Reel Freak

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Review – Godzilla (2014)

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Godzilla makes for a great start to the Summer, and does the long-lived King of Monsters some serious justice.  The suspense leading to its final act seems long and drawn out, but once it arrives you forget the wait completely.  Making effective use of modern CGI effects, it also looks and feels like a classic monster flick.

In 1999, scientists Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Graham (Sally Hawkins) travel to the Philippines to to analyze a giant skeleton and two egg-like pods that were discovered underground.  Appearing that one of the eggs had hatched, and that something unidentified made its way to the ocean, an explosion at a nuclear plant in Japan releases radiation into the atmosphere.  Plant supervisor Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife in the explosion and the plant is destroyed.

Fifteen years later, Brody’s son Ford (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) is now in the U.S. Navy, living in California with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and their son.  He travels to Japan when he is informed that his father was caught trespassing in the wreckage of the nuclear plant.  Joe ropes Ford into traveling back down into the plant’s debris, where they find that there isn’t any radiation where there should be.  They are able to retrieve disks which contain information that could expose a government cover-up about what really caused the explosion.

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Serizawa meets with Joe, and explains that the creature discovered years earlier was a MUTO, a terrestrial creature that feeds off radiation.  It turns out the MUTO has been hunted by what scientists call “Godzilla”, an even larger creature.  The MUTO’s existence has been covered up after failed attempts to rid of it, and finally escapes captivity and starts wreaking havoc on civilians.  In response, the massive Godzilla emerges from the ocean in an attempt to fight off the MUTO.

Meanwhile, the second egg that had yet to hatch ends up hatching, revealing a female MUTO.  The two MUTO’s go up against Godzilla to fight in California, while the U.S. military plans to rid of all three creatures with a nuclear weapon.  However, it seems to be a problem when the two MUTO’s consume nuclear warheads like candy.   A massive fight then breaks out, with a 2-on-1 challenge that Godzilla must face to keep its dominance.

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The Good: 

  • Incredible suspense that keeps the story going
  • The CGI used on Godzilla and the MUTO creatures looks top-notch
  • Fighting between creatures seems flawless
  • The desire for more with an already-announced sequel on the way

The Not-So-Good:

  • So-so acting which seems to rely solely on the supporting roles of Cranston and Watanabe
  • A slow-paced film for the most part until the final act
  • Scenes that are drawn out and sometimes seem disposable
  • While director Gareth Edwards does a solid job with his first big directorial outing, the movie leaves a lot to be desired, and some elements seem to fall flat.

My Rating: 7.5/10

3.5 stars

 

Written by Josh Sazin on 5/21/14

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