“Godzilla” is a little light on fully realized human characters, but what does that matter when you’ve got a 350-foot monster with an astonishing amount of fight and resolve to root for?
When a mine collapses in the Philippines, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins) come to check out what’s left behind and are shocked to find the radioactive remains of something inexplicably large. Well north in Japan, they’re feeling the effects of whatever rattled that mine, but only in the form of small tremors so Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) can’t get his colleagues at the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant to sound the alarms until its way too late. Fifteen years later, Joe is still obsessed with figuring out what leveled the plant while his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), does what he can to help him move on so he can finally leave the past behind and spend some time with his young grandson. However, Ford is forced to reconsider his father’s priorities when he comes face-to-face with the culprit Joe’s been chasing for years himself.
If you’ve seen “Monsters,” you know that Gareth Edwards knows how to make a monster movie, and on a minimal budget at that. Edwards undoubtedly had far more to work with with Warner Bros. backing his sophomore effort, but “Godzilla” still exhibits an exceptional attention to detail, suggesting Edwards rolled into this one with that same respect for stunning imagery, tangible performances and powerful story beats that he had when he was trying to do a lot, but with very little.
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Like most aspiring filmmakers out there, Gareth Edwards emerged from film school expecting to get to work on his very first feature. It didn’t take him long to realize that that’s not how the business works and things take time. Lucky for Edwards, for him, the long haul was worth the wait because he’s got an impressive film to show for his very first feature.
Monsters follows the journey of Andrew and Sam (Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able), two Americas forced to trek through Mexico’s “Infected Zone” in order to make it home to the states. Six years ago, a NASA space probe carrying samples of alien life forms crash landed in the area, releasing the specimens. Now, this quarantined section of the country is home to creatures that will not hesitate to attack intruders. Regardless, Andrew and Sam are desperate to go home and take their chances in the jungle.
Just as fascinating as the story, is Edwards’ personal journey to getting the production up and running. Not only had the idea been gestating in his mind for quite a while, but he also went about shooting the film in a very unusual way. With just his leads, a producer, soundman and a Spanish translator, Edwards got to work, taking things one step at a time and just rolling with whatever came his way. In the end, it looks like Edwards is going to have to stock up on a lot of medicinal cream because there’s tons of buzz around Monsters and while most of us would take that as a good thing, Edwards can’t shake the fact that the concept of having “buzz” sounds a bit more like having an STD than relating to positive word-of-mouth. Now that I’ve just made “buzz” sound even more grotesque, enjoy the video interview with Edwards below.
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Something needs to be made clear concerning Monstersimmediately; it is not a monster movie. If you walk into this one expecting a barrage of massive man-eating creatures, you’ll be disappointed. There are some monsters, but they’re far from the focus of this unbelievably low budget production. Monsters is more of a love story than anything, a love story with gigantic glowing octopi in the background.
Monsters kicks off six years after a NASA space probe carrying samples of alien life forms is destroyed while attempting to reenter the earth’s atmosphere over Mexico. Strange creatures began to appear and a large section of the country was quarantined and deemed the “Infected Zone.” Scoot McNairy stars as Andrew Kaulder, a photojournalist based in Mexico paid the big bucks for snapping shots of post-creature attack carnage until he’s assigned to escort his boss’ daughter, Samantha (Whitney Able), back home after she’s injured. He isn’t thrilled about the gig, but agrees to take her to the Mexican border of the Infected Zone where she can hop on a ferry and return to the states. But of course, things don’t go as planned and Sam and Kaulder wind up resorting to the more dangerous travel route, straight through the Infected Zone.
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