Godzilla Review

Review of: Godzilla Review
movies:
Matt Donato

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On May 10, 2014
Last modified:August 10, 2014

Summary:

Gareth Edwards' Godzilla made me feel like a wide-eyed, mesmerized child discovering big-budget filmmaking for the first time - a nostalgic blast of magic of iconic sorts.

Godzilla Review

godzilla-aaron-taylor-johnson

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot is the exact prescription needed to eliminate lingering side-effects of Roland Emmerich’s poorly conceived, atrociously executed 1998 disaster, which posited Godzilla as nothing but another reptilian Hollywood monster. How sad a film that was, wasting Japan’s mightiest protector by ignorantly dismissing every intriguing detail about the giant creature, forgetting he’s more savior than villain. Edwards and his team (writers Max Borenstein and Dave Callaham) understand Godzilla’s true nature, what he represents, and the battle that wages in his presence. What’s more, they honor this rare export in a beautifully artistic Kaiju Big-Battle type of way that makes Cloverfield‘s scale seem like child’s play. No Matthew Broderick, no little Godzillas, no getting tangled in the Brooklyn Bridge – just humanity’s survival hinging on gargantuan monsters and mass destruction. The way Godzilla should be.

In this Godzilla, scientists have long known of super-creatures who feed on radiation and have attempted to keep the beasts under wraps. MONARCH was created for the sole purpose of studying these mystical beasts, keeping tabs on creatures most thought previously dead. However, after a catastrophic “meltdown” at a Japanese nuclear power plant, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) refuses to accept that only a natural disaster caused the death of his wife and gets on the trail of these creatures. Years after the disaster, Joe still lives in Japan, studying sonic sound and Richter scale readings in hopes of finding whatever caused an entire plant to crumble around him. His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), along with most sane minds, think he’s crazy, but when the same readings from the meltdown present themselves years later, the Brody boys find themselves in the middle of a secret conspiracy filled with planet-destroying monsters, nuclear warfare, the fate of mankind, and a legendary beast that could be our only hope – Godzilla.

Chills, people. Literal chills were shooting down my spine as Godzilla appeared for the first time, similar to Jurassic Park’s Tyrannosaurus Rex reveal that wowed audiences in 1993. The fanboy in me rejoiced, the cinema fan in me wanted to graciously applaud, and the nerd in me wanted to hug Gareth Edwards, who captures everything that Toho’s Godzilla represented. Man’s biggest mistake is audaciously assuming invincibility, but Godzilla finds people slowly realizing they are just tiny ants caught in a massive battle that they have no control over. Ken Watanabe’s character, Daisuke Serizawa, states, “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control… and not the other way around,” transforming Godzilla from a creature feature into an all-out disaster film. Emmerich’s biggest mistake was squaring military forces against Godzilla; luckily, Edwards recognizes the sheer futility of machine guns, missiles, and tanks against nature’s mightiest warrior.

godzilla-2014-remake-trailer

Godzilla is a balancing force, fighting those creatures who threaten mankind, while all us humans can do is watch, praying casualties are limited while staring in disbelief at the lizard dragon monster beating down two terrestrial forms attempting to nest in San Francisco. I can’t stress the helplessness and despair that Edwards’ film hits upon, removing goofy blockbuster plotlines in favor of Godzilla’s massive scale, tragic nature, and relentless assault of sci-fi excitement. So much respect and honor is paid to Ishirō Honda’s now-classic costumed city-crusher, from character Easter Eggs to Godzilla’s range of attacks, keeping true to form even considering the beast’s physical appearance. Standing tall, Godzilla is a marvel to behold, readying himself for battle like a scaly sumo wrestler, emitting an altered take on the iconic roar that doubles as a hair-raising battle cry.

Drawing parallels between the beast and star Aaron Taylor-Johnson at times, Edwards characterizes Godzilla through personality and interaction. He’s not just some unstoppable beast – he’s a living, emoting beast who just happens to be miles high. Godzilla’s personality has been tarnished by so many previous efforts utilizing ‘Zilla for nothing but commercial value, and it’s Edwards’ film that captures Godzilla’s warrior spirit once again. Sure, Taylor-Johnson’s predicament doesn’t EXACTLY correlate to Godzilla’s ongoing battle, but those few moments where the duo lock eyes formulate a strange connective bond between man and beast – and show that the film is recognizing Godzilla as more than just being a mere set piece. Without such a warmly crafted relationship, Godzilla would simply be about humans watching creatures fight while hoping enough cityscape is left to inhabit when the dust settles – a strong theme that’s thankfully not ignored, but the chaos finds a weightier gravity through our protective love of Godzilla himself.

