When I heard that they were going to make another Godzilla film, bad memories came flooding back from the previous attempt in 1998 with Matthew Broderick. I was skeptical that they were not going to get it right. But when the first trailer came out, it gave me goose bumps and that’s a good sign. It looked much darker, more serious, and when I heard that famous roar given by the King of the Monsters that was a sure sign that this film will honor and respect the old Japanese version of Godzilla.
The story focuses on a group of military personnel and scientists trying to prevent total destruction by a group of oversized monsters. The story starts back in the 1950’s nuclear test site where the first sighting of a huge creature. Then it moves ahead to the 1990’s to a strip mine in the Philippines where a couple of scientists, Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Graham (played wonderfully by Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins), find a colossal skeleton and two cocoons with one of them empty. The story then jumps ahead to the present in Japan at the Janjira nuclear power plant. Plant supervisor Joe Brody, played by Bryan Cranston, is called to investigate strange seismic activity that could jeopardize the facility. His wife, Sandra, who is played by Juliette Binoche, is called to check the core of the plant to see what is going on. Something horribly happens and Sandra dies. This triggers a personal mission for Joe to find out what is hell is really going on.
The film tries to incorporate the classic Japanese version of Godzilla with a modern twist. Being true to the old movies, they choose a Japanese actor to bring the essence of the classic style onto the big screen. Ken Watanabe gave us a great performance using his talent in helping us to understand what the world is dealing with. His dramatic skills and his sense of mystery draw the audience in and take us on an exciting ride throughout the film. Bryan Cranston’s character gave us a man trying to understand the madness that turned his life upside down. He brought the sheer madness and determination from his role as Walter White from the hit show Breaking Bad to his role in this film. Aaron Taylor Johnson who plays Ford Brody, Joe Brody’s son, is a military soldier that gets involved with the mission to stop the monsters. We follow him throughout the film witnessing all the craziness and mayhem left by the creatures. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really impressed with his performance. It was mediocre and not memorable. But I had no choice but to follow his journey. Elizabeth Olsen plays Ford’s wife, Ellie. She plays a nurse trying to survive through all this madness. Elizabeth is a wonderful actress and she is very talented, but I think her role and Aaron’s was just an attempt to bring some sort of family values into a monster fight. To be honest, it didn’t have that much of an effect on me. It was nice, but not the main reason why I came to see the film.
Almost every monster movie, the tries to focus more on the human element rather than focusing on the monster, most of the time it works but when you make a film about a monster everybody knows and love, they want to see the monster. Throughout the film, Godzilla is nothing but a shadow in the night, or a scaly fin in the water. The other monsters in the film get more screen time than the big guy. The design of Godzilla was remade to resemble the original, although it looks more like Godzilla on steroids. The scales on the back and the body figure is much more like the original, but the face, arms, and shoulders has a more bulky look to it.. Nevertheless, it is a thousand times better than the previous one back in 1998 with Matthew Broderick. I’m not going spoil any moments in the film, but I will tell you this, I left the theater very happy.
Godzilla has been around for many decades. Many monster movies try to duplicate what Godzilla has mastered, but falls short to deliver, (Cloverfield, King Kong, and Godzilla 1998). Godzilla had been remade twice, but it never captured the magic of the old 1954 classic. This one that came out recently was the closest to the original than any other films in the past decade. I really enjoyed it, and I am certain that they will make a sequel, so I am waiting for that one come out. It was a little too dramatic and slow in the beginning of the film, but then it picked up in the middle and exploded toward the end.
I give this film three movie stubs