Godzilla review: Po-faced remake exploits all the fresh disasters it can think of
(12A). Dir. Gareth Edwards; Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, 123mins. 2 Stars
Friday 16 May 2014
The Toho studio's 1954 smash hit Godzilla showed a nuclear-radiated dino-monster wreaking destruction on a nation for which nuclear destruction was still a fresh horror.
Between that and Roland Emmerich's 1998 version of the story, the monster rather lost some of its symbolic potency, but now this po-faced big-budget remake seems intent on exploiting all of the fresh disasters it can think of.
It begins with a Fukushima-style nuclear power plant meltdown. There are earthquakes and a tsunami. Planes fly into the sides of buildings and, of course, skyscrapers crumble to the ground.
Gareth Edwards, the British director of the low-budget special-effects wonder Monsters, is very good at digitally recreating the kind of sights we're accustomed to seeing on the news: the bustle of FEMA emergency relief centres and the eerie lifelessness of evacuated radiation zones, as well as the spectacle of destruction itself. But to what end?
The only interesting characters are killed off in the first half hour, after which the human focus narrows to Aaron Taylor-Johnson's exceedingly dull bomb-disposal expert: basically, a furrowed brow in a uniform.
All human suffering is reduced to a statistic glimpsed in passing on a TV screen, while all human agency, which is kind of important in narrative cinema, is reduced to the situation room in which a Japanese scientist and a US general explain small chunks of plot to each other.
Exceedingly dull: Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays a bomb-disposal expert in the film (Warner Bros Pictures) The monsters, it must be said, are awesome. But they have tiny pre-mammalian brains and only the most basic, instinctive motivations. So when they are your film's most interesting characters, even the most spectacle-hungry viewer is going to get bored.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 2 Pictures show young Palestinian girl biting Israeli soldier trying to detain boy during West Bank protests
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 The 20 toughest job interview questions in the world
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Celebrity Big Brother 2015 line-up: The complete list of this year's contestants revealed
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet: Technician quits after social media row with actor's fans
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'