GODZILLA | THE REVIEW

The much anticipated 29th (arguably) GODZILLA to hit the big screen has just roared into cinemas and Kernel Claire hit up the cinemas to suss the monstrous monster of movie madness, the tyrannical T-Trex of the theatre and to provide you, dear reader, with a Salty Popcorn look at this larger than life lugubrious large legged lethal lizard. GODZILLA is out now playing everywhere, has been released by ROADSHOW, is rated M and runs for 123mins. Enjoy Kernel Claire’s review.

 

GODZILLA 2014 MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
GODZILLA | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY CLAIRE SMITH

The classic monster franchise of the 1950’s is reimagined and comes roaring its way into ear-splitting sound and eye-lolling 3D.

Based in a small city in Japan, expat American engineer Joe Brody is troubled by the rhythmic, repeated seismograph readings that threaten his nuclear power plant.

After an inevitable disaster that acts as the catalyst for this 123minute flick, Joe sets out to prove that the seismographs he encountered on that fateful day were too structured to be of geological origin. Convinced there is a creature (or creatures) larger than any we have ever encountered behind the noises, Joe is adamant that the reported earthquake on that ill-fated day fifteen years ago wasn’t geological but was actually a communication between large and unknown terrestrial entities.

 

GODZILLA PACIFIC IMAGE
GODZILLA | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | GODZILLA PACIFIC NUCLEAR EXPLOSION

 

I’ll kick this review off by saying that you don’t go to see these kinds of movies for an in-depth view into the human psyche. Let’s be honest here, we’re paying the admission to see giant gorilla-whale-monster-things devastate city skylines and dish justice onto opposing forces. So with that said, Godzilla is some seriously fun (salty) popcorn viewing. It puts in a good effort at giving character arcs to the lead players but really, all things considered, you could eliminate the human element from this film entirely and the action would play out exactly the same.

Godzilla was originally designed as a metaphor for nuclear weapons. The King of Monsters first came to life on the sliver screen in 1954 when the catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still a recent memory for the Japanese citizens. So there are elements of recent worldwide tragedy which have been cleverly and lightly referenced in this recent reimagining of the pop culture icon. Tsunami-like images of beaches running dry before a giant whitewash of destruction sweeps through an island paradise, firemen searching through the heaped rubble of demolished buildings evoke memories of post 911 footage and flooded cities with cars and houses sweeping under bridges like rubber ducks in the bath are reminiscent of the tragic cctv footage from the recent Fukushima power plant disaster.

The big-guy himself has been blown-up to monstrous (pun-intended) proportions, at a weight of 90,000 tonnes and a height of a hundred and ten or so meters, this Godzilla towers over the relatively slight original monster who stood at about half that size.

 

GODZILLA Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson IMAGE
GODZILLA | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

 

The CG on this behemoth is really well done. Movements of the monsters are fluid and believable and are a cunning mashup of other known large scale creatures (apes, eagles, bears). Andy Serkis (LOTR Franchise, Planet of the Apes)- the worlds most employed creature consultant worked on bringing the movement of these creatures to life. They’re a glorious blend of recognisable and unknown animal parts which brings an un-nerving quality to the creatures.

Elements of the 3D were overlooked for the film though – Slime could have dripped into my cinemascopic glasses, spiked tails should have whooshed past my face and clawed lizard-feet should have threatened my very existence. But these opportunities were missed and the 3D effect seemed a little unnecessary. The sound, however is the real standout. Godzilla’s iconic and recognisable roar has been given a more earthy quality – think less “trumpet”, more “t-rex”.  Large scale speakers were used on the sound stage to blast the sound through the set and hear what the roar would be like when reverberating off real life buildings and structures.

The “whump whump” of thumping monster feet chugs through the cinema on subwoofer sets guaranteed to make even the most beefed-up saturday night fully-sick joyriders jealous. If the opportunity comes up to see this film in a cinema equipped with great sound, I would definitely pay a premium for that, leave the 3D glasses at home though – the 3D effects are underwhelming in comparison with the sound effects.

 

GODZILLA PARATROOPERS FREEFALLING IMAGE
GODZILLA | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | PARATROOPERS FREEFALLING

 

The big-name drawing the crowds to this film is Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle) – and as Zoolander Villain Mugatu would report “That Bryan Cranston, he’s so hot right now”. He’s the standout of the characters, for even a relatively small part of crazed engineer Joe Brody, he really throws his all into it. It’s a nice change to see him on the big-screen (even if it is with extra hair up top and less hair on top lip).

You’ll recognise his son Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as Kick-Ass all grown up. And oh boy did he grow up. He reportedly went through a mini military boot camp prior to this role so that he would look the part on screen – and it worked!  And mother Evelyn Brodie rounds out the cast with Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Dan in Real Life) putting in a heartfelt performance as wife and fellow nuclear power plant employee of Joe Brody (Working for the same corporation as your husband? Awkies.)

 

GODZILLA BRIDGE IMAGE
GODZILLA | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | GODZILLA DESTROYS A BRIDGE

 

Godzilla could have done with more suspense, the gloriously rotund face of the Lizard King was revealed a little too early, but he still has some super powers up his scaly sleeves to reveal during the ever-increasing battle scenes. A bit more teasing of his various bulky body parts being revealed one by one onscreen would have added more tension to the tale.

As I said, this film isn’t going to win a nobel prize for its efforts in examining war and peace in our nations but its a really fun film. A little on the long side but definitely one for the big-screen.

 

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

KERNEL ALISTAIR’S POP SCORE:

2 and a Half Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

2 and a Half Pops

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

Half Pops