Director Gareth Edwards delivers a strong, dramatic movie with monstrous action scenes.
The stink of the 1998 version of “Godzilla” is gone. Now we have director Gareth Edwards’ version, a cohesive popcorn flick that will amaze and never rely too much on action.
Yes, believe it or not, there isn’t enough Godzilla in “Godzilla,” but that’s OK. The movie is still incredible and it is so good, a franchise has been born. A sequel or two must be in the works. Godzilla is his usual destructive self, cities get torn up and the Navy’s efforts to save humanity are mostly useless.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston
Running time: 123 minutes
Budget: $160 million
Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame brings it as a crazed former employee of a Japanese power plant. A massive accident destroys the plant in 1999, killing Joe Brody’s (Cranston) wife. Joe, however, saw this coming: he had noticed unusual seismic activity that was clearly not an earthquake or other natural disaster. Fast forward to present day: Joe’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is all grown up and serving in the Navy. Ford is married to Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and they have a son, Sam (Carson Bolde). Would Ford suffer the same fate as his father, losing his wife to a great disaster?
Like any “Godzilla” movie, there needs to be a professor or doctor to explain everything scientific. That role falls to Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe). To serious Godzilla fans, Dr. Serizawa is an important name — he’s the man who created the oxygen destroyer, the machine that killed Godzilla in the original version way back in 1954.
Wow, Godzilla is 60 years old. And he’s aged well, thanks to this 2014 version. Comparisons will have to be made to the 1998 version, the only other American-made “Godzilla” film. That film was a joke compared to the 2014 incarnation. While the ’98 movie was lighthearted and foolish, the newest installment is serious all the way. You won’t hear any jokes, it’s all anticipation and excitement.
We don’t see Godzilla until about one hour into the film. But the build up is worth it. When we do get a glimpse of the beast it’s all awe. Many moments are memorable, especially the first time Big G uses his atomic breath. The spikes in his tail light up one by one, almost as if it’s an energy meter. The blast and subsequent blasts are major payoffs.
When you finish watching “Godzilla” there is nothing but satisfaction whether you’re a hardcore fan or casual moviegoer. You will think, “Yes, that’s Godzilla,” as opposed to that farce that stumbled into theaters in ’98. The film has a message similar to the 1954 version: beware of the dangers of nuclear weaponry.
Franchise potential will be strong as word of mouth will pump this movie up. And like Marvel Comics has a strong cast of characters, the Japanese film company Toho has a serviceable supply of monsters, most notably Mothra, Rodan, Ghidrah and Mechagodzilla. Don’t be surprised if you see one or more of those creatures starring opposite of Godzilla in the coming years.