I don’t generally do monster movies. In fact I don’t generally do what the BBFC would deem ‘sustained threat and peril’. I blame watching slightly scary films on television with my Nannan, who would view them with the affect of a coiled spring. When anything happened to make you jump, she would grab the nearest person fiercely and yell loudly. Anticipating Nannan’s grabbing and yelling was actually more terrifying than the movies, but it was enough to put you off threat and peril for life.
Godzilla starts with a supposed mining disaster and an accident at a nuclear power plant. Or does it? There are monsters in the making, but no-one believes Bryan Cranston’s character until it’s too late. There was an element of “What Cranston Did Next” about his being in the movie. Post-Breaking Bad, a lot of the press I’ve seen relates to Cranston featuring in the film, which when you go to see it doesn’t actually make much sense. An effort to get the box set audience into the cinema perhaps. I liked his age-appropriate pairing with Juliette Binoche as a married couple and Aaron Taylor-Johnson has transformed himself yet again to be a bulked up Naval Lieutenant, so much so that my companion in the cinema didn’t recognise him. It’s a solid performance from Taylor-Johnson who gets the majority of screen time and just happens to be at the centre of most of the action. It must have been exhausting.
There is no doubt that the plot of this movie is clunky. You have to take a leap of faith at times to think that particular characters would be in that specific place at that time with those skills. The movie is also totally saturated with characters and new people are introduced constantly during the course of the film to provide much more clunk. But I forgive the awkwardness because the monster sequences are just so fantastic. Godzilla himself is testament to the pre-production detail that went in to the creation. The sound design for his roar alone took 6 months. When they tested it on the Warner Bros lot, it was estimated it could be heard 3 miles away. Burbank must have thought it was under attack. They really did create a monster.
Whilst the film for me didn’t quite work, I loved the monster battles, big city scape disaster zones and amazing effects. Please be warned. There is a great deal of sustained threat and peril. My Nannan would have hated it.