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Review: Godzilla (2014)

May 14, 2014

godzilla_ver6Godzilla (2014)

  • Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Savages), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House) and Bryan Cranston (Argo).
  • Directed by: Gareth Edwards (Monsters).
  • Synopsis: “In Summer 2014, the world’s most revered monster is reborn as Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures unleash the epic action adventure “Godzilla.” From visionary new director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) comes a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless.”
  • Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi/creature violence and massive destruction/mayhem.
  • Must-Watch Trailer: (I included this trailer as one of the BEST trailers of last year in my “Top 13 Trailers of ’13” post.)
  • Review:

The king of monsters finally makes it to the big screen in much more deserving fashion than in previous years. No, I’m not talking about King Kong (That ALSO deserves a much better -and shorter- film than the last one we got. Thanks, Peter Jackson and Jack Black). I am, of course, speaking about that OTHER king of monsters: GODZILLA!godzilla-attacks-golden-gate

Director Gareth Edwards brings a reboot to theaters in a fashion that stomps previous attempts out of memory.

(For more on my thoughts on this gigantic project, hit the jump.)

When it comes to this film, I already know what to expect from other reviewers out there…especially those who hated on Pacific Rim and it’s “lack of plot and character development and acting.” All the people who hated and wanted more character development in Pacific Rim and less of giant robots and kaiju fighting will rave about Godzilla because it tips the scale in being the complete opposite for the majority of its run time. Those same “haters of awesomeness/Pacific Rim” may very well find themselves wishing that Gypsy Danger had made a special appearance in the long-running Godzilla.

I'm just sayin..."YES PLEASE!!"

I’m just sayin…”YES PLEASE!!”

What I’m trying to say is that for a movie entitled and about Godzilla…there isn’t that much of him in it at all, sadly. Godzilla and Bryan Cranston receive the same treatment as they are both toted around as stars in the trailers…and they share about the same amount of screentime. When the action takes place it serves as a wake-up jolt and is fun, massive, destructive, monstrous and captivating (much more so than the characters played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen).godzilla

But let’s face it. Name any big monster movie and we know that the film isn’t about the characters. Why do we go to see movies like Cloverfield, Anaconda (jk…no one goes to see Anaconda), King Kong…and even Jurassic Park? The monsters! And Edwards does a fantastic job utilizing that love and creating suspense, mystery, reveals and fights of all the monsters in this film.godzillabanner

A big step in the right direction after the disappointing (for me, anyways) film, Monsters, Edwards reminds me of how Matt Reeves did parts of Cloverfield and only teases full looks at the monsters for quite some time in the film. He effectively makes their intermittent reveals all the more exciting and impactful in his film that suffers from lesser editing that creates an inconsistent and all-too often slow pacing.

While I have taken the time to point out some of the bad, let me point out some of the good.

  • The visual effects are amazingly done. Truly impressive! WOW. They accomplished what they set out to do in making it realistic. Much like this featurette explains:
  • kenThe fights and action sequences, while scarce, are so great. Some of the signature moves/abilities of Godzilla are used and when they are, the people rejoice!
  • Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston and Sally Hawkins are the actors of note here that do their roles well. For some reason, Taylor-Johnson and Olsen just don’t bring any cause for attachment to their storylines.
  • Even though there are a few moments that take you out of the reality (such as Godzilla’s just-in-the-nick-of-time saves of humans or the cheesy ending) it still is fun to watch.

 

Giant action, giant monsters, an oddly mixed cast and a non-stop heavy-handed musical score, Godzilla is the best film dedicated to the king of monsters out of all recent renditions yet. While there is no Gypsy Danger 🙂 there is plenty to enjoy while the monsters are on screen and destruction is happening. There was almost no need for the humans in it at all. haha. Edwards set up his film with plausibility from its very beginning and makes Godzilla one giant monster film to enjoy.

It may sound like I am hating on the film, but I’m really not. Perhaps my expectations were higher than they should’ve been, but I still enjoyed it when Godzilla (and Cranston) was on the screen. I just don’t understand why they chose to exclude him from so much of the movie when it is just over two hours long and he (Godzilla) is the titular star. It is an adventure of monstrous proportions and sets the viewers in that “Wow, what if this really happened?”-mode that keeps audiences there the entire way through. I enjoyed it, even through the parts that may be considered “boring” by some.

All in all, I still give this film a score of:

My Score: 3 out of 5 stars for Godzilla

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(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 300 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographerfb dropping in

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. jackdeth72 permalink
    May 15, 2014 5:11 am

    Hi, Terrence:

    Huge kudos for the director for keeping the original “Godzilla scream” from the 1950s classic!

    Though, some advice on HALO (High Altitude. Low Opening) parachute jumps. Temperatures above 20,000 feet tend to be in the serious sub zero range. That means No
    Exposed Skin! Hands and wrists have been lost in real life. Due to jumpers leaving exposed skin between wrist and thermal layered sleeves. Think exposure to sudden liquid Nitrogen and act accordingly.

    And for all the time Godzy is on screen in the trailer. A guy in a rubber suit could easily be employed.

    Oh, and here’s a bit of trivia to lay on Mark and his “Trivia Tidbits”. Godzilla, for a brief period of time in the 1970s was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. With his own Marvel comis book.

    His “handler” was “Dum Dum Dugan”. Neal McDonough’s character from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.

    Like

    • May 18, 2014 2:05 pm

      Hi Kevin. Seems like the movie makers coulda used your expertise! 🙂 I forgot about Godzilla and Marvel. You’re right! ha, I’d love to have those comics. I didn’t know that Dum Dum Dugan was his handler. now THAT is pretty sweet!

      Like

  2. May 15, 2014 1:52 pm

    I heard Olsen doesn’t have much to do, so I’m not surprised to read what you wrote about her character. I cannot wait to see the movie, though, seems like proper epic blockbuster.

    Like

    • May 18, 2014 2:06 pm

      It’s true, Sati. She doesn’t. but it’s all about Godzilla anyways. Can’t wait for you to see it

      Like

  3. May 15, 2014 2:23 pm

    Ahhhhh dang!! This makes me sad. I usually don’t like most movies like this, but the trailer looked really good! Thanx for the input “T”

    Like

    • May 18, 2014 2:35 pm

      Thanks for reading, Suzie! When you see it, let me know what you thought!

      Like

  4. May 18, 2014 1:37 pm

    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! 😀

    Like

    • May 18, 2014 2:06 pm

      Thanks Tim! Appreciate it. Yeah…a REAL nice change from the 98 version. ha.

      I’m all for MechaGodzilla!

      Like

  5. May 18, 2014 8:40 pm

    Based on our crowd, it’s going to be a huge hit. Lots of audience participation, laughing, cheering. I enjoyed the whole experience.

    Like

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