s a sequence early in the film where a naval battle group is, for all intents and purposes escorting, Godzilla across the pacific ocean. I got goosebumps just watching that shot from above — Edwards understands that Godzilla is something out of our control, he’s a force of nature and not to be trifled with. We can either work with him or stay the hell out of his way and that shot really sells the whole movie in my opinion. Godzilla is not here for us, he’s here to do his job and we should just stay out of his way and watch the King of Monsters work.
Let them fight.
Godzilla gets four out of five stars from me.