Sunday, May 18, 2014

Godzilla (2014) – review

Godzilla is the latest attempt to reboot the film franchise. In many ways it succeeds in capturing the mood and essence of the original film. The effects are great and the monsters seem to have a personality all their own, much like the director Gareth Edward’s previous work Monsters. The acting ranges from good to excellent with the gallery of characters. The story itself is really entertaining, though I can see why it might be polarizing to some people.

The movie begins by showing an accident that occurred involving the characters at a nuclear power plant in 1999. Joe Brody, played by Bryan Cranston, lost his wife in the accident and is still looking for answers 15 years later. He discovers that recent signs are pointing to another devastating event. He brings his son Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, to a quarantined zone to investigate. What are these mysterious people hiding from Joe and Ford? Will it spell doom for a great many people?

The acting in the movie is pretty good for the most part. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is unfortunately pretty wooden considering the horrors that he is witnessing. Elizabeth Olsen does a fine job as Ford’s wife Elle, but it is not her most remarkable performance to date. Ken Watanabe is pretty solid and shows a great amount of awe and reverence for the creatures he is witnessing. The person who knocks it out of the park is Bryan Cranston. He really sells the fact that he is a desperate man looking for answers and has been plagued with guilt over the death of his wife for over 15 years.

The effects are fantastic. The MUTO creatures and Godzilla all seem to possess a great range of personality. When the villainous MUTO lose their eggs I felt sorry for them. The development of the visual and audio effects of the creatures came together perfectly to give the viewer an emotional attachment to them. Godzilla does not get a ton of screen time; when he does appear he owns your attention. His presence and roar are enough to give you goose bumps. When he breathed his nuclear fire it reminded me of seeing one of my first kaiju movies as a kid.

The story itself is reminiscent of the original story in that it is a cautionary tale. Where the original foretold of the dangers of nuclear weapons, this is more about the balance of nature and who is really in control. The monsters take away power, cause tidal waves, earthquakes, and even cause sinkholes. They are grim reminders that we are not fully in control of our world and that the powers of nature are bigger than us. Godzilla does not play the biggest role compared to the humans, or even the MUTO for that matter. However, looking back on the original film Godzilla was not the main focus in that film either.

Godzilla is a really entertaining movie. The few flaws I mentioned should not deter anyone from seeing it. The visuals are stunning and the story is really gripping. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the series or anyone who has never seen a Godzilla film and might like to try one. When it comes right down to it, Godzilla shows that he is still the King of Monsters.

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