Saturday, May 17, 2014

'Godzilla' review: Return of The King

Ready for his closeup.
This is how you make a monster movie.

The new "Godzilla" is a throwback - and in more ways than one. Just like a onetime popular movie star who resurrects a career, the King of the Monsters makes a triumphant return in the new Gareth Edwards-directed flick. Together, they put all of the pretenders - are you listening, Michael Bay? Of course you're not. You've never heard of this blog - to shame. Not to mention the imagination-starved minds behind "Pacific Dumb."
The plot is simple. Human arrogance leads to a pair of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) unleashing death and destruction on both Japan and the United States. Even worse, the monsters plan to reproduce.

To the rescue of humanity comes Godzilla. What's his motivation? Well, as scientist Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) explains, the prehistoric protagonist seeks to "restore balance." In other words, if you're looking for deeper meaning, the monster known in Japan as Gojira must teach humankind a thing or two about messing with Mother Nature (nuclear power, global warming - take your pick).

Director Edwards wisely keeps the star off-screen for the early part of the movie. We catch glimpses - a tail here, a flash of scaly hide there, etc. - as the MUTOS flex their muscles while laying waste to whatever stands in their way.

The human actors are mostly props. There's the reluctant hero, Lt. Ford Brody, portrayed with adequate concern by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Similarly, Elizabeth Olsen fulfills her purpose as Brody's wife, alternating between looking cute and frightened. 

When Godzilla does take center stage for the climactic battle, he and the MUTOs impressively take down much of CGI San Francisco with them as the U.S. military plans to deploy a nuclear bomb (what else?) to dispatch all three monsters.

Will Godzilla rescue humankind from its own (literal and symbolic) devices? Sorry, no spoilers here.

Long Live The King.

1 comment:

  1. Truly one of the best monster movies in a long, long time. Hope the sequel is as well done as this movie.