Godzilla (2014)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 56%
Overall Rating
Ranked #399
...out of 22,328 movies
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Connections: Godzilla MonsterVerse

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. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: May 18, 2014
I'm sure you could tell from my recent rash of reviews that I've been insanely excited about the new Godzilla. Big G was a huge part of my childhood, and that's held solid into adulthood; I've been watching the classics the last two weeks, I got a whole group of people who wanted to see this together, and I was grinning like a kid at Christmas as I walked into the theater. Did it live up to my hype? Well...

Fifteen years ago, a radioactive chamber was found in the Philippines. Upon further inspection, scientists discover a dormant, unidentified egg, and even more terrifying, an open egg with a trail leading off into the sea. In nearby Japan, Joe Brody is trying to find the cause of the recent spikes in his nuclear power plant. Out of nowhere however, the plant is struck by an EMP that shuts down the safeguards and causes a breech, killing his wife. Fifteen years later, their son, Ford, has relocated to San Fransisco with his wife and kid, and is a skilled U.S. Navy explosives disposal technician who's lost all patience with his estranged father. You see, Joe is absolutely obsessed with the events leading up to his plant's meltdown, and after recently getting arrested for breaking into the quarantine zone to recover his old data from his house, Ford has to return to Japan to bail him out. It seems that the strange signals he was receiving that fateful day has been repeating as of late, and Joe's able convince his son to follow him right back into the quarantine. Naturally, they're both promptly arrested and detained in a military base that's been set up in the old power plant. While people have been telling Joe he's crazy, his rantings catch the attention of the head scientist at this base, Ishiro Serizawa. Unfortunately, his warnings come just a bit too late, as the cocoon they've been watching suddenly hatches, and the insectoid creature that crawls out easily wrecks the place and flies off.

That's not even the worst part. Dubbed a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), the creature has been sending out signals, and when a second creature (larger and unwinged) appears in the Mojave Desert, it becomes obvious that the signals are mating calls, and the two MUTOs are heading toward each other to make some babies. On top of that, Sirizawa reveals that the creatures predate the dinosaurs, and sustain themselves with radioactivity itself. However, there's a third creature that's heard that mating call and has risen from the depths. An alpha predator from that prehistoric period, the mighty Godzilla eagerly begins hunting the MUTOs

As an American studio, the first priority had to be redeeming ourselves for that travesty in 1998, and step one was to not completely redesign the creature into something unrecognizable. Check. Obviously, the monster was still going to be given an update, and for the most part, he looks pretty good. Granted, his face was a little apeish and he was pretty top-heavy (sorry, I don't like my Godzillas fat), but that didn't stop him from looking scary as hell. Even if he was in need of a slimming, he was terrifying, and took advantage of some decent CGI. Big G was a sight to behold, and my theater erupted into applause at his first full-body appearance on screen. With that said, personality-wise, he seems to have fallen into that "protector of the world" role a bit too quickly. Between Serizawa's insistence that he's here to "bring balance to nature" and Godzilla's non-reaction to the fleet of aircraft carriers escorting him across the ocean, the monster's ambivalence towards humanity isn't quite welcome this early in the series, as he never got to achieve the true terror he was back in 1954. Considering this movie is rebooting the character, it really needed to add some punch to his introduction that sadly just isn't there.

You could really say the same thing about his entire role throughout the film. Godzilla doesn't make an appearance until well into the movie, and the majority of the running time is focused on introducing the MUTOs. Even after Godzilla has been properly introduced and has a quick bout with the male MUTO, we simply switch our focus over to the female and Godzilla stays offscreen during his long swim from Hawaii to California. Even when all three arrive and begin to throwdown, the movie still doesn't focus on him.­­­­ As they're fighting, the army has a mission taking them into their battle ground, and we spend a hell of a lot more time watching these soldiers than watching Godzilla. You know, the creature the movie was named after. And this is even extra depressing because the snippets of the fight we actually did get to see was damned good. They were biting, clawing, throwing each other into buildings. And then there was that final kill shot. I literally squealed in the theater. There just wasn't enough of it though. By the time the credits rolled, calling him a secondary character in his own movie is almost too generous.

Now, I said it took over an hour before Godzilla showed up in the movie, but that wasn't exactly a bad thing. In fact, Gareth Edwards played the slow reveal perfectly. Just like Ishiro Honda did sixty years ago, we just get glimpses until that full reveal, and it's well worth the wait. And that full reveal was a hell of a scene. In fact, the visuals are amazing throughout the entire movie. The man knows how to use fog to build a mood, and was able to vary the trick enough that it didn't get old. The HALO scene in particular was gorgeously shot. It was a good thing he was able to make things look so good too, because the actors he had in front of the camera weren't doing him any favors. Nobody was bad per se, but Bryan Cranston aside, everyone was running flat. Normally that wouldn't be a problem in a Godzilla movie, but when you moved the monster to the back burner in favor of people, they better be up to the task. Frankly, this group simply wasn't.

So I liked it. I didn't love it though. The biggest thing it did for me was plant hope for the future. They're already making bank on this movie, and I'm sure they're not going to miss out on the easy cash the sequels are going to bring in. There's an infinite number of stories that could be told to bring Godzilla back into the fray. Hell, Guillermo del Toro's already talking about crossing it over with his Pacific Rim franchise. I initially balked at the idea, until it occurred to me that it'd be the perfect set-up to bring back Mecha-Godzilla. The sky's the limit, and if and when the sequel is announced, I'll be just as excited as I was for this one. 6/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added May 17, 2014 at 11:53pm
I find myself very underwhelmed right now. There was a handful of amazing things in this movie, but sadly, they were strongly outweighed by all the issues I had with it. Maybe it requires a second viewing, as Cloverfield didn't click with me till the second or third time, but for now this gets a 6/10 from me.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added May 19, 2014 at 12:28pm
Saw it a second time within about 15 hours of my first viewing. I actually enjoyed it less, and found myself dozing off in the theater a few times. I'd still go with a 6/10 though, as there are some truly brilliant scenes, and the CGI is absolutely mind blowing.
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