While Godzilla sports an incredibly strong cast, names like Pitt and Damon aren’t fleeing the monster’s destruction. Taylor-Johnson has proven himself as Kick-Ass, but besides the uber-violent comic book adaptation, his name doesn’t resonate through all audiences like a typical summer blockbuster cast would. Likewise, Cranston has exploded thanks to Breaking Bad, and rightfully so, but he lacks huge name recognition amongst commonplace movie fans.

Then there’s Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe – all phenomenal performers who work wonders in Edwards’ reboot yet avoid limelight attention that recognizable casting typically ignites. Every actor does their best to capture the inherent fear created, be it Olsen’s front-row seat to Godzilla’s heavyweight bout or Watanabe’s understanding of nature’s order. Throughout the entire film, we’re constantly reminded of how helpless humans are in the face of dangers that are completely beyond our immediate control.

Godzilla_2014_Trailer_-_First_Screenshot[1]

It’s Edwards’ grand vision that breathes fresh new life into the Godzilla franchise, establishing humanity’s inferior status beneath nature’s other inhabitants. So many scenes flash just a portion of Godzilla, be it one gigantic foot stomping over an airport or a patch of belly scales as military officers look on with horror at the dinosaur dwarfing skyscrapers and battling winged adversaries. Godzilla is a larger-than-life adrenaline rush that’s established by Edwards’ comparative scaling, always framing Godzilla so his gargantuan size can be easily understood.

Taylor-Johnson’s HALO jumping scene continually replays in my mind for this very reason. We watch from our falling soldier’s point of view as Godzilla battles MUTO,  yet we’re level with Godzilla’s eyes while the ground is still nowhere in sight. We feel like a tiny fly buzzing around Godzilla’s massive head, which just emphasizes man’s insignificance in the face of large radiation-loving beasts. Everything Edwards proved with Monsters is exponentially improved upon throughout Godzilla when analyzing pacing, tonal entertainment, and picturesque visuals. In essence, Edwards succeeds in shutting down the haters while simultaneously validating his believers.

Godzilla is a rejuvenating return to form after ‘Zilla was shamefully reduced to a Saturday morning cartoon, restoring a cinematic icon’s tarnished reputation. Boasting a proud, ferocious roar, all other summer blockbusters now have to follow Edwards’ show-stopping opener – an act no movie should choose to follow. This year’s Godzilla is a magnificent blend of Toho’s iconic creature features and modern day Hollywood marvels, rivaling recent monster smash-hit Cloverfield‘s grand size and unimaginable scope. Reborn for a new generation, this is the definitive reboot fans have been wishing for, allowing Godzilla to proudly wear his crown as universal ruler once again – hail to the king, baby.

Godzilla Review
Fantastic

Gareth Edwards' Godzilla made me feel like a wide-eyed, mesmerized child discovering big-budget filmmaking for the first time - a nostalgic blast of magic of iconic sorts.

Comments (66)

We've migrated from our usual commenting platform and unfortunately were not able to migrate the comments over. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

  1. joeybotsays:

    Ugh, Godzilla as a savior of the people…puke. 1954 Godzilla was great, after that they’ve pretty much been shitty kids movies.

    1. Patrick Cremeanssays:

      He’s not a savior of the people. Look up “anti-hero.”

      1. joeybotsays:

        I’m not sure a monster can be an anti-hero…but in the Toho cheesefests, he was absolutely a savior. A monster attacks a city and kills lots of people, some children yell out “where’s Godzilla?” And Godzilla shows up and kills the monster and then leaves peacefully, leaving behind a zero bodycount of people. That’s what we call a savior.

      2. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        What movies were you watching? By definition Godzilla was typically an antihero.

      3. Guestsays:

        Joey may need to go back to English class!LOL!!! In short terms, Joey, the antihero is a hero the hero who lacks things like ethics, morality, or other things that most humans generally think about. Of course Godzilla does not have these things because he IS “nature.”!!!!! Nature takes control and treats us like ants while he balances out the problems on earth that we create.

      4. joeybotsays:

        Looks like they deleted my rebuttal. It was a few clips of children calling for Godzilla to help, and then he does.

