I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a big fan of the Godzilla film that recently came out. I didn’t think that Gareth Edwards brought anything to the genre, and he certainly didn’t help make me appreciate the character any more. He cared more about the humans than the King of All Monsters and I ended up leaving bored and jaded. I understand that this wasn’t the case with everyone who saw the movie, because it made a TON of money.
When I got to sit down and start reading the novelization of the film by Greg Cox and published by Titan Books, I was not really looking forward to it. I didn’t know what to expect, because I haven’t read a novelization since Steven Spielberg’s, Hook. I didn’t expect to be pleasantly surprised.
That’s the thing about books, you can explain in so much more detail than you can in a movie. They say that ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’ but I don’t believe that’s the case when it comes to books being turned into movies. Yes, I know that the movie in this case came out first, but I think this book only made the parts that I found boring or obnoxious, completely normal and realistic.
Cox articulates the thoughts of the actors that Edwards couldn’t do. Instead of a slack-jawed Ken Wantanabe looking at the camera in awe, without ever saying a word; I know what his character of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa is thinking when he realizes that the MUTOs are going to be unleashed on to the world. The descriptions of the creatures was far more visual in my mind, than even seeing them before me. That’s the power of a book that a movie just can’t give you.
One thing that’s similar in the book and the movie is the slow-reveal of Godzilla. You don’t come across the monster until page 126, and that’s just his name. He’s not fully revealed until he reaches San Francisco in pursuit of the MUTO, a hundred pages after that. The only reason that I didn’t mind this slow reveal like I did in the movie, is that I found myself connecting to the characters more in the book. Knowing their motivations more, helped me appreciate their actions and what it must have been like to be dealing with three Monsters who could potentially destroy the world.
The book helped me appreciate the movie in ways I didn’t think we going to be possible. I liked Aaron Taylor Johnson’s, Ford, in the book and I actually really liked Wantanabe’s, Serizawa. The both felt flat in the movie, but knowing that they were just two ordinary people put into an extraordinary situation, enriched how I felt about Edwards vision in the movie.
If you’re on the fence about watching the movie, I advise you to pick up the novelization. It’s a fast read and does a great job of bringing everyone’s favorite Kaiju back into people’s hearts. I think that Greg Gox did a great job with the material and I hope that he gets more jobs doing other properties and expanding his resume.
Rating: 3.5 outta 5 stars. (I still wish we would have met Godzilla faster)
Be sure to pick up this great book and many others at Titan Books!