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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Everything is Awesome

With his first Monsters, Gareth Edwards proved that he is a capable and inventive film-maker, and it was very pleasing to see Hollywood recognise this so quickly and give him a shot at a major motion picture so early in his career. Edwards has rewarded that confidence by bringing all the skills apparent in his guerrilla debut to a very large property indeed, and making a highly accomplished and enjoyable film. Godzilla has, of course, seen numerous interpretations over the years, but Edwards' take is still fresh. He recognises that the human aspect is how the audience relates to the film and its hero, and there is no better actor working today at carrying the audience's empathy than Bryan Cranston, whose presence and performance ensure that the viewer is on board. The relationship conveyed by Cranston and Juliett Binoche in a few short minutes of screen time is immediately convincing and provides an emotional platform for the film. It's a pity that Aaron Taylor-Johnson does not seem capable of taking this emotion forward, and his stock action protagonist with stock get-back-to doctor wife Elizabeth Olsen and son arc is the most disappointing aspect of the film. Thankfully, we need not dwell on this, as the main event is Edwards' highly effective handling of the monsters. Their design is excellent, clearly the subject of careful consideration, but Edward's peerless talent is in his recognition that these creatures are governed by the same biological imperatives as humans - eat, reproduce and compete. The Mutos' laying waste to human cities is just a by-product of this. It is the key to the film's success, and the reason Godzilla deserves to be seen, as much for the monstrous performances as the human ones.

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