      5. Robsays:

        In short terms, Joey, the antihero is a hero the hero who lacks things like ethics, morality, or other things that most humans generally think about. Of course Godzilla does not have these things because he IS “nature.”!!!!! Nature takes control and treats us like ants while he balances out the problems on earth that we create.

      6. joeybotsays:

        Except in those Toho movies, Godzilla is specifically a hero. He joins with the humans to fight monsters. He’s the savior of little children, they call for him and he comes…I put up a clip of this but looks like the powers that be deleted it. He’s never shown to stomp people after the initial few movies. Maybe he’s like that NOW, I don’t know because I stopped watching Godzilla movies because I’m not 10 anymore.

      7. Ian Greenesays:

        I’m sorry but, dude, GODZILLA STARTED OUT AS AN ALLEGORY FOR THE ATOMIC BOMB! DO SOME RESEARCH YOU DUMBASS!

      8. joeybotsays:

        Uh oh, it sounds like I got a little nerd mad!

        Yeah, I know what Godzilla started out as…and I know that Godzilla started out by stomping stuff. BUT, idiot, it’s real clear by the 70s Toho turned Godzilla into a full blown hero.

        And like I said, maybe it’s different now and he’s an antihero, but I don’t watch those movies because I’m not a little kid (or a nerd).

      9. DemonKingAsurasays:

        Someone didn’t watch the 80’s and 90’s films, where he is an anti-hero who doesn’t care about anything else but destroying anyone who threatens his territory, humans be damned.

      10. joeybotsays:

        Well yeah, like I said above I don’t watch stuff like that because I’m not a little kid who wants to watch two guys in suits punching each other.

      11. DemonKingAsurasays:

        Aww, Did I rustle some jimmies? Too bad.

        You missed my point entirely, and you are acting more childish then any little kid ever would.

      12. joeybotsays:

        Why do I sound mad to you? Just saying I’m not watching any movies about guys in suits punching each other. You threatened by that?

        And your point was ignoring mine, so who cares.

      13. DemonKingAsurasays:

        No, not at all.

        It’s showing yours is wrong, that you don’t care about facts, or that you miss out on effects that pretty much helped usher in animitronics and motion capture possible.

        Yes, without the guys in rubber suits, motion capture and animitronics would be far different then it is today.

      14. joeybotsays:

        Great, so what? Same goes for The Thing and Predator and Star Wars, and I’d really rather watch them.

        And Godzilla WAS a hero last time I stopped watching, so I’m right.

      15. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        No, you’re not right. The later films exist whether you watched them or not. Godzilla was sure as fuck not a hero in the orignal film, or most of the sequels. And if you hate the Toho films so much because of the suits then why the hell are you even commenting? Piss off.

      16. joeybotsays:

        No whiny baby, I don’t think I will. I said Godzilla was a hero, and at one time, he was, so you can’t say he’s an antihero…he may be NOW, but he hasn’t been ALWAYS. So go jerk it to some comics, if you can still open the pages )because of all the spooge already in them).

      17. Robsays:

        That’s true…they did turn him into a hero in later films. Oh come on and have some fun, man! Heck, I am 44 and going to see it…sometimes it’s fun to be an old kid! LOL!

      18. joeybotsays:

        Oh I’m definitely going to see THIS movie!

  2. jack ryansays:

    The first time we see this new Godzilla is actually in a Fiat Commercial puking up cars. And guess what? No “chills”. Let’s be honest – there is no need for this movie. Godzilla has been made, re-made, sequeled & then re-booted so many times it’s hard to keep count. Grand vision? Give. Me A. Break. Yes, it’s a disaster movie alright. But not in the sense you may be thinking – this movie will Bomb. Big time. And since this is the last product by the combo of Warner Bros. & Legendary Pics, it’s appropriate.

    1. Patrick Cremeanssays:

      The film is officially tracking for a $75 million+ opening weekend and is getting spectacular buzz. No bomb here. There was ONE Godzilla remake/reboot, 16 years ago in 1998.

