We Saw: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla_(2014)_posterDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham

Genre: Action/Sci-FI

Plot: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody

Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa

Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody

Sally Hawkins as Vivienne Graham

Review:

The Godzilla (or, in Japanese, Gojira) franchise features a series of 28 original Japanese Kaiju (“monster”) movies. Inspired by the success of ‘King Kong’, the first ‘Godzilla’ was released in 1954 and was extremely influential, and it was adapted by Americans into ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters!’. Godzilla inspired many other movies, video games and comics. Four Godzilla movies have been produced in America and one in Italy (also known as Cozzilla),while North Korea released ‘Pulgasari’, which was similar to Godzilla. The monster was created as an allegory of the effects and consequences of the hydrogen bomb, and represented the Japanese fear of the Hiroshima disaster happening again. This ‘Godzilla’ is a reboot of the one from 1954, and not a remake of the badly received 1998 version.

godzilla_In 1999, a couple of researchers are investigating the finding of a massive skeleton under an excavation site in the Philippines, along with a strange cocoon attached to it, and one that has apparently hatched. In Japan, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is worried that the periodical ‘earthquakes’ occurring lately may cause damage unless the nuclear power plant he’s working in is shut down. As his wife (Juliette Binoche) approaches the reactor to check it for damage, a strong tremor causes a breach in the reactor, Joe’s wife’s death, and the collapse of the building. Fifteen years later, Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) lives in the USA but is called to Japan to bail his father out, who’s been trespassing in order to find out what really happened the day his wife died. At the ‘abandoned’ nuclear plant, that has been turned into a military-protected research center, what happened in 1999 starts happening again.

godzillaInterestingly enough, the two characters that looked like main characters in the trailer – Godzilla and Joe (Bryan Cranston) – are the ones you’ll see the least in the movie. I didn’t find this characteristic to be that bad, in regards to Godzilla. It manages to build tension and expectation as you wait for the monster to appear, and it also gives you time to appreciate the monsters Godzilla’s fighting – the so-called MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). But the fact that Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the ‘human lead’, instead of Bryan Cranston, was just bad. Because Mr Kick-Ass isn’t a good actor, has no charisma, and the public doesn’t get anything from the script that can help sympathize with him. He has a wife and small child, and I could really care less, because most of the (too many) actors in the movie are just expendable and forgettable. The dialogues don’t help, either.

godzilla-2014On the bright side, like I said, the movie is tense. Many scenes occur at night, in silence – when all of a sudden a huge monster appears and destroys everything while shrieking maniacally, which is just beautiful. The CGI is great and the cinematography doesn’t disappoint, just like the majestic soundtrack. There aren’t as many action scenes as one would expect, and the MUTOs and Godzilla are gradually revealed, up until the final big fight. The fact that some serious effort has been put into creating an interesting story – and actually, the mere fact that there is a story, gives this movie an automatic thumbs up. All in all, this ‘Godzilla’ is an interesting, tense, fun monster movie to watch, that can be appreciated by newbies and long-term fans of the franchise equally.

Rating:

7-10

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8 thoughts on “We Saw: Godzilla (2014)

  1. Yeah…. I dont think the story is that interesting. Some guy whose dad is crazy wants to get home to his family. And along the way he has the same expression on his face the whole time.

    • Well, when you put it that way, it’s certainly not original, or Oscar-worthy. But still, I think the story was ok, and like I said, it’s amazing there was one and the movie wasn’t just about fighting!

      Silvia

  2. I like your review Silvia – thanks for commenting on ours (on LinkedIn – well Dorian did :)). You know my thoughts – loathed it. Would be happier sitting through the 88 one again as opposed to this and that says something.
    Completely agree with Kick Ass and the greatest letdown ever was lessening the screentime of Walter White. And the fact that Ken Watanabe walked around in a zombielike state the entire film did my head in.
    This film would have worked without a human storyline, besides being crushed like ants underfoot. 🙂
    Here is Kernel Claire’s review – we semi agree 🙂
    http://saltypopcorn.com.au/reviews/godzilla/

    • I think the two movies are very different, in spite of having the same title and theme. The ’98 version is more silly and cheesy, and I don’t think Godzilla looks too scary. This version is more tense and dark, and the fact that Godzilla fights other monsters here I think makes a lot of sense.
      I agree with you on Watanabe – and now that you mention him, I didn’t even notice his performance because he looked so dead inside all the time!
      It would be interesting to watch such a movie with no human storyline. Unfortunately, I don’t think people could appreciate it, because it’s pretty difficult to empathize with giant monsters! 😀

      Silvia

  3. I saw “Godzilla” twice, once in 3D and the other in Dolby Atmos and enjoyed it all the same. The film itself is great with plenty of action to please fans or semi-fans of that genre. I agree the characterization lacked something but when you go see a film of this type, you don’t expect it to dwell on the characters now do you? No matter what’s been said, the film itself is a great sequel to the Japanese film “Gozilla”. i’m looking forward to the sequels being planned.

    • You’re right, these kind of movies don’t usually dwell on the characters, but ‘Godzilla’ really focused on the human characters, and it even managed to develop Bryan Cranston’s character into someone interesting, in spite of the little screen time he got. So, there was will and potential, but that aspect of the movie failed, which is a shame. Thank you for your comment!

      Silvia

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