No high-falootin' snobbery here: critics chew over the super-slick monster blockbuster.
It's going to be a big weekend for Godzilla: the monster action reboot has been teasing its entrance for months with irresistibly gloomy and stylised posters and trailers, whetting our appetite for an early summer movie with brains and bite. If that wasn't enough, the film has been earned a strong base of enthusiastic (but realistic) reviews that are sure to convince the more reluctant moviegoer that Gareth Edwards retake of the well-trodden tale is worth parting with cash for.
Still burned by the memory of Roland Emmerich's 1998 disaster of a disaster movie, many fans and critics didn't have particularly high hopes for a reboot even 15 years later. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson take centre stage as father-son duo Joe and Ford Brody who find themselves up against not Godzilla but some weird spider-dino hybrids called MUTO in this super smashy-smashy flick.
Rolling Stone focusses on the cinematography and digital effects as the pivot of Peter Travers' praise, stating emphatically "Godzilla, best seen in 3D IMAX to revel in his textured scales, his heaving gills, his deafening digital roar, is a rock star, the effing real deal in FX monster cool." However, when it comes to plotline, the film gets an angry stamp of "topheavy."
"It would take an insomniac to wade through all these plot complications without dozing" despite a "top-tier cast," the critic elaborates. He rounds off with "Nothing equals the original film's use of 'Zilla as a symbol of the Atomic Age," referencing the original Japanese cautionary tale against nuclear weapons.
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw similarly looks for deeper meaning in Edwards' movie, stating exasperatedly "the anti-nuclear satire of the original Japanese movie has been insidiously softened. In this film, it's not at all clear that nuclear power is really to blame for the terrifying eruption."
Contact Music's very own Rich Cline is eager to rate the film highly, balancing praise with criticism of niggling flaws. "Taylor-Johnson is fine as the bland but muscled everyman at the centre, but Cranston steals the film with a far more textured role," he says, then "There are some contrived plot points and the pacing drags badly in the middle, but the film is livened up by witty directing touches that include references to all kinds of genre films, plus Alexandre Desplat's superb monster-movie score."
Betsy Sharkey from the LA Times describes the titular monster as "one very cool dude," adding "He's a 21st century Godzilla, eco-conscious and with 3-D side effects that are monstrous in all the right ways. "This big, lumbering movie could have used more [...] Godzilla without question, and more emotional content for its very good cast too," she continues.
As has been alluded to by several critics, the lengthy amount of time that it takes for the audience to get the Godzilla money-shot is hard to ignore. "By the time Godzilla emerges in all his gory glory, you may feel more taunted than teased," the reviewer warns.
The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan regrets the tragic underuse of the A-list cast but casts his lamentations aside when he catches sight of Edwards' deadly new creation, the MUTOs. "The MUTOs alone are worth the price of admission," he says. "They're nasty, hard to kill and extremely destructive. The film boasts handsome CGI animation, not just in the creature department, but also in the plentiful scenes of mayhem, which involve train derailments, collapsing cranes and cooling towers, as well as picturesque havoc on the Golden Gate Bridge.
"This Godzilla is ready for his close-up, and he looks pretty great in Imax 3-D," the critic declares.
Godzilla is out now in the UK and USA.
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