Godzilla

Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Max Borenstein (screenplay), Dave Callaham (story)
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston


FILM REVIEW: GODZILLA 2014

3 Stars Godzilla 2014

This 60 year old monster character gets a reboot, a lot of CGI, and a safe and efficient family-friendly wrap-around story to set it loose again stomping cities into rubble.

The CGI is well done and highly detailed. Coming on the heels of last years Pacific Rim, Godzilla 2014 has the task of not boring anyone who is familiar with del Toro's giant robot film. On the other hand, if you are a viewer with familiarity with Godzilla vs Mothra, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Destroy all Monsters, etc., then seeing the new Godzilla repeatedly take on two hook-clawed bug-like monsters and in the process flattening a few cities will probably provoke deja vu. The effects are of course much better in this film and are on an epic scale never attempted in the old days of scale model cities and acrobatic men in lizard suits rolling over them.

I wonder if this could have been a slightly better film with 10 or 15 minutes cut out of it, chiefly the repetition in the action and family back-story. Godzilla is written by Max Borenstein and Dave Callaham and has a concise cycle of sub-plots which all work out and tie together by the ending. There's not much humor in the dialogue, and that's the same with the film direction (Gareth Edwards does the honors), but with a back-log of many schlocky Godzilla films from the past to haunt potential viewers, I can see why Warner Bros played the story close to their chest as a straight giant monster film. This film combines a science-fiction tone along with abundant action sequences involving military weapons and equipment, which is a direct transference from the long string of Toho films that appeared over six decades since the original Gojira of 1954 which first presented Godzilla in cinemas.

In Old Japan

The main thrust of this tale is the tragedy of the Brody family, professional Americans in Japan who are involved in the running of a nuclear power facility. When it is destroyed by vague causes that kills the mother (Juliet Binoche as Sandra Brody), the father (Bryan Cranston) suspects a cover-up of silence is hiding the truth and promptly pursues finding it from an apartment headquarters that looks like the set of Mel Gibson's crazed conspiracy-obsessed character in the film Conspiracy Theory. There are newspaper articles pinned to every inch of the wall, charts and notes as father Brody furiously tries to piece together the information about the horrorific debacle that killed his wife (which he painfully played the main part in).

As tortured (and luney) as father Brody appears to be, he is actually close to the truth (which superficially echoes the true-life Fukashima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011) but his son Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) grows up confused and angry about the never-healing wound of family loss, and makes his own life in the states as a member of the United States military.

This is convenient because the nominal heroes of Godzilla 2014 are military units that hopelessly try to stop the giant monsters that are nearly impervious to man-made weapons (in fact, the monsters of the tale eat nuclear warheads like vienna sausages, seeking out radiation the way aficionados search for chinese food).

The theme of the film is sacrifice in the face of long-odds, and that the natural system of the earth has several aces up its sleeve in order to deal with unexpected problems. Most of what happens in Godzilla isn't surprising, but it is well-packaged and the story makes complete sense by the end. The humans of the tale are, instead of being rapacious villains wrecking the planet for greed, simply very small creatures who cannot measure up to the enormous monsters that start stalking the planet.

Analysis

Visually the film is powerful. Though not ending with a plea for a sequel, there is plenty of ambiguity to allow for one. The actors in Godzilla perform effectively their character types as the clock-like workings of the plot bring the story to the end. Drawing upon popular imagery that echoes both Fukashima and the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, Japanese and American iconography are married together with the pop-icon image of Godzilla. In a way, Godzilla 2014 attempts far more than has been attempted with the Godzilla story since the 1954 Gojira, the original movie which focused on the terror of atomic explosions, a film story partially spawned by the real life bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Top Earning World Wide Superhero Films

List Updated Dec 20, 2017

Ranked by World Wide Earnings

*Currently in release in movie theatres

  1. The Avengers (2012 Marvel Studios) $1,511,757,910 Billion
  2. Avengers Age of Ultron (2015 Marvel Studios) $1.402 Billion
  3. Iron Man 3 (2013 Marvel Studios) $1,212,795,474 Billion
  4. Captain America Civil War: $1,153,294,011
  5. Dark Knight Rises (2012 Warners) 1,081,036,828 Billion
  6. The Dark Knight (2008 Warners Bros) $1,004,558,444 Billion
  7. Spiderman 3 (2007 Sony) $890.9 Million
  8. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony 2017) $880,166,924
  9. Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (Warners 2016) $872,662,631
  10. Thor: Ragnarok (Disney 2017) $842,394,757
  11. Wonder Woman (2017 Warners) $821,863,408 Million
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017 Marvel-Disney) $863,565,527 Worldwide

25. Justice League (Warners DC) $636,616,917


Godzilla Poster 2014
Original Page May 25, 2014
GODZILLA Collection Movies