Film Review – Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla - post

Title – Godzilla (2014)

Director – Gareth Edwards (Monsters)

Cast – Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn

Plot – Jo Brody (Cranston) has a theory about a nuclear power plant disaster that hit Japan in the late 1990’s that many refuse to take heed to, even his distant son and soldier Ford Brody (Johnson). But when similar events start to take place again the world realises that something long laid dormant is about to reacquaint itself with the world.

“The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control… and not the other way around”

Review by Eddie on 16/05/2014

Those seeking summer action film wham-bam-thank-you-mam blockbuster carnage from start to finish in Godzilla are going to be sorely disappointed with this new king of the monsters, but for those with appreciation for finely paced and well-staged action, Gareth Edward’s Godzilla is going to prove highly entertaining and thoughtfully constructed despite not being exactly the hotly anticipated creature feature classic that many perhaps hoped it would be.

Quickly graduating from his debut made-for-under-a-million-dollars feature Monsters to a 160 million dollar large scale reboot of one of the most beloved cinema creations in history, Brit Gareth Edwards had a mighty large task in making a film that not only re-imagined Godzilla for modern audiences but provided heart and soul for the CGI wonderment to take place around and on that front he does a commendable job. Without wishing to spoil much of what occurs throughout the story, the film takes a pretty stock standard approach of distant family members pulling together in time of a world disaster and fills that out with some extremely basic supports from the grizzled military commander through to the token loyal wife and in the form of Ken Watanabe’s scientist one of the most glazed over and gawking acting appearances of the year (seriously just count the times he stands around looking at something as though he has just been hit by a bad case of the stares). With a weak and underused support base Edwards does strike gold with the combo of Johnson and in particular Bryan Cranston who seems to be still on an acting high from his 5 season arc in Breaking Bad and here adds much needed gravitas to the human flavour of the piece, but in the end who really needs these humans when Godzilla is on the loose?

With the CGI star of the piece Godzilla a startling and impressive incarnation (even though the big fella seems to have a penchant for the odd lizard cheeseburger) it’s safe to say this is where Edwards film comes into its own and becomes a must-see big screen adventure. With the films ample and sparingly used set pieces Edwards has proved that while he can handle the human element he excels at the popcorn munching extravagance even more so. Unwilling to spoil many of the films unique set ups it’s safe to say there is enough jaw dropping imagery on display here to safely call Godzilla one of the most visually impressive films you’re likely to witness this year and while the film’s most stunning set piece in the form of a military drop has been seen countless times in the films trailers and adverts there are many other moments of a true epic nature to allow us to call this a feast for eyes. In a stage in motion pictures where CGI has reached all new levels of over-saturation it’s a real joy to behold a film that seems to use its wizardry to realistic and stunning effects.

Godzilla is a finely crafted and immensely entertaining reboot of a franchise that perhaps many thought would now lay long dormant, but thanks to Edwards’ deft touch you get the feeling once again that us mere mortals will find it more than OK to see more of what is on display here. While Godzilla is in itself its own worst enemy: a film held back by a subject that can only take it so far, there is little doubt that this big budget effort is about all you could ever want from a giant radiated lizard going about his business.

3 and a half jungle submarines out of 5

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53 responses to “Film Review – Godzilla (2014)

  1. Interesting, seems to be what most folks are taking from this rebooted G-Man experience. I’m betting my own review around a 7-8/10, which is far as I’m concerned, is great news. Everyone’s expectations are so low from the Roland Emmerich film that, even when you take into account all the hype of this new film, I’m betting most people will be more than satisfied with Edwards’ take on the franchise. If nothing else, it’s a non-superhero/non-Fast and Furious/non-Transformer blockbuster that shakes up the summer monotony. That’s something.

    • Very great thoughts Celtic, I really think Edwards is a film maker of immense talent there were some scenes here that were just utterly fantastic! Great use of some well loved material anyway.
      Eddie

  2. Good to hear. Although it sounds like maybe it could benefit from some additional mayhem (gotta love the MPAA descriptors) it appears it nails the human element. Eager to watch and review.

  3. I thought the movie was too tame, in terms of the monster battles. Also, it wasn’t quite as “epic” as I thought it would be and it’s way too serious.

