×
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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Tesla

    'Tesla': Film Review

    Inventor Nikolai Tesla is more popular today than when he died penniless in a New York hotel in 1943. Back then, he was the futurist who swore he could summon unlimited, clean, wireless electromagnetic energy from the earth — a neat idea, but surely coal and oil were fine. In the 21st century, as temperatures [...]

  • Amulet

    'Amulet': Film Review

    Actress Romola Garai makes a distinctive feature directorial debut with “Amulet,” even if this upscale horror drama is ultimately more impressive in the realm of style than substance. It’s some style, though: She hasn’t just created a stylish potboiler, but a densely textured piece that makes for a truly arresting viewing experience to a point. [...]

  • Alison Brie appears in Horse Girl

    'Horse Girl': Film Review

    A funny thing happens about a third of the way into “Horse Girl,” Jeff Baena’s fourth Sundance feature after “Life After Beth,” “Joshy” and “The Little Hours.” Or rather, a funny thing stops happening: the familiar, steady-heartbeat rhythms of the low-budget social awkwardness comedy become erratic, tachycardiac, as the initially endearing foibles of the film’s [...]

  • Save Yourselves!

    'Save Yourselves!': Film Review

    Brooklyn couple Su (Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Reynolds) have several plans to salvage their lives. Go vegetarian, plant a garden, make sourdough bread, and above all, quit the internet addiction that’s become their relationship’s third wheel, distracting them from make-outs and barging into their fights until Su yells, “Alexa stop!” To detox, the couple [...]

  • Nine Days

    'Nine Days': Film Review

    At the risk of overselling Edson Oda’s ultra-original, meaning-of-life directorial debut, there’s a big difference between “Nine Days” and pretty much every other film ever made. You see, most movies are about characters, real or imagined, and the stuff that happens to them, whereas “Nine Days” is about character itself — as in, the moral dimension [...]

  • Chosen Ones Artwork

    The Yellow Affair Picks Up Swedish YA Sci-Fi/Thriller ‘Chosen Ones’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden — Scandi sales shingle The Yellow Affair has added to its Göteborg lineup the Swedish series “The Chosen Ones” (“Det Utvalda”), currently playing on Swedish pubcaster SVT’s streaming service SVT Play. The short form sci-fi thriller stars a strong Swedish female cast of model-turned actress Frida Gustavsson (“Swoon”), singer/actress Amy Deasismont (“Gösta”, “My [...]

  • A still from LANCE by Marina

    'Lance': Film Review

    Late in the film “Lance,” a documentary that depicts the ascent and the crash of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, the subject recalls the disappearance of his lucrative sponsorships. These deals — with a massive market value and a perhaps more important intangible value of keeping him in the public eye as a figure of rectitude [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content