Godzilla 2014 – Movie Review

godzilla 2014

Godzilla – 2014

Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, Dave Callaham
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen

*** No Spoilers ***
(at least nothing you haven’t already seen in trailers)

I went to a preview screening for Godzilla-2014 on Wednesday night. Before you read my review there’s something that needs to be said.

godzilla-2014-movie poster

Some of you may have already read reviews from publications such as the Hollywood Reporter, Time Magazine, and big national newspaper publications, complaining about character depth and in-depth story-telling. These reviewers are the type of people that love Academy Award winning films like, Fried Green Tomatoes and Driving Miss Daisy. At best, they have two or three sci-fi and horror movies that they would ever praise and none of them would be monster movies. Giant Monster movies were birthed, for the most part, in the 1950’s and the stories weren’t so complex. If you get too far away from that, you have a drama, not a monster movie.

Now my review:

I’m not going to detail the whole plot but I will say, like most classic monster movies, the big battle is in the later half of the film. Bryan Cranston was by far the best actor in this film and was convincingly real in his performance as Joe Brody. I was drawn into the emotion of his story. Early in the film he has to seal off a sector of the nuclear power plant as a meltdown ensues, with his wife on the wrong side of the door. He is haunted by this task and secretly sneaks back to the condemned and guarded plant for answers. You can imagine what he finds. The film_KF14095.DNG then focuses on his son, Ford Brody, (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and his family. He has just been granted leave from the military and is trying to get back to his family when all hell breaks loose. Elizabeth Olsen plays Elle Brody, Ford’s wife. Ken Watanabe plays Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, a scientist investigating the seismic disturbances (sort of). His name is a homage to Godzilla creator Ishiro Honda and the character in the original Godzilla, Dr. Daisuke Serizawa.

The monster(s) called MUTO, (massive, unidentified, terrestrial, organisms), are bug-like and alien in design, but much easier to comprehend visually than the Kaiju in Pacific Rim. Scenes with the Muto are reminiscent of Cloverfield but we do get a good look at them soon enough. Naturally, Godzilla rises and battles the Muto in San Francisco, and it’s a Toho-style battle as the creatures smash each other into buildings and crash through infrastructure, causing massive destruction and devastation.

Godzilla 2014 - pic 1My only complaint is the look of Godzilla. I understand the design makes sense with this storyline. A beast that big lying upon the seafloor would look like a rocky landscape. His stone-like gray/black skin and craggy, slate-looking fins support this in continuity. However, when he finally rises from the sea and we get a good look, he resembles a bear – perhaps a Grizzly or a Brown bear. This correlation also makes sense – two long-term hibernating animals in nature may resemble each other. But I must say, I would have preferred one of the other designs from the early stages of this film’s development. This big guy is almost ‘Poo-bear’ loveable.

Overall I enjoyed the film. The serious tone and personal stories are more gripping than most Kaiju films. Godzilla is huge like the Titans of Greek mythology, supporting his namesake. And there’s massive monster destruction and violence. It’s a respectable entry into the franchise and this Godzilla would eat that 1998 Iguana-zilla for lunch…with room left over for dessert.

 

16 thoughts on “Godzilla 2014 – Movie Review

  1. The characters were fine, but it was Godzilla himself who really took over this movie. Then again, that’s pretty much expected since it’s his movie. Good review.

  2. I’ll read your review after I see the movie because I want nothing to be revealed to me. I get to go the movies maybe 3-4 times a year and normally two of those are picked by my kids. I’ve been waiting for this one since the release date was announced. hope to see it Saturday.

    • I don’t blame you, its good to see a film with a clean slate, not knowing anything. The thing that pissed me off the most was the Fiat Commercial that showed the new Godzilla, head to toe. They couldn’t wait until after the film came out to show that? Damn!

  3. Going to see it for sure now. Great insightful review. I do like good actors but I’m more about the creatures in this type of movie. I’ve been trying not to watch the trailers on TV so Godzilla is more of a surprise and I skipped as bet I could through your pictures. Bear like he may be but I’m sure I’ll be stunned by his size and his roar.

  4. Great review. I liked the film and thought the majority of the film was good, which is a nice change from the 98 version which was mostly bad.

    The visuals and tone worked really well but the characters where lifeless, except Cranston.

    Still bring on MechaGodzilla! 😀

  5. Pingback: Godzilla (2014) Review | Tim's Film Reviews

  6. Only thing I disagree with you on is Godzilla’s look. I fell in love with it! Otherwise, we share the same vibes on this movie. All in all, great summer fun and a worthy addition to the Gojira franchise.

  7. Oh yes, you sure as all hell got that right! The horrible 1998 Godzilla should be completely forgotten after this one finally does the franchise justice. I find myself loving Godzilla’s look though but I will agree….he is sort of cute. Did I honestly just say that?

  8. Pingback: Vic’s Review – “Godzilla” (2014) | Vic's Movie Den

  9. Pingback: The Best of 2014 | parlor of horror

  10. Pingback: DINOSAUR films and other giant creature movies – Overview | parlor of horror

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