Last night I went to see Godzilla in all his glory at the London BFI IMAX in 3D – I will just say that if you haven’t seen a film in 3D at the IMAX – you must!

Godzilla is a film of two halves – one half is a disaster movie in the ilk of the Armageddon or 2012, and the other half is an outright, good ol’ fashioned, big monster film.

Of the disaster half, I will say it is done well – attention to detail, great CGI and special effect, panoramic shots designed to give the scale of damage are showcased to great effect, especially in 3D, especially in IMAX. The set pieces – specific bits of a disaster – were pretty well done. The cast too, main & support, suffer for their art in being rained on, covered in mud (or make-up) and still convey the range of emotions and angst that one associates with the kind of “extinction-level event” portrayed in this film.

As a monster film, I had mixed feelings: the Muto creature is done brilliantly – I really couldn’t fault it. The whole origin story and its raison d’etre…excellent. Godzilla himself, I was less convinced about. When he first appeared, I nearly laughed – there is still that element of a “man in a suit” in his build and the way he walks. Also, for the “alpha predator” that he is, he has an awfully small mouth relative to his head. But, by the end of the movie, I had taken a bit more of a shine to him.

In terms of the acting, key actors Ken Watanabe and Aaron Taylor-Johnson put in great turns as the main protagonists – I almost didn’t recognise Aaron from Kick-Ass – he looks physically bigger, and still affects a good American accent (for a Brit)! And a shout out should go to the ensemble of child actors, who all put in credible performances.

It’s worth noting that the plot-line, and its accompanying foundation story, is well written and plausible. We get a credible story on Godzilla and on the origins of Muto, a timeline covering several decades and roping in famous historical landmarks. Unfortunately, here is where the film falls down a bit. Godzilla has some less than stellar moments, and unfortunately these do detract from the enjoyment of the film. Examples include (and these aren’t spoilers):

  • having established that there are monsters just outside San Francisco that can level skyscrapers just by brushing past them, the authorities think nothing of evacuating children in school buses… across the Golden Gate bridge
  • having established that Aaron is in the middle of a quake zone in Tokyo, and having watched his wife reassure their son that he’ll make it out alive, Aaron is later unable to call her at home because… she has left her phone on silent (’cause you’d do that, right?)
  • having found a bomb big enough to do damage to the monsters, and establishing that these monsters are tearing up the landscape with their football field sized feet, the military decide to move the bomb… on the train, and yes, you guessed it – across a single track bridge over a deep ravine

But overall, despite these lazy plot mechanisms, the film is enjoyable, and if you like disaster films, or monster films – or both, then you can do a lot worse than check out Godzilla.

Oh, and look out for an Easter Egg in the scene where Aaron & his Dad visit their old house… there’s a good clue as to what monster may appear in the next film!


Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: SilverFox

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