×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Godzilla

The "Godzilla" created by director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin has generated such great expectations that it's difficult not to scrutinize it to the limit, starting with the film's computer-generated star, Godzilla itself. Despite some individual problems with the film's effects, the title creature is wonderfully designed.

The “Godzilla” created by director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin has generated such great expectations that it’s difficult not to scrutinize it to the limit, starting with the film’s computer-generated star, Godzilla itself. Despite some individual problems with the film’s effects (possibly masked by the incessant rain), the title creature is wonderfully designed and the animation is excellent.

At no moment does the big lizard — a mix of T-Rex, velociraptor, iguana and a somewhat human-like torso — come through as realistically as the dinosaurs in the “Jurassic Park” films. But the hundreds of compositing shots were, in general, clean and the cuts between miniatures, animatronics and CGI creatures were admirably transparent.

The integration of the lizard into its surroundings is for the most part very well accomplished, with rigged cars collapsing under the massive weight of Godzilla, and buildings either demolished or partially damaged. The compositing of the debris and pyrotechnics is generally good, especially when the monster runs or walks on the streets: The asphalt gives way convincingly every time the massive feet touch the ground, and a variety of CGI elements are seamlessly composited. Debris flies off buildings with every touch of the monster.

There are a few glitches. On shots in which Godzilla runs through the city at night, the buildings reveal their model nature, and appear off-scale. Also, there is a lack of depth cueing on the creature: With such a gigantic size, the focus should change dramatically between the front and the back of the monster, but in some shots this doesn’t happen.

The lighting was well-achieved on the CGI sequences, with good integration and some excellent volumetric effects like fog. One remarkable shot shows the lizard diving into the Hudson river: The motion is excellent, and the shot successfully conveys the impression of the beast’s huge size.

Again, in the underwater sequences with submarines chasing the creature, the lighting is quite good. Worth mentioning are the pyro elements on the submarine explosion that are comped on the miniature underwater shots. Unfortunately, the submarines are off-scale, making the sequence look artificial.

A massive effects sequence comes when the human stars find hundreds of Godzilla’s eggs about to hatch inside Madison Square Garden. This very long sequence uses a variety of newly hatched baby lizards, some animatronic, though the majority are digitally generated images.

Although the subsequent chase through the hallways had the potential to be fantastic, it had some problems with continuity of effects. Despite some shots in which the lizards are well-integrated with reflection on the floors and ceilings, many lack that extra touch that would make them truly believable. The animation is overall very good, but sometimes the baby lizards seem to float a bit as they run.

Worth mentioning, nonetheless, is the complexity in the interaction and choreography of the lizards, and the sheer number of creatures in some of the shots.

In a very well-executed sequence, military jets blow up Madison Square Garden to destroy Godzilla’s offspring. The explosion, achieved with miniatures like those in Devlin and Emmerich’s earlier “Independence Day,” is superb.

Godzilla

Production: Produced by Dean Devlin. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Visual effects superviser, Volker Engel. Effects produced by Centropolis, VisionArt Design, Sony Imageworks, Digiscope and Sightline. Miniatures and animatronics supervised by Patrick Tatopoulos; miniatures created by Cinnabar and Hunter-Gratzner Industries.

More Film

  • Halloween

    Movies Featured More Female Protagonists in 2018, But It's Not All Good News (Study)

    “Halloween,” “A Star is Born,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” made headlines for featuring strong roles for women, but even though the number of female film protagonists hit a high in 2018, the movie industry still offered its juiciest parts to men. At a time when Hollywood is under pressure to become more inclusive and is [...]

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content