JOE reviews Godzilla, the latest massive monster movie to hit multiplexes
Scared? Thought so. JOE’s been working on perfecting that roar since the release of one of the finest teaser trailers we’ve seen in manys a year. Check it out..
Of course, if you want to hear the roar as it should really sound, then wrap your ear-holes around this. Turn those speakers all the way up to 11 now, OK?
In case you hadn’t guessed yet, the most iconic movie monster of all time, Godzilla, is crash, bang and walloping his way into cinemas today (Friday 16 May) so prepare to have your socks – and pretty much the rest of your clothes too – well and truly blown off, especially if you head along to an IMAX screening as JOE luckily did.
First things first, there's no need to worry, because this latest incarnation is waaaaay better than Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla movie. That's right, that's the film where the movie monster ended up looking like Jay Leno pretending to be a killer chicken. Not a good look for you Mr. Godzilla...
The beast from below returns to the big screen to wreak all sorts of high-rise havoc and English director Gareth Edwards (AKA Steven Spielberg Jr.), following on from his super success with the low-budget 2010 film Monsters, has been tasked with taming the jumbo Japanese Godzilla.
“But how do you know that Godzilla is Japanese JOE?”
Well, dear reader, there are three tell-tale signs. We know that Godzilla is Japanese because 1) he loves sushi, 2) he drives a Toyota Corolla and 3) it says he’s Japanese on his birth certificate.
This latest reimagining of the massive movie monster (celebrating his 60th anniversary this year) features an all-star cast consisting of talented thesps such as Bryan 'Breaking Bad' Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen and David Strathairn. And what about those two lads in the big rubber Godzilla suit!? Impressive stuff from all concerned.
Cranston, in particular, is perfectly paranoid as Joe Brody, the (supposedly) crackpot conspiracy theorist who, at the opening of the film, is landed slap-bang in the middle of the awesome action as mysterious tremors threaten the safety of the Japanese power plant and city where he works and lives with his family.
Events, as expected when there happens to be a gargantuan monster in town, go pear-shaped quite quickly and, without giving away too much of the spoilerific plot, Edwards jumps forward fifteen years as we find Cranston now estranged from his family, including his now grown-up, soldier-boy son, Ford Brody.
Brody, unfortunately, is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. We say unfortunately because, here at JOE HQ, we’re not the biggest fans of the English actor and, one of the main reasons that we were looking forward to seeing Godzilla, was that we were genuinely very excited about the prospect of seeing the man getting stomped on and/or eaten by the film’s titular titan.
Is that evil of us? Yes. Do we care? No.
While Edwards (in true Spielbergian style) admirably places the Brody family’s heartfelt human story and journey at the centre of Mother Nature’s monstrous action, the fact that Taylor-Johnson is afforded so much screen time is an aspect that, for JOE at least, takes away from the viewing experience.
His bland, vacant performance disappointingly distracts throughout; how can he be so nonchalant in the face of danger? Where’s his sense of urgency? Why is he not frantically trying to phone home at every available opportunity? WHY ISN’T HE TERRIFIED OF THE GIANT FECKIN' MONSTER THAT'S DESTROYING ALL THAT STANDS BEFORE IT!? Baffling.
Ultimately though, that teeny-tiny rant aside, Edwards has delivered a mega-fun monster movie and, even with its plus-two hour running time, the film never feels like a cinematic slog, proving that this classic creature is still undoubtedly a terrifying force of nature – a bit like JOE after we've had our Friday night vindaloo special.
And although this sci-fi action epic maybe doesn't quite live up to the dizzy heights achieved by the terrific teaser trailers that preceded it, if it's a bombastic stomp and romp roar-fest you're after this weekend, then this is most certainly the film for you.
It's not an excellent monster movie, but it certainly is really, really, REALLY Goodzilla. Sorry about that.*
*No we're not.
Godzilla is in Irish cinemas now so run! Run for your lives!