      1. Roshansays:

        Yep..it is..can`t wait

      2. jack ryansays:

        Just a bit of education: From Forbes: Hands down, “Godzilla” will be the biggest box office
        bomb of 2014. Godzilla as a character is box office poison. The fact is the last 3 Godzilla movies released domestically have flopped: “Godzilla 1985” made $4M; “Godzilla 2000” made a whopping $10M and the last attempt at a Hollywood-style big budget remake, also called “Godzilla” bombed so bad that its lead toy licensee went bankrupt.
        Had the movie made a profit the studio wouldn’t have just let the rights expire in 2003 without even attempting a reboot or sequel. They had 5 years to make a new film based on this property yet they passed. Think about it—Sony, the studio that greenlights sequels to most anything—”Resident Evil 6″ is on the horizon and don’t forget about “Underworld 5″—walked away from investing another cent in Godzilla.

        Feel free to read the whole article online there as well as many others.

      3. Timothy Fostersays:

        lol, you’re comparing low budget, limited release Toho Godzilla films to Hollywood produced releases.

        If this movie is better than G1998, it will do fine. IMAX tickets also help.

      4. jack ryansays:

        The part I posted was merely a sample.I see you didn’t even bother to read the whole article. Nor I am sure the other multitudes out there on the subject. But who knows? Maybe you and your friends can go over and over at the IMAX to help out..

      5. Timothy Fostersays:

        The article is about 3 months old, I’ve read it. I think Forbes is out of their element on this.

      6. JDKsays:

        And if it doesn’t flop, will you agree that you and Forbes are uneducated when it comes to film and box office returns (human beings are a lot more subjective than Forbes)? Or will you just lie to yourself and say, “Well, the world is full of idiots!” That’s what most monkeys do…

      7. Franksays:

        -I read the article-
        I don’t quite agree with the comparison to John Carter. The marketing for the film was absolutely terrible. This is not the case for Godzilla and the marketing campaigns that they’ve been running have all been pretty cool and seem to be effective. In terms of being compared to Pacific Rim, that might be a more apt comparison, but even then I think there are some major differences. One being that Pacific Rim isn’t a decades old franchise and isn’t name that anybody recognizes. Godzilla is. Secondly, and more importantly, it stars one of the hottest actors right now, Bryan Cranston. Cranston is hot off the heels of Breaking Bad and is a household name. Pacific Rim didn’t have any star power remotely close to the draw of Cranston currently nor did John Carter..

      8. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        Are dubbed foreign b-movies supped to be domestic box office blockbusters?

      9. Robsays:

        And you sir are no Godzilla fan! Probably don’t even understand the premise. Forbes….smh…who gives a hell what Forbes thinks…boring,suit, wankers!!!

      10. AuDog8says:

        Jack, you’re an idiot. Personal nostalgia for the property aside, parents will take their kids (albeit more sons than daughters) to se this in DROVES. As for the car commercial, welcome to Business 101. Has nothing to do with the end product. As for the “reboots”, those occurred in Japan (Roland/Emmerich’s crapfest was a re-imagining), an entirely different market, and ya know what, the Japanese WANTED those movies, as much as the horror fans of the 80’s and 90’s here kept going back to the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th…As for “need?” who made you the Director of Zeitgeist? It’s never been need. From everything I’ve heard, Edward’s has given Godzilla fans the movie we want, regardless of whether we need or deserve it.

      11. Sentinelsays:

        For all your bravado, you keep getting things wrong. 1984’s Godzilla was a reboot, and then 1998, and now this. That makes 3. Also, Godzilla WAS saviour of the people – and in Edwards’ film he actually uses it as a news headline in homage to it. And yes, I’ve seen it.

      12. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        HOLLYWOOD reboots. Keep up. And Godzilla is not a savior of the people, as he kills hundreds of thousands of them. It’s called an anti-hero.

    2. Slop_j30says:

      A car commercial didn’t give you chills? You, sir, are made of stone.

    3. Drew Douglassays:

      Someone get this guy his own movie blog!

      1. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        No thanks, there’s enough clueless pompous twats online already.

      2. Matt Stewartsays:

        Especially in the movie community.

    4. Franksays:

      Honestly, that Fiat Commercial was unnecessary. However, this film will be quite the opposite from bombing. I was lucky enough to view a pre-screening last week and it surely turned my expectations around and out the window. I would appropriately consider this Godzilla film “Re-Mastered” on so many aspects. Give this movie a try. (:

    5. Matt Stewartsays:

      Have you seen the film?

      1. jack ryansays:

        No – and I never claimed to have seen it. And I will remain in the majority by not seeing it.

      2. Matt Stewartsays:

        I didn’t think so. I do find it interesting, however, that you criticize the author’s use of “grand vision” without having seen a film.

