Movie Review: ‘Godzilla’

May 20, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in Movies, Reviews | Leave a comment

Pacific Rim was a fun romp with giant robots fighting giant monsters, but there’s just something special about Godzilla. Thankfully, director Gareth Edwards knew what he was doing. Godzilla captures the anticipatory thrill reminiscent of films like Jaws where the monster is only briefly scene. It manages to wreck havoc without being a mindless destruction movies. Throughout the movie, the story returns to the human characters that form the through line while the world around them is devastated by the unthinkable. And when it’s all said and done, there’s one thing that should be foremost in your mind: Godzilla is a total badass.

Now for some lite spoilers.

The first trailer I saw for Godzilla showed actor Bryan Cranston. As a big Breaking Bad film, seeing him in this movie made me really excited to see it. However, I was very surprised to find out just how small his role was in this film. In fact Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays Cranston’s son in the movie, is actually the main character. Ken Watanabe also plays a nice recurring role in the film. All around the acting was good and, even though I felt a little bit tricked with Bryan Cranston’s small role, they still did a good job with casting. Elizabeth Olsen, who has a somewhat smaller role in comparison to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, did an excellent job of showing off some of her acting chops and it’ll be nice to see her return to the big screen in Avengers: Age of Ultron next year.

Now for some more serious spoilers.

When I see a trailer for a movie and I realize I’m definitely going to go see it, I make a big effort to stay spoiler free. If the same trailer or a new one pops up on tv or before a movie, I’ll actually shut my eyes to shield myself from the over exposure. Thus, I went into Godzilla knowing only what that first trailer revealed: Bryan Cranston, really big Godzilla sporting a somewhat classic look, and some epic shots showcasing a film in good hands. So I was once again surprised when they unveiled one of the first monsters. Yes. Plural monsters. Godzilla is not alone. Just to set your preconceptions at ease, there are three big monsters in this movie. But what I really loved was how skillfully they managed to turn Godzilla into the good guy without making it feel forced. How awesome is it to have this gigantic, unstoppable beast that should have you cowering in fear and use it as a symbol of hope?

In fact fear plays a very key part in the theme of the movie. The soldiers strike out in fear against these monsters even when their weapons are helpless to stop them. It’s a futile reaction showing the more primitive side of human nature. Ken Watanabe’s character illustrates a different path with the hope that Godzilla is not the fearsome monster they initially thought it to be, but a possible savior. Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character showcases duty to family and humanity. At first his motivation is to help his father no matter how hard the feelings are because it’s still his dad. Later on, his duty is to help those around him. Finally, he acts on a higher scale, willing to risk his life to try and save as many people as possible even with the odds stacked against him. All of the roles play interesting parts set against the backdrop of giant monsters destroying things and fighting each other.

At the end of the day, though, we’re all going to see this movie for the giant, fighting monsters. If you’re worried you won’t get to see much of them fighting due to the structure of the film and the glimpse shots they continually dangle in front of the audience like a carrot, don’t be. You’ll get plenty of monster action as the movie goes along. By the end, it’s Godzilla duking it out with two massive monsters in a fight that will have you rooting for the king of the monsters and fist pumping everytime he kicks some ass. I have to tip my hat to this film for actually making me care about a giant lizard fighting some weird insectoid monsters. Out of all the characters in the movie, Godzilla really is the star. You’ll have to wait to the end for him to shine, but when he does, you’ll be firmly seated in his corner and rooting for him all the way.

Now I’m not a hardcore Godzilla fan. I haven’t seen all of the movies or even most of them, but I have seen a few. I’ve seen the original 1954 Godzilla. I’ve seen the 1998 Matthew Broderick Godzilla. I saw Godzilla 2000 and King Kong Versus Godzilla. And out of all of those, I can easily say this is the best of the bunch. I even liked it better than Pacific Rim. If giant monsters and destruction movies are your thing, then you’ll definitely want to go see it. If you’re only mildly interested, it’s worth your time. This is a smartly done film that doesn’t club you over the head for two hours with over the top special effects. It nails the anticipation and atmosphere that the best monster movies used to embody.

I give Godzilla a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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