Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
The King of the Monsters is here! Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) has delivered a zesty and pest abundant version of "Godzilla" full of mystery, social consciousness and suspense. Even better, it is a fitting addition to the monster's original legacy.
Seemingly just in time, this gargantuan killer Komodo outing is a metaphor for the reactor failures during the 2011 earthquake that hit Japan.
Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" plays Brody, (in a possible nod to Sheriff Brody of Jaws) a physicist who is alone in his knowledge of what is Really going on. There are electromagnetic pulses occurring all over Japan and it appears some force or entity is "talking." After a devastating electromagnetic storm that causes nuclear plants to be devastated, Brody knows things aren't right smelling like month old nori.
Brody's wife (Juliette Binoche) goes underground with a group and discovers a huge reptilian fossil that could be an erotic dream designed by H.R. Giger.
Veteran actor Ken Watanabe has a terrific turn as a nuclear scientist who can tell with certainty that this all has a lot to do with mutant amphibians.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) plays the reluctant soldier hero driven to preserve the integrity of his father by attempting to go toe to toe with a pair of irradiated insects, but more often than not, he watches from afar.
The strongest part of the film concerns Nature out of balance and Godzilla is a karmic savior, just a bit rubbery but oddly adorable and apparently composed of some very strong kelp.
There are some sweeping scenes of decadent tourists living it up in Vegas, as huge praying mantis creatures have some apocalyptic appetizers with mortals on the menu. At times, "Godzilla" echoes Christian paintings of The Rapture as people fall from immense heights leaping from subways and trains. At one point, there is a skyscraper explosion involving a paratrooper that recalls 9-11.
As the residents scurry about in terror, Japan is engulfed in black flames while the three leviathans battle in pits within their own scaly psychodrama, creating a kind of Dante's Inferno for the anime set. The decibel crunching fisticuffs contain a perfect blend of comic craziness that is by no means serious but nonetheless possesses a quaint poignance and nostalgic poetry for all beasts grandiose and giddy with gore. Watch for the scene where Godzilla pries open a Mantis's mouth and shoots nuclear fire down the throat. This is a gaudy primordial pissing contest but makes for absolute zany fun making a fine link to the 1954 film.
When Watanabe with great drama and reverence exclaims "Let them fight!," he is crying out for the entire Toho film industry and the monster movie genre as a whole and we cheer along with him.
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