Viewed – 22 May 2014 Cinema
Ah, the blockbuster, that high concept thrill ride usually packed with special effects and not much depth (cough, Michael Bay, cough) but every now and then we get a summer event picture that at least tries to have an engaging story or half decent acting, and this somewhat throwback to 50s b-movies and Japanese sub-culture casts Bryan Cranston, fresh from his iconic turn in the multi-award winning Breaking Bad as a scientist who following a nuclear meltdown at the plant he works at, becomes obsessed with a government cover up in Japan and desperate to find out what really happened.
Not hard to guess it’s all really a cover up for the discovery of a very big lizard as well as a bunch of ready to hatch monsters, with the biggest smack-down in history just on the horizon. This is fun, hokey but very well done entertainment. Cranston, a very emotional and believable actor is as expected very good here, as is Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) as Cranston’s soldier / bomb-expert son in a more mature role than I’ve personally seen before. The story is packed with conspiracy theories, cover ups etc …and I love that sort of thing, and when we finally get some monster action (about an hour or so in) it’s full on, superbly staged and awe-inspiring to the point of actually being quite scary. The views from the people and soldiers as giant monsters loom overhead, or close by is nerve-shredding – achieving a sense of greatness and magnitude. Effects are also first rate with the destruction of cities, explosions and just general mayhem all packing a visual and emotional punch.
Other than it’s b-movie routs however, the movie has little else to say and I felt the first half was stretched out … we’re not here after all to look at readings on a screen and talk about nuclear testing, we want monsters! But for a blockbuster that does exactly what you might expect, with a decent, if a little under-used cast (Cranston) and some genuinely powerful moments … you still can’t go wrong. Just don’t expect much else.
Verdict: 3.5 /5