In 1998, Tri-Star released their Godzilla movie. It bombed at the box office, due to misunderstanding what the appeal of the character was. Now, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have taken their crack at the King of Monsters. Does it measure up to the 60 year legacy that Toho created?
As the opening credits roll, we learn that in 1954, strange sightings of a creature occurred. Then, in 1999, an excavation unleashes an ancient parasite that causes a major accident at a nuclear power plant in Japan. Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) lost his wife in the incident, and in the present day is determined to learn the truth. His son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is an army bomb disposal technician, and just wants to live his life with his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and son. Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) is part of a multinational group studying strange creatures from Earth’s ancient past that may still live. When the parasite starts to awaken, all hell breaks loose, and while the military scrambles to stop it, an ancient creature returns to the surface to hunt the monsters. Its name: Godzilla.
You have no idea how hard it is for me to not start gushing about this film. The acting is top-notch, with Bryan Cranston deserving special mention for his heart-breaking performances in the beginning. The pacing is great, as even without the monsters on screen, the tension is palpable. It’s reminiscent of Jaws or the original Godzilla, with the build-up helping sell the spectacle. The story is great, making the human scenes actually tense and interesting and helping build on the new world, as well as showcasing some great monster action. The music is great, and the design of the new monsters, called the M.U.T.O., are original and frightening.
The real scene-stealer of the movie though is Godzilla. The movie does a great job of building him up, making each teasing shot of his spikes or tail heighten the anticipation. The amount of time he takes to show up may annoy viewers who are only here for the big guy. When he makes his first full appearance, it is awe-inspiring. This iteration of the classic monster character combines the best aspects from all 28 classic films (If you don’t know what I mean, read my article on the original Godzilla movies). He’s a savage combatant, an unstoppable force of nature, and even something of a heroic presence. The CGI actually helps this version express all its best moments in great ways, and when the final scene of the film occurs, you will be cheering in your heart if not physically.
The word “epic” is thrown around a lot lately, and it shouldn’t be used lightly. That said, this film is epic in every sense of the word. The King of The Monsters reigns supreme in one of the best films to come out this summer, if not this year.
– The human story is well-written and acted.
– The visual effects, design and music are top-notch.
– Godzilla is one of the most amazing creatures to appear in films this year.
– Film may take a while to get to the monster action