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
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.
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke