Gareth Edwards 'Godzilla' is mainly about point-of-view and perspective. As a viewer you feel like a tiny helpless human in front of the massive effrontery unleashed by the gigantic creatures rampaging through concrete forests leaving earthquake style havoc, death and catastrophe in their wake. Edwards' narrative takes its cue from the original Godzilla movie from 1954 which shows the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings, and the subsequent devastation that followed.
Needless to say, Godzilla-the primordial monster is re-awakened from it's death-like slumber by radioactivity left in the wake of the bombings. The tracking shot swoops past bloodied patients, camcorded with an immediacy that makes everything look and seem in your face. The helpless American soldiers trying their best to contain the fall-out of the rampaging beasts and eventually allowing for them to climax into a fight against each other, look out-of-sorts and they well should be- considering their arsenal, which when pitted against these humongous indefatigable monsters who survive on radioactivity and have little or no reaction to conventional weaponry, look like pointed darts that can barely make a dent on a cardboard, leave alone, a colossus.
The narrative jumps through several decades in the telling, taking logical leaps through time while focusing on a family devastated by a horrendous loss. The exposition here is first rate. It's only mid-way through the development that you get you first few glimpses of Godzilla. Before that there are two other surprises, equally ferocious and devastating in purpose.
The composition is a mix of epic horror elements, good vs evil parable and evocative flashes into past monster histories, lending strong tension and great stereophonics to the engagement. It's a gradual unveiling of the monstrous, as the narrative tracks the family through two generations of valor against all odds affect.
Bryan Cranston and Julietter Binoche play the Brodys, the loving couple with a young son, who are tracking nuclear activity in Janjira, Japan. Tragedy strikes on the Dad's birthday when Mrs Brody ends up fried by sudden unexpected nuclear devastation. Several decades later, The son ( Aaron Taylor Johnson) , now all grown and a parent himself with doctor wife (Elisabeth Oksen), finds himself having to go back to Janjira, to rescue his father , caught trespassing in his old hunting ground. And from thereon he has to face up to unforeseen challenges thrown up by the attack of the monsters.
The visuals are sized-up beautifully, there's little room for any doubts about your own painful vulnerability in front of these humungous creatures. The helplessness is richly felt and fear is intertwined into the omnipotent engagement.
It's not about regular human drama. Here the picture is vividly magnified the scaling is mounted to give maximum effect. The humans are but midgets and have little role to play in the restoring of order to the ecosystem ravaged by multitudinal greed. But the film is not all death and devastation. Edwards guides the camera through surreal intervals before unleashing his FX enabled havoc. The animatronix and the digi-effects skill on display here is highly impressive. It's an experience and the actors are just minor players in this effects carnival!
reviewed in Imax 3D