So let me preface this review with some simple facts. If you are not a fan of Godzilla, you will not like this movie. If you are expecting Pacific Rim, you will not like this movie. However, if you love all the anticipation that builds prior to seeing the King of the monsters wreak havoc on the city, and truly wanted something . . . anything to make up for the 1998 disaster?
You will be overcome with joy.
Godzilla (2014) revolves around the family of nuclear scientist Joe (Bryan Cranston) who upon recognizing a strange pattern in tremors attempts to shut down the Janjira plant he is responsible for. His wife works there too and unfortunately, his plea to shut down the plant is heard a little too late. The plant is lost, including his wife, in one of the most heartbreaking scenes pulled off almost flawlessly by Bryan Cranston. The remainder of the movie takes place 15 years later, in which Joe is still trying to determine the cause of the tremors, and his now grown son is trying to come to peace with his father and the loss of his mother. Joe’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), an active duty military personnel with a son of his own tries to convince his father to come home with him and by doing so accidentally stumbles into the truth of what really happened to the Janjira nuclear plant. And it wasn’t simply just an earthquake.
The story line for Godzilla (2014) will be considered slow by many, but that is not without purpose. It builds a framework for the viewers to truly care why Godzilla is there (yes I know, most of us just want to see him destroy things but still), and why after years of staying deep within the belly of the ocean he has chosen to surface again. Human tampering has seemed to awaken another beast, the MUTO – a prehistoric parasitic monster that if let to its own natural wills could easily destroy the planet as we know it. But fortunately for mankind, there can be only one King of the Monsters.
Some people (myself included) wish there was more monster and less time spent on character building. When Godzilla and MUTO are seen it is usually short-lived, through the smoke and burning rubble, or interrupted by character movement. As unsatisfying as that may have been, the moment Godzilla is fully revealed in his true glory? Incredible. My entire theater roared, and I can only guess yours will as well. Sometimes not seeing the full reveal until it is meant to unfold can make the sweet anticipation of that moment simply glorious.
Godzilla is well aligned with its original predecessor – a movie based on people and their actions, with monsters as merely part of the story as a reaction. Like any good monster movie – why the monster is there is almost as important as the monster itself.
Some drawbacks of the film:
– Certain characters felt like unnecessary fillers. This includes Ford’s wife Elle and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa’s assistant, Vivienne. Both could have provided so much value to the story, but perhaps weren’t written to do so.
Some amazing moments of the film:
– GODZILLA. He looked incredible. He moved just as Godzilla should. Again, unlike the 1998 film which should have been called Iguanzilla.
– Again, GODZILLA. His finishing move was glorious. He literally held the head he just melted off in his hands, screamed his cry of victory and took a damn nap. And when he was done? Peace bitches. He was a true force of nature. He was not here to save us. He was here to hunt, and hunt he did. Dr. Serizawa said it best “The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around”.
– The MUTOs and their unique features based on sex. Also mama MUTO? Fierce.
– The soundtrack. It perfectly flowed with the roller coaster of emotions through the film. One I’ll certainly be picking up myself.
Godzilla has been roaring through theaters all weekend. And just yesterday it was announced that an official sequel is in the works. Have you seen it yet? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts (good and bad).