Godzilla (2014) - Gareth Edwards
Everyone's favorite reptilian movie monster is back in Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. In this version we follow nuclear physicist Joe Brody who struggles with the death of his wife after a earthquake causes a nuclear accident at the plant they both work. Growing obsessed in the years after the incident, Joe believes the government was covering something up. Joe's son, Ford, believes he is insane, simply destroyed by grief, but he agrees to help his father discover the truth, which leads them coming face to face with Godzilla. Edward's version of Godzilla is much more a throwback to the 60s and 70s horror films where less is more. In the age of social media and instant gratification many are sure to find this film tepid, but it's the slow build up of tension and looming danger that helps Godzilla succeed. The film's action set pieces are artistically realized with Godzilla taking on a mystical, godly form as he seems to disappear and reappear at will among the rubble and dust. The creature design and cinematography have a vérité sensibility, effectively putting the viewer right into the middle of this haunting experience. Thematically, the film is about how little control humanity has in the world around them. Godzilla is a force of nature that is beyond our control and I loved how small and insignificant the armed forces and humanity as a whole felt in this film. Even with all the positives mentioned above, Godzilla was quite a let down because of the terrible human characters, outside of a few. The main narrative revolves around Ford trying to get back to his wife and son but the whole storyline is contrived and superfluous. Elizabeth Olsen is a completely one-dimensional character who is only used as a POV opportunity, being on ground zero of the attack. I simply had trouble caring at all about the human characters and their story of adversity, human courage and reconciliation. Gareth Edwards Godzilla creates a haunting and terrifying world where mankind has little to say about its future but unfortunately the film suffers from cardboard characters who bring little reason to care.
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