Were you one of those kids who wasted their youth watching “Creature Double Feature” smackdowns between Godzilla and his arsenal of enemy combatants such as Mothra and Ghidorah?
There was something about seeing these behemoths stomp Tokyo to dust, it was absolutely hilarious. The primal doomsday terror of a beast created by A-bomb radiation, the model-shop ingenuity, the laughable man-in-a-rubber-suit.
It’s been sixteen years since Hollywood nearly soured that love affair, thanks to Roland Emmerich’s 1998 atrocity. It was hopeful that the splashy new 3-D reboot might rekindle that old flame.
Oddly, Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” feels like both movies Scotch-taped together. In one, Bryan Cranston plays a nuclear engineer who has a tragic past and racing to expose the truth about a series of seismic anomalies.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Cranston’s estranged soldier son, and Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins are a pair of exposition-spouting scientists trying not to laugh while talking about electromagnetic pulses and mankind’s hubris.
In the other, mammoth CG beasts knocks the crap out of one another. Only one of these movies is any good. Thankfully, the monster one takes the cake.
Edwards, whose only previous film was 2010’s low-budget “Monsters,” has been given a quick call-up to the majors with the reported $160M “Godzilla.” He doesn’t seem too interested in the actors.
They’re more vicious than their reptilian co-stars and you don’t care about a single one of them and Edwards does know how to fashion some serious monster mayhem.
Taking a snippet from “Jaws,” he wisely delays Godzilla’s appearance, building suspense. In movies like these, it’s all about the slow tease and then the final reveal. As an appetizer, though, he gives us a pair of ”MUTOs” (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms) — a male and female pair of giant, Giger-esque creatures with sleek pincer jaws that resemble humongous staple removers.
The MUTOs, who arrive on the scene after leveling a Japanese nuclear reactor, care about two things: feeding on the radiation that created them and mating with each other in San Francisco, of all places.
When Godzilla first lumbers on screen to hunt for the MUTOs and ”restore balance,” he feels both nostalgically familiar and new.
As big as a Sheraton and with a shriek that would rumble your core, he appears muscular and meaner than you remember. But looks are deceiving.
Godzilla is humanity’s only hope for destroying the MUTOs, or as Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa says, ”Let them fight!” And fight they do, in a mighty clash that turns the Bay Area to scraps.
Unlike last year’s disappointing Pacific Rim, Godzilla really shows us it’s monsters without a scrim of rain and a cloak of darkness.
The excitement of the film is getting the chance to remake their sheer size and physicality as they rip through power lines and demolish buildings with their lashing tails. In its handful of moments like these, “Godzilla” almost makes you feel like a kid once again!
(review source: CNN)
GODZILLA Is Back!