Godzilla is the monster that just won’t stay dead, or at the very least, attempt to be killed.
I enjoyed Roland Emmerich’s 1998 take on the character, as an enjoyable piece of hokum, and while I still haven’t seen Gareth Edwards‘ low-budget Monsters, I knew it was well-received, so why not let him have a crack at the daddy of them all?
Godzilla 2014 begins with a mining accident in 1999, rather unfortunately timed given the catastrophe in Soma, Turkey, at a nuclear power plant in Japan where sciencey bloke Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is so affected by it that he becomes a recluse, checking sciencey readings every day until something sciencey happens that makes him believe that what happened that day is now happening again, 15 years on, and that there was a big cover-up as to the origin of the disruption.
So, was it a regular nuclear accident or was it Godzilla coming back to kick up a stink? Well, if it was the former then it’d be a short film.
So, after many trailers and oodles of hype, is this version any good? Not really.
The first two big battles featuring Godzilla take place off-camera, as they’re about to kick off when it cuts away, once to someone watching the event on the TV news (why, when we should’ve seen it all happening there?) and another time when people are trying to escape, and a door closes on the action. In fact, there’s something about these moments which I won’t reveal here as they weren’t featured in the trailer in that way – although while the ‘door closing’ moment *did* happen, the trailer just showed Godzilla simply bellowing, whereas in the film there’s a different situation going on at that time.
Okay, so Gareth Edwards is going for the ‘less is more’ approach until he unleashes the final battle when you begin to get your money’s worth, but everything that leads up to that moment is so few and far between that the majority of the film is a disappointment. Oh, and that final fight is mostly in darkness anyway so it feels like a lot of it is being obscured. Maybe it’s to hide the fact that it’s two men in rubber suits?
No, it’s not like that, really, as that was more Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, but the over-reliance on dark scenes does feel a bit like a cop-out.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this film.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.