      3. Namesays:

        The fact that you’re acting self-righteous over not seeing a monster movie of all things says many, many unpleasant things.

      4. jack ryansays:

        It’s not my fault if the truth and facts are unpleasant to you.

      5. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        What truth and fact? Already 3 positive reviews on RT and big tracking.

      6. jack ryansays:

        Wow? Really??Three whole reviews? My god – what was I thinking! And some positive reviews for a monster movie always determine what is profitable and what is not.

      7. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        5 reviews now. All positive. IGN fives it a 9/10.

      8. Robsays:

        I am excited about this film, Patrick, as I usually am not as excited about the Marvel or DC films now…we know they are formula, but these reviews have me pumped to go see something new and special! Jack knows jack ass about the movie he has never seen! I am pumped!!!!

      9. Matt Stewartsays:

        Let’s see. At the top of the comments you express a remarkable lack of knowledge on the concept of preview screenings. Then, you criticize a person’s view on a film that you have not seen. This is intellectual bankruptcy at its finest. Oh my gosh.

      10. Ursasays:

        Someone get this hothead outta here!

      11. Namesays:

        >Deflecting this hard

        I have no idea how good this movie will be until I see it for myself. And it’s not like Forbes is 100% right all the time.

        Really, you’re marching into a comments section, purposefully antagonizing these people whom you know aren’t going to agree with you. What is so fulfilling about just starting shit on the internet, exactly?

      12. Robsays:

        Your truth would only hold weight if you even saw the film for us….can’t even understand that???? What school did you go to because they should revoke your comic book degree! You haven’t even seen the film…enough said!

      13. chronikhecklersays:

        Jacky’s too busy getting a natural high of being a real-life ‘Comic Book Guy’.

        Sitting at his desktop, wearing a stained t-shirt two sizes too small with empty Pepsi cans and Fritos crumbs scattered about, I can hear him now: “WORST GODZILLA MOVIE EVER!!!”

      14. chronikhecklersays:

        After your 247th post of “Why Godzilla will suck” we get it Jack.

        The movie will bomb and you are awesome for saying it will bomb. We get it Jack, honestly we do. *SIGH*…

        Now, do yourself a favor, get out of the house and find yourself a girlfriend.

      15. Robsays:

        Blahaha!!!! Best one on here!!!! The guy is a party pooper for sure! I am looking forward to this movie! Go see it, and come back when you are educated, Jack!

      16. Robsays:

        Jack just admitted that he doesn’t know jack, is self-righteous, and has no f’ing clue! That all adds up to …loser, uneducated person, no one should listen to!

      17. CutPrintChrissays:

        Remember when you were like, “This movie will bomb because FORBES said so!” and “I will remain in the MAJORITY by NOT seeing it!” Boy were you wrong. And I didn’t even LIKE the movie that much, but I remember this was one of the first reviews posted for it, and I remember you going on and on about how it would bomb. Well today it was announced it made 93 million already, on its opening weekend. So I just wanted to come back and say, HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA IDIOT.

  3. Greatestsays:

    This movie was the best all around movie, drama, action, thriller, acting , the Jurassic park of this generation, there were people with tears in their eyes at the end, apparently they were mesmerized by how well of a movie it was, the ambience music build up in the scenes itself gives you the chills and excitement throughout the whole movie, I cannot imagine there being a better movie this year and there are lots of blockbusters to come still!

    1. jack ryansays:

      Really. It’s not even in theaters. Yet, not only have you seen it but people in this non-existent theater have “wept” at the “Jurassic Park” of their generation. Wow. Desperate much?

      1. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        MANY preview screenings were held over the last week.

      2. jack ryansays:

        Guess I missed all those stories about weeping and Jurassic Park references. Sounds more like plants and marketing to me. But that’s NEVER happened before, so maybe it’s just me..

      3. Patrick Cremeanssays:

        I guess you didn’t read any of the twitter reactions, even Seth Green raved about it.

      4. Roshansays:

        Yes there has been a lot of screenings for this movie..the movie will be well reviewed and received.Do wait and watch

      5. Ursasays:

        Will you drop aegis on death?

      6. Matt Stewartsays:

        Yeah, it’s not like there are preview screenings for pretty much every movie to come out in theatres or anything… Oh wait

  4. Roshansays:

    That was an awwesomme review bro…! really liked your tagline about being a child..Just can`t wait for seeing this epic movie..

All Posts