Synopsis

In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant was mysteriously destroyed with most hands lost including supervisor Joe Brody's colleague and wife, Sandra. Years later, Joe's son, Ford, a US Navy ordnance disposal officer, must go to Japan to help his estranged father who obsessively searches for the truth of the incident. In doing so, father and son discover the disaster's secret cause on the wreck's very grounds. This enables them to witness the reawakening of a terrible threat to all of Humanity, which is made all the worse with a second secret revival elsewhere. Against this cataclysm, the only hope for the world may be Godzilla, but the challenge for the King of the Monsters will be great even as Humanity struggles to understand the destructive ally they have.

Director

Gareth Edwards

Cast

CJ Adams
as Young Ford
Ken Watanabe
as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
Bryan Cranston
as Joe Brody

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gogoschka-1 N/A

Great build-up, but...

Remember 'Jaws'? Remember the way you only got to see little glimpses of the shark or just the remains of his victims for nearly half the movie? Instead, you got to meet half the town first and all the main characters while fear and paranoia slowly spread across the whole community, and when the great white guy finally did make his entrance - boy, what an impact he had.

Now, that was 40 years ago - but would it be possible to make that kind of movie today? To show restraint despite a budget of 160+ million dollars and all the latest state of the art CGI-effects the blockbuster factory has to offer?

As it turns out, it's not quite possible; at least not as far as this latest version of 'Godzilla' is concerned - but that's probably not for lack of trying on director Gareth Edwards' part. The young director ('Monsters') has stated many times that 'Jaws' was a huge inspiration for him on this movie, and it is hardly a coincidence that the (human) hero in 'Godzilla' shares the same name with the hero in Spielberg's masterpiece (they're both called Brody).

Edwards made it very clear that he wanted to take an "old school" approach - and as far as the beautiful, haunting build-up of the first half of the movie is concerned, he actually succeeds. The atmosphere of mystery and dread is tangible; the human element is there, the acting and the dialogues are solid, and the production design is breathtaking (especially the apocalyptic images of an evacuated city in Japan which was left to decay for 15 years, overgrown with plants and with packs of wild dogs running in the streets).

The "muto" design - when we do get a first glimpse at a creature - is otherworldly and frightening (as good monsters should be), but as the movie progresses into the second half and the creature-action increases, the quality of the pacing, the dialogues and the acting inexplicably decreases. The movie sadly starts to feel flat, and although there is one great creature scene after another, and although those scenes get more and more intense as the storyline steers towards the inevitable showdown, it's hard to stay invested in the human side of the story.

After the first act (when there was actually still some real acting required from the actors), there are virtually no interesting moments anymore when the human protagonists interact, let alone lingering scenes where the characters get to talk long enough to one another to even try to build such a thing as chemistry. So when the finale does arrive (which looks absolutely beautiful, by the way), you admire its epic scale, but since there is nobody to care about, it's hard to feel thrilled.Sure, you kind of root for Godzilla, but since you only just met the guy, you don't feel too much attached.

Ultimately - despite a great build-up and a fantastic looking finale - 'Godzilla' is a valid effort but only rarely a thrilling one. Unlike in 'Jaws', there are no interesting human characters here who could help create the kind of tension-heavy atmosphere or sense of impending doom the way Chief Brody, Hooper and Quint could 40 years ago.

Trying to show restraint alone is not enough to create a sense of wonder the way seventies cinema did - you also need the kind of character-driven scenes where someone says: "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

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Reviewed by lukemh1 10 /10

I hate modern film-goers

If Jaws was released today, everyone would complain how it took too long for the shark to turn up. WHAT HAPPENED TO ATTENTION SPANS?!

When I saw it in the cinema people couldn't even get through the opening credits without being on their phones. These are the same type of people who complain about how the human characters are dull (Yet the 1998 Godzilla characters were too ridiculous) but tell you off for saying the same thing about Pacific Rim, saying "But I just want to see action"

The people who complain about there being too little action also complain about how Transformers has too much action. The people who complain about Cranston not being in it enough complain about movies using popular actors just to get people to watch it. The people who complain about it being dark and realistic complain about the Marvel movies being too light and unrealistic.

The people who complain about this movie are whiny, hypocritical and missed one of the most beautifully choreographed movies, with the most impressive visuals even when the monsters weren't on screen, a great soundtrack that inspired terror and a cast that although lacking in the third act, made up for a great introduction and middle (Cranston and Watanabe) and some of the most epic-scaled action I have seen in the last 10 years. Cloverfield was a shaky mess that wasted the monster and Pacific Rim had sporadic fights that gave no real sense of scale.

I can't wait for the many sequels that will most likely have a lot more Godzilla now they are confident (given the box office)to use more CGI and money. He will be fighting some of the most iconic villains from the Godzilla universe, and hopefully all the idiots who watched and hated this movie won't watch it and me all the people who cheered through the first one will get to watch it in peace.

Reviewed by matthew-rehlinger 7 /10

Godzilla 2014: Should You Watch It?

Scenario 1: If you are going to see this film because you really enjoy classic Godzilla movies and you hope the music and campy theme of those films are represented in this one, you absolutely should go see it. Godzilla here looks much more like the beloved behemoth than it did in the '98 movie, the music hearkens to the classic Japanese overtures of the old Gojira film era, and the camera work has the comically silly nature of Sam Rami's Spiderman series.

Scenario 2: If you are really excited to see a deep, human film with camera angles and writing that really tell a story that is thematically transcendent such as "District 9" and the Korean film "The Host," this is not your film. The script is filled with overtly simplistic rhetoric and one dimensional characters (intentionally,) the scenes somehow manage to have very little tension (even for me, the pilot episodes for most sitcoms seem more tense than Gozilla,) and as stated above, the camera-work is intentionally hammy. It should also be noted that to add a human element, the director overuses children to the point that it ends up feeling very obvious, as though he did it to be intentionally campy.

Scenario 3: If you are one of those people who really just want a fun popcorn flick such as Pacific Rim, with some solidly choreographed action like in the over-the-top bulletfest Battle:LA, I would say proceed with caution. The fight scenes are less intense and more majestic, like any classic monster movie, and as such the human aspect of the combat is relatively insignificant, less so than any other monster movie I've ever seen. There are no little monsters for anyone to shoot at, if that's your thing.

Scenario 4: If you are interested in this film because you love the talented work of Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, and/or Aaron Taylor- Johnson (three of my favorite actors) and are excited to see what they bring to the table, you should probably sit this one out. Bryan Cranston's role in this film garners far less screen time than advertised, Ken Watanabe spends literally every second walking through the scenes with the pained expression of someone who just walked in on their parents, and all three of the actors give off the vibe that they are very much aware of how cheesy their lines are. Everyone else's performance was similarly forgettable.

Honestly, I'm a stickler for deep, human storytelling, but I've also had a softspot for the classic, silly fun of many Godzilla movies, including my favorite, Godzilla vs. Destroyah. All told, depending on which camp you fall under, this will be an entirely different movie for you. As Godzilla movies go, I'd give it a B. As darker, more serious monster movies go, I'd give it a D+.

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