Godzilla_2014

 

Directed By: Gareth Edwards

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn

Synopsis: The government’s attempts at covering up the existence of giant monsters goes awry when they go public, smashing cities and creating all kinds of mayhem.

Thoughts:

The latest American reboot of Godzilla ignores all previous movies, only noting Godzilla’s first appearance in the ocean in 1954. From there, we learn that the governments of the world have been investigating another life form for the past couple of years. All hell breaks loose when the latest monsters hatch and Godzilla shows up to battle them.

This is the most serious Godzilla movie we’ve seen in quite some time. In fact, it may be the most serious since the original, which was an allegory on the atomic bomb and the dangers of man delving too far into science. There’s no humor here to break tension and there’s no silly monster antics that have been staples of the Kaiju genre for ages.

In order to pull off a serious movie, you really need to have a great script and accomplished actors. Godzilla has some solid supporting performances, highlighted by Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn. Watanabe’s character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, is utterly shell shocked the entire movie after discovering what he had been chasing all his life. Watanabe always seems to deliver, whether he is leading or supporting, and Godzilla is no different. Strathairn plays Admiral Stenz, doing his best to attack the threat the only way he knows how, with weapons of mass destruction. I’ve always been a monumental fan of Strathairns. His stoic nature translates well to a military officer.

Bryan Cranston was really marketed as being a lead for Godzilla, but ultimately ended up in more of a supporting role as the movie went on. I wasn’t blown away by his performance when he was on screen. Some of his lines seemed wooden, while others felt overacted. I know Cranston is really a golden child in Hollywood right now, but I wasn’t all that impressed,

The true lead is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, of Kick-Ass fame (and soon to be Avengers fame as he is Quicksilver in the Avengers Universe). I felt Taylor-Johnson’s role as Ford Brody was the single weakest point of the whole movie. There was no emotion in his performance. In fact, he may be a robot. There is a lot of dialogue and character development in Godzilla, and when it centered on Brody, I was just wondering when Godzilla was going to come back on screen.

Another argument that I heard was that Godzilla and the other monsters just didn’t get enough screen time. I get that, but I think had the lead character been a bit more engaging, then it wouldn’t have been as noticeable. I always love to see the big guys battle or tear up cities in movies like this, but I think the formula was correct for this movie.

In the end, Godzilla is not a perfect movie, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. If you are in the mood to watch monsters fight, go back and check out Final Wars or Destroy All Monsters. Heck, even give Pacific Rim another spin. This movie is about Godzilla returning to his roots and developing a story to go along with the mayhem. I guess you can call it an attempt at Kaiju with a touch of class. I for one, am looking forward to potential franchise possibilities.

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Comments
  1. Mike says:

    This movie was definitely well made, probably the best movie I went to see so far this year. Unfortunately I went to see it without seeing any other Godzilla movie, other than that one from 1998 which I’m sure you could agree…sucked. It’s not very often when I walk out of a showing intrigued to check out similar movies.

    As for the screen time for the monsters, I think they showed just enough to get the viewer back for a sequel. Too much screen time and the viewer could’ve been disinterested I was more interested in seeing the story not just monsters fighting with each other.

    :BTW, it’s been a long time since Ive seen you on http://movietalk.co.nr

  2. shnsjolin says:

    Hey Mike! It’s interesting to hear your opinion, especially knowing that you haven’t seen any other Godzilla movies other than ’98 (which is pretty terrible). You should check out the original, Gojira (not the Americanized version). It’s a classic. Later movies get a lot more campy, but are still a lot of fun. Be on the lookout for a massive review of the Toho Classics that just got released. I’ll be looking at 8 movies in one post.

    It has been some time since I stopped by Movie Talk. I’ll have to swing by and say hello.

  3. I had mixed feelings about this movie. It is definitely a well-made movie, (way better than the ’98 version), Cranston’s character was great, but should have been developed more, it just seemed like he was an extended cameo. I enjoyed how the movie turned Godzilla into a sort of anti-hero towards the end. Although one big allure to these movies in general is seeing a giant monster destroying a metropolis. It’s fun to watch. Probably budgetary restrictions, but it was a flavor that was lacking a bit in this one, but you’re right this movie did enough to justify a sequel that I’d watch.

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