|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Genre:||Adventure, Fantasy, Action|
|Production country:||USA 2013|
|Running time:||Approx. 123 min.|
|Rated:||From 12 years|
One of the most famous monsters in movie history is back! In 28 Japanese movies Godzilla has caused fear and terror so far. In 1998 Roland Emmerich had already tried to make the Japanese cult monster internationally presentable. Although his film was commercially successful, it was a complete failure with critics and especially with Godzilla fans. Now Gareth Edwards is making a second attempt at a worldwide Godzilla blockbuster. And though his film will run counter to some viewers' expectations, his attempt is more than successful.
In an accident at a Japanese nuclear power plant, physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife (Juliette Binoche). While the authorities declare the accident a natural disaster, Joe is convinced that something else is behind it altogether, something the government is determined to keep hidden at all costs. In the following fourteen years Joe tries obsessively to bring the truth to light. But not even his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) wants to believe him. He has started a family of his own with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and wants to put the past behind him once and for all. But then it turns out that Joe was right all along. On the supposedly radioactive site of the power plant destroyed years ago, a monster comes to life against which even the strongest weapons of man seem to be powerless. But there is something that could kill this creature. Something great and powerful that has long slumbered unnoticed in the depths of the sea - Godzilla!
Gareth Edwards, with his feature debut Monsters, has created what is probably the most unusual monster-alien film in recent years. Because in these days of mega-blockbusters that primarily splurge on expensive special effects, he simply refrained from showing the titular monsters for long stretches. Actually only in the final sequence viewers got to see the giant creatures from another world. If you are hoping that Edwards will make up in Godzilla for everything he didn't show in Monsters, maybe because of budget reasons, you will be disappointed. Because despite some really spectacular scenes, this movie is no special effects overkill either. Godzilla is only seen for a few minutes and most of that time he is largely obscured by dust. Now that may sound rather off-putting. But even though a bit more Godzilla in a movie bearing his name would have been nice, it must also be admitted that just by barely seeing him, the scenes in which he appears in full size are extremely effective.
Muto, the other monster of the movie, is seen much more often in full beauty, but even until his first appearance it takes over 45 minutes. So if you're expecting a pure monster movie, you'll be bitterly disappointed for long stretches. Because just like in Monsters, the humans are in the center of the action in Godzilla. The family story Edwards tells isn't exactly new and also has some very worn out clichés to offer. But apart from a few little hangs, he succeeded in making a dramaturgically exciting film, in which emotional moments are just as important as big effect scenes. Even if Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Ken Watanabe do not deliver Oscar-worthy performances, their acting is truly pure gold compared to other genre works and especially to Emmerich's Godzilla.
In the last third, the action really gets going. Here, Oscar-winning effects specialist Jim Rygiel (Lord of the Rings trilogy) and his team have done a truly outstanding job. Because even though the design of Godzilla is rather traditional, nothing reminds us of the amusing man-in-a-rubber-suit look of the old flicks. Supported by a gritty, gripping underlying atmosphere, the monstrous fight sequences are truly a feast for the eyes, and one sequence in particular, where Godzilla gets to use a very special skill, truly leaves a lasting impression.
Gareth Edwards proves with his second monster movie that great event cinema does not necessarily have to be dominated by fast cuts, loud action and a constant bombardment of CGI effects, but that it can also be a bit more subtle and still look quite big. Whether he will meet the taste of the masses, that remains to be seen. But it's a fact that he directed a visually extremely thrilling and dramaturgically captivating flick, which not only entertains well, but also makes you want to see Godzilla more. And for that there is a very clear: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp