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This review is from: Godzilla [DVD]  (DVD)
Godzilla is a 2014 American science fiction monster film directed by Gareth Edwards. The film is the second attempt at a Hollywood reboot of the Godzilla film franchise, following the disastrous attempt by Roland Emmerich in 1998. The film stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston, alongside Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn.
Mostly identifiable from his successful low budget film ‘Monsters’, Edwards attempts to take some of the concentrated interior conflicts from the characters in this previous film, and apply them to this film, set to the backdrop of the destruction of America at the hands of the King of the Monsters. Whilst an initial lengthy and thorough exploration into the characters themselves does provide the basis for the following chaos and destruction to have some substance behind it, it results in an opening act which feels sluggish. Additionally, whether it is through his roaring screech or enormous shadow, Godzilla is consistently teased to the audience in an attempt to increase anticipation for his first appearance. The persistent and over-implementation of this technique however simply builds frustration rather than excitement.
Nevertheless, Godzilla’s initial appearance is undoubtedly powerful. Never has his vast scaly body looked so beautiful, and never has his ear-piercing roar sounded so authentic and frightening. The CGI as a matter of fact is almost faultlessly immersive throughout the entirety of the film, as is the sound design and hypnotic soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat. Greatly to the director’s credit, the film from this point does manage to maintain a feeling of panic and horror, and does manage to hit many of the emotional beats that felt lacking during the film’s first half.
Fascinatingly, this is both the film’s greatest asset yet also its biggest hindrance. The film excels so marvelously in its final acts that it leaves its opening feeling dry and even somewhat mechanical. All things considered, the film is clearly a mixed-bag, but a worthwhile watch nonetheless.