Steven Spielberg’s box-office behemoth ‘Jurassic Park’ provides the guiding light for Gareth Edwards’s bombastic resurrection of cinema’s iconic reptile.
The titular 355-feet tall creature boasts familiar dorsal fins, lumbering gait and is securely tethered to timely concerns about the environmental consequences of nuclear power.
A mine in the Philippine jungle collapses, exposing the remains of two seemingly fossilised and highly radioactive creatures. One of the monsters hatches and despite the best efforts of Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and his colleague Dr Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), its mate also escapes confinement.
Admiral William Stenz (David Strathairn) sends his men into battle including Lieutenant Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). In San Francisco, Ford’s wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) prepares to evacuate with their four-year-old son Sam.
You can see every cent of the rumoured $160 million budget and the director makes good use of the 3D format by reflecting carnage in mirrors and glass. Chilling images of Brian Cranston and Taylor-Johnson entering a Japanese quarantine zone and a tender moment between the two Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms explicitly reference Edwards’s low budget debut, ‘Monsters’.
The director conveys the reptile’s feelings in the midst of battle whereas human emotions are much harder to unearth. Taylor-Johnson is a bland all-American hero and heavyweights Cranston and Juliette Binoche don’t have sufficient screen time to deliver the wallop we crave.