From W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming
“The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
The first thing that came to my mind while looking at that Godzilla poster was this poem, and not Pacific Rim or that movie of the same name from 1998. The same was rather justified by watching the movie, as there was something special about this creature this time, and the deviation from the master of destruction which it was supposed to be, is something which adds more mystery to the same. The mystery about the beast which is mentioned in this poem has kept me thinking throughout my studies of English Literature, and now there is the monster, Godzilla who comes up with the element of mystery and surprise.
What is it about? :: Getting out of that 1919 poem by the Irish poet and coming back to our present scenario, the movie begins with some film reels involving atomic explosion and a huge creature partially rising from under the water. The story belongs to Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) though, a military officer specialized in bomb disposal married to his beautiful wife and a nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), having one son. When his father Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is arrested in Japan for trespassing into a quarantined area, he travels there and gets him out of prison, only to join him in the mission to find how his mother died at the same place long ago. But as they get inside the area, they find out that there is actually nothing like the radiation at a place when a nuclear disaster had taken place, and it is not quarantined to save people, but to hide a huge secret which can change the future of mankind forever. The secret will soon be revealed inside a secret complex area, but as it comes to light, there might actually be no real hope for humanity. There will be chaos and destruction unleashed on the world as monsters awaken, and the beginning of all this was years ago.
The defence of Godzilla :: I can’t remember much from the 1998 movie, but from what I can recollect, this is surely a big improvement. Well, as I was a kid at that time, it wouldn’t have been of much use if I had an opinion at that time too. Well, this Godzilla is different, and a big change is that the humanity is not really fighting Godzilla this time, even as there is no denial of confrontations and rockets fired, with destruction caused. Now, that should be a surprise, and the number of monstrous entities should be more than you expect. Unlike Pacific Rim, the movie also has a dark style and there is the more powerful terror element at work. The creatures are designed to look terrifying, and they serve their purpose as they become harbingers of death and destruction with their size and lethal power. There is absolutely nothing funny about their presence or the whole movie as it keeps the seriousness and the atmosphere of horror throughout, between great action supported by the special effects and background score. It is a nice introduction that has been given to the younger audience about this monster who hasn’t graved the screen for sometime. They goes on with the story really well, and there is a lot of suspense built around what is happening around.
The claws of flaw :: Godzilla has released after Pacific Rim; it is not much of a flaw as both deals with the monsters in a different way, but that should hurt a bit for the audience. If this had come before Pacific Rim, that might have actually helped both movies. This should still gross more than the 2013 monster-robot extravaganza, thanks to the title referring to the king of monsters, already running houseful here. There is also no denying a certain amount of slow start to the things unlike Pacific Rim which pounces directly into the action scene. The human characters don’t really impress, and there is no dialogue which will cause an adrenaline rush. The nature-related theme is not fully explored, and this could have actually had a message about the need to preserve environment and get rid of the nuclear warheads. There is a certain amount of uncertainty on what the director was actually planning to bring to the audience; Pacific Rim was certain about it, but not this movie. If it had focused better on the human characters or kept the focus completely on the creatures, this surely would have worked even better. After all, everybody wants to see the giant creatures on the big screen.
Performers of the soul :: Our main hero is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it seems to work on most occasions except for a few when he turns wooden. One would still feel that the character has come alive just because there was the need for a hero in this movie. Elizabeth Olsen plays the less explored character of his wife and doesn’t get much attention; neither should be anything memorable. They will be seen together as siblings, or the super-powered evil twins in The Avengers 2 as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; she played a character attracted to her father in Oldboy – she surely is having a strange combination of characters to play; but unlike Oldboy, she has almost nothing to do that actually affects the movie here, and that should be a let down. The rest of the cast also has very less to do, as this is the world of the monsters where humans become spectators most of the time, and even when they are doing something, the effects are minimal. Even as the monsters come quite late, this slow and steady sacrifice of human characters start very early in the movie and goes on to the end. Well, the monsters need to scare and kill a lot of people, so there is that purpose.
Soul exploration :: The movie shows Godzilla as a force of nature, something that is beyond humans to stop, but the same can also be said about the other creatures. The fact that these creatures feed on radiation is something to be noted. Thus the movie is indirectly a message against the problem that the nuclear power can cause, and the creatures of radiation are rather the symbols of the evil that can be brought upon the current society by the development of science and technology which have been used in such a manner that it makes things convenient, but not better. Godzilla is referred to as a force of nature (that reminds me of what an article called the cricketers Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi a long time ago), and he becomes that force of nature which will bring balance on Earth, whether its enemies are other creatures or the human beings themselves. Well, Godzilla is nothing like the other two creatures which belong to one species, one being the smaller male with wings and the other being the bigger female, stronger without wings. The force of nature is rather the great equalizer, which makes its own choices and takes sides. That is what makes this monster so different and gives the viewers so much to look forward to. Yes, men think that they can control nature with science, but it is indeed the other way around!
How it finishes :: We were given two Malayalam movies with big stars this weekend in the form of How Old Are You and Mr. Fraud and it is a big decision to choose this one over them, but that won’t be too difficult at many places as they would be already booked. The crowd for Godzilla assures the success of the movie, but also makes sure that the two movies I mentioned are already houseful. Godzilla might have lesser audience in the weekdays, but seems to be good enough to stay above par. If you liked Pacific Rim, you will surely like this one too, and the degree of the liking shall depend on what you need, a light action thriller with style or a dark horror thriller with action, Godzilla fitting to the latter detail. Lets take some time to spare some time for these creatures from the depths of Earth, not just the alpha predator which is Godzilla, but the other two mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)! Yet there is one more thing to remember, and that is about the minuteness of humanity against the universe and its secrets, and lets not consider science and technology as the greatest achievement of humanity; it is rather the respect of the fellow humans, environment and the other creatures that should interest us.
Release date: 16th May 2014
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.