Review: Godzilla (2014)

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©TM GZLA FINAL QUAD

The Pitch: The ever-so-slightly-less-jolly green giant.

The Review Extended Pitch: ROLL UP! ROLL UP! Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats for the ninth wonder of the world, behind the Pyramids, those other six that no one can ever remember and how Miley Cyrus manages to have a career! WITNESS the enormity of a fifty year old legend! Only realise if you’ve seen an infographic somewhere that he’s much, much bigger than any of his predecessors! DON’T let your memories of a wizened lizard with a ridiculous chin from the Nineties put you off; this monster is SERIOUS! As is every human being he comes into contact with! Be RELIEVED that Warners gave responsibility for this to someone who’d proven himself with a monster movie, rather than just the nearest hack looking to make a quick buck! MARVEL at just one summer blockbuster that isn’t reliant on a comic book character (apart from all the comic books featuring Godzilla, including the Marvel series from the Seventies).

BE ASTOUNDED by the simplicity and directness of the plot! WATCH as a scientist (Bryan Cranston) attempts to convince everyone he’s not crackers and that something otherworldly is about to throw the world into DANGER! SYMPATHISE with me as you realise that I normally write a whole paragraph on the plot, then realise that this might be quite a SHORT paragraph! Be RELIEVED as the plot starts in Japan, staying true to Godzilla’s roots! FEEL SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE as you realise the enormous parallels to a real life Japanese disaster, then become JUST SLIGHTLY MORE COMFORTABLE as you notice allusions to other major global catastrophes but realise it’s all being done reasonably tastefully for a disaster movie! Be THANKFUL that the plot aims for simplicity and realism, rather than the convolutions of some of its predecessors! Be AMAZED that such a simple plot (monsters fight each other, humans chase around after them to generally very little effect) still manages to generate so much interest and, just occasionally, TENSION!

Be EVEN MORE ASTOUNDED at the wonders of Incredibly Convenient Man! OBSERVE as Aaron Taylor-Johnson follows the path of Godzilla so closely ACROSS TWO CONTINENTS that the monster would be within his rights to file for a RESTRAINING ORDER if he wasn’t a monster and so unable to follow DUE LEGAL PROCESS! Become SLIGHTLY DISAPPOINTED that no-one else much has anything significant to do unless they’re a monster! Be GRATEFUL that the likes of Sally Hawkins and Elizabeth Olsen are willing to invest nothing roles with feeling and give them a lot more than they deserve! ENJOY Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche while they last, because they’re not exactly the leading roles you might have thought! WONDER just how Ken Watanabe seems to know exactly what Godzilla is thinking at any given point, and how the movie would have played out if he didn’t! (It’d probably be a LOT SHORTER!)

Be AMAZED at the monsters, who all seem to be invested with more character development than most of the humans! Be IN AWE of the images that Gareth Edwards has composed, including FANTASTIC scenery with lumps knocked out of it and STUNNING vistas such as a group of HALO parachute jumpers descending into the maelstrom created by the monsters! Be ASTOUNDED by the sheer scale and weight of Godzilla and the other monsters, and be ASTONISHED at just how epic Edwards makes the adventures of his monsters feel! THINK BACK to the likes of Jurassic Park or even Close Encounters, for Godzilla the film contains truly Spielbergian levels of wonderment, beauty and sheer scale. TRY NOT TO GET HUNG UP on the lack of real character development in the humans, consider this a monster story that just happens to have some people in, and you’ll truly get the most from this monster mash-up. Be, er, (gets out thesaurus) FLABBERGASTED that Godzilla succeeds where Pacific Rim fails, and makes a monster movie to truly care about, rather than just witnessing oversized reptiles and insects clobbering each other! RUN NOW to your nearest auditorium to WITNESS the SPECTACLE that is GODZILLA!!!

Why see it at the cinema: I don’t care how big your home cinema is, it’s never going to have quite the same impact as seeing this humongous beasts going at each other on the big screen. Immerse yourself for the best experience.

What about the rating? Rated 12A for moderate violence, threat. Is that moderate threat as well, you might be wondering? Thankfully the extended classification confirms that it is, although if 300 foot high monsters are a moderate threat, I’d hate to see what’s at the top of that scale.

My cinema experience: The second half of a late night double bill at the Cineworld in Bury St. Edmunds. With it being quite late on a Tuesday evening, consequently a pretty empty screening allowed me to sit pretty much where I wanted with my traditional cinema fallback of a bag of Revels and a large drink.

The Score: 9/10

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