Thursday, May 15, 2014
I got to virtually meet a fellow Philly film writer this week! Jeff Rollins of the awesome site Cut Print Film, their site design is so contemporary, it really make me want to redesign T&T. We got to talking and decided it would be cool to do a cross promotion of each others sites.
CPF did a fantastic job of promoting my Belle post and I'm super happy to post their Godzilla review! It's everything I wanted to say about the movie, yet now I don't have to write it:
By Chris Evangelista
Godzilla arrives with all the fanfare and hype possible for the King of the Monsters. Essentially a reboot rather than a remake of the 1954 original, Godzilla posits the gargantuan reptile as a force of nature–a destructive creature put in place to restore the balance of earth. Directed by Gareth Edwards, who previously made the indie film Monsters, which also dealt with giant monsters and the humans who have to interact with them, Godzilla borrows more from Spielberg than from its Toho roots. Like Spielberg with Jaws and Jurassic Park, Edwards uses a “less is more” approach for the first half of the film, teasing Godzilla until he can finally make a big entrance and get the audience cheering. This approach to the material should be commended; it would’ve been easy for Edwards to turn Godzilla into a Transformers-style mess, with endless scenes of destruction with no resonance. Edwards and screenwriter Max Borenstein instead build up Godzilla so much that when he finally does start stomping around, it’s magnificent and has an emotional impact.
The direction from Edwards is the second best thing about this movie (the first being Godzilla himself, who really is an incredible sight to behold). Edwards’ direction is steady and exciting. He sets up mammoth set pieces with great skill, and whips the audience into a near frenzy by withholding Godzilla’s full destructive power, to the point where when the giant monster starts roaring the audience is roaring along with him. Monsters aside, Edwards has filled the film with strong character actors—Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche—but the film doesn’t give them much to do. Cranston has some nice big emotional moments, but they are few and far between. And then there is our “lead” character, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Taylor-Johnson plays Ford Brody. Fifteen years ago, his mother was killed in a nuclear power plant accident, and his father (Cranston) has spent these years trying to prove it was not an accident at all, but rather that there was something more sinister involved. Ford doesn’t believe his father, until monsters start showing up, which is the ultimate “Told ya so!” for Cranston. Unfortunately for us, the viewing audience, Taylor-Johnson’s performance is terribly one note, and he’s not entirely to blame because the character is written so lifelessly. Ford is a complete blank of a character: he has no discernible traits or characteristics. He’s just a guy who happens to always be around when Godzilla and co. start wreaking havoc.
After the initial intro to our monsters, the film becomes a sort of travelogue, with Ford moving from Japan to Hawaii to California, and running into monsters every step of the way, all while maintaining the same bored expression on his face. Elizabeth Olsen plays Taylor-Johnson’s wife, and, while Olsen is no doubt a wonderful actress, her character has literally nothing to do in the movie except answer the phone or look worried...
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