    I seriously think the movie needed a Jeff Goldblum-Jurrasic Park type character to lighten it a bit. Movie reminded me most of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds— amazing, awe-inspiring sequences but with some pretty dull characters.

    Though, that atomic breath Godzilla does is probably the coolest CGI effect I’ve seen in recent times.

    • Hey Tuan

      I would agree with some of those statements for sure, I have already said to a few buddies that perhaps the film did need some more actual “Godzilla” but whenever he was around the film really ramped up to some pretty awesome levels. Overall though very happy I caught this one on the big screen and is a slight bit better than most other creature features of recent times 🙂
      Eddie

      • If you were stuck on a deserted island and you had two choices: This new Godzilla or Pacific Rim.

        Which one would you watch?

      • Oh very good question! I think for pure sense of fun (and you’d need it being stuck out on this island) you’d have to choose Pacific Rim for just taking itself so not seriously it’s great. Both great visuals spectacles though.
        Eddie

  4. Been highly anticipating this since I heard about Gareth Edwards taking the directorial reigns, so I’m glad to hear he’s restored a fair chunk of the lizard’s pride after the 1998 hatchet job. Great review Eddie!

    Adam.

    • Mate restored is what he did, not sure about the scope to keep continuing on this story but if this is a one off we should be very happy with the effort 🙂
      Eddie

    • Very true mate I did read somewhere that Jaws was a major inspiration here and how it built up terror without even a glimpse of the great white. Edwards really does know his craft.
      Eddie

  5. Nice review. I saw it last night and totally agree about Watanabe. I lost count of the amount of times I saw that thousand yard stare!

    • It was strange wasn’t it man normally he is very reliable but here he was just lost in some seriously bad staring, not a bad way to make some money though. Haha good on him.
      Eddie

  6. In my opinion, this film has corrected everything that the 1998 film ruined and did wrong, and while there are times when Godzilla is not seen much of, it is a hard thing to do, to give the humans in the film as important as a role, something that needs to be done much more these days than what was ok 40-60 years ago and for my part, I am so happy that an American studio finally got Godzilla right.

    I Absolutely Loved It.

  7. Good review, man! I see your points even though I have my own opinions on it. Probably gonna buy this when it comes out as a physical copy. Also, love the “jungle subamarine” thing. (And yes, I do get it).

  8. That soundtrack with the Halo jump is incredible too. I’m glad they kept the 2001 song from the trailer and god it was incredible!

  9. Good review Eddie, I enjoyed the film very much and was actually surprised by the restraint employed in terms of pacing which I felt worked rather well.

  10. It was a great action film – I loved the pacing, and how the fighting wasn’t the fast-flash blurs of most action films in the market nowadays. Pretty disappointing use of any/all of the female cast/characters, but otherwise I was entertained thoroughly.

    • I am very much in the same boat Mike, I think the only other entry I have seen from start to finish though is Roland Emmerichs crime against humanity.
      Eddie

  11. I came out thinking this was a pretty solid 7.5/10. It was big and loud and explosive, which it should have been. But the Showa “Godzilla is a good guy” thing was way out of place, there were huge leaps in logic, and the anti-nuclear weapons message was very nerfed. The pro-US military aspects also felt really inappropriate given the original subject matter. Good for the monster fighting, but everything human or deep was pretty disappointing. Luckily this was a movie where people just wanted to see things explode and fall down. Most of the human acting was so bad that Bryan Cranston was the one who seemed out of place and jarring.

    • Pretty spot on thoughts, I thought Cranston was very solid though and would of liked to see him have more to do to carry the film to stronger territory in the human scales.
      Eddie

      • One of the people I watched the movie with actually said he wished Cranston wasn’t in it at all. His performance was so strong that he set the bar too high for all of the other actor, and they weren’t able to reach it or pick up his slack. Same way that putting a Great White shark on display is going to make the barracudas look a bit less impressive.

  12. This film’s rating n reviews are all over the place from this summer’s disappointment to this summer’s genuine blockbuster. I just don’t know what to expect now. Planning to watch n review it next.

    Excellent write up as always, Ed.

  13. Enjoyed your review even though I really didn’t like this movie. And to answer your question about being stuck on an island with only this and Pacific Rim from which to choose, I believe I’d go swimming (and if my island was like that of Lost, I’d go looking for polar bears instead).
    Joan

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