You may not realise that Godzilla is one of the most durable monsters in the history of cinema, first striding out of the sea 60 years ago to kick off a slew of successful Japanese features.
History doesn’t weigh heavily with the bigwigs in Hollywood, though – they reckon that you won’t even remember the 1998 blockbuster from Roland ‘Independence Day’ Emmerich, which was widely considered to be a turkey of the first order.
That film had the unlikely figure of Matthew Broderick in a leading role. This time around the best-known name is probably Bryan Cranston, fresh from his success in Breaking Bad.
But really it’s all about the monster – the director at the helm of this big budget blather hasn’t got a marquee name either.
Gareth Edwards made his reputation with the much-admired Monsters, when he conjured up an unsettling sci-fi story with a budget of buttons, a tiny cast and a lot of imagination.
Now he’s been given the whole gold-plated toy box to play with, and the result is a two-hour headache – all the showpiece shouty special effects are in your face, it’s slick and silly and you won’t remember a minute of it 10 minutes after the credits roll.
But the Warner Brothers machine is right behind it, so it’s sure to be a hit.
Godzilla is the big beast this week but worth seeking out is In Secret, which stars Elizabeth Olsen – also in the monster movie – in a period tale of romantic obsession, adultery and tragedy which will familiar to fans of classic French literature.
The story is based on Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin, and if a woman trapped in a loveless marriage and working behind the counter in her mother-in-law’s cramped shop before falling for a dashing artist floats your boat, it’s got great date movie credentials. And it’s all about people, with not a mutant monster in sight.