Godzilla (2014)

Director: Gareth Edwards (2014)
Starring: Godzilla, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston
Find it: IMDB

Thankfully, Matthew Broderick takes the day off for this Bueller-free reboot of the giant lizard creature feature. You can see the studio hive mind at work in everything about Godzilla 2014 - a film which very noticeably does everything it can to distance itself from its notoriously shitty predecessor. Respected genre director Garth Edwards (of not-bad found footage Monsters acclaim) takes the helm, being about as far away from Roland Emmerich as one could get (short of hiring, say, Lars von Trier instead). In place of Broderick, they've gone with an actual good actor instead, and brought in Brian Cranston - because you don't get much more respectable than Breaking Bad these days.

Surprisingly, they didn't go with Aaron Paul as Cranston's onscreen son (Godzilla, bitch!), instead opting for Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the hero. Kick-ass? Sadly not. Alas, he's the film's weakest link, sticking out like a sore thumb among the likes of Cranston, Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen. Still, it's not as though Cranston is firing on full cylinders here either; continuing to disappoint in roles that aren't Walter White or Malcolm in the Middle's dad. The fact is, the actors and actresses are just set dressing, biding time until Godzilla and friends turn up.

Which they do, in a surprisingly convoluted manner. Eschewing 1998's simple Godzilla-on-the-rampage story, Edwards's version seems more inspired by Pacific Rim and older, traditional Godzilla movies - instead pitting 'zilla against a species of other giant monsters. Some will be disappointed by the film's lack of destruction and Godzilla trashing shit, but for everyone else, there's a genuinely interesting story and plenty of beast-on-beast action.

What's really surprising is that Godzilla isn't ashamed of its own B-Movie ancestry. I had assumed that this reboot would be the sort of film that never namedrops its own star ("the 'S' stands for hope") and instead strives for gritty post-Nolan realism in everything it does. Thankfully, this isn't the case (evidenced in its fun opening credits sequence) and Godzilla proves to be every bit as daft as it should be. If anything, Ken Watanabe says "Godzilla" too much for his own good.


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