Godzilla (2014)

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The monster known sometimes as Big G, Godzilla, makes an impact in his return to Hollywood and done right this time around.

Fifteen years after his mother’s death, Navy bomb expert Ford Brody has returned from service to reunite with his wife Elle and son Sam. However, the reunion is short-lived as Ford is sent to head to Japan. The reasoning involves his father, Joe, a former power plant supervisor. Joe needs Ford’s help in determining the cause of a meltdown that resulted in Ford’s mother’s death. They soon learn that in the fifteen years since the tragedy, a chrysalis has formed, and a winged-monster has now emerged from that chrysalis, causing massive chaos as Joe is killed. Ford and two scientists, Drs. Serizawa and Graham, help Ford escape.

The winged creature is known to the military as a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or MUTO. Serizawa tells Ford of a creature that had awoken decades ago known as Godzilla. When attempts to kill the creature proved to not work, the company Monarch were sent to study Godzilla and other creatures, known as Titans. When the MUTO attacks a submarine and brings it to Hawaii, Godzilla arises after being dormant for many years and begins to attack the MUTO before it escapes. Meanwhile, a second MUTO has emerged and has hit Las Vegas. Realizing that nuclear warheads are a source of power for these creatures rather than destroying them, a final warhead is brought to San Francisco, where the MUTOs plan to harness its power. However, one thing stands in their way and his name is Godzilla.

It’s no question that when Sony attempted to bring the iconic Godzilla to an American audience via an original film, fans were not happy with the really disastrous look created for the monster. This led Toho to bring back the character in true form from 1999 to 2004 with the final film for a decade, Godzilla: Final Wars. Flash forward a decade later and Hollywood finally did something right with this take on Godzilla.

The film offers an interesting look at first, combining the military forces with the monsters and two, seeing Godzilla not as a threat, but someone who serves more as a protector. While the original 1954 classic showed Godzilla as a threat to humanity, here he lives more to the reputation of the later films as more of a hero. T.J. Storm, a veteran martial artist and film/TV star, took on the motion capture role of Big G himself and does a great job emulating Godzilla’s movements of old and the CGI is a thousand times better than the atrocity seen in the 1998 version.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, best known for his role in the Kick-Ass films, is pretty good as Ford, a Navy officer who finds himself in a bind when first his reunion with his family is short-lived and then, during his trip to Japan, loses a love one in his father, played by Bryan Cranston. This sets up the motions for the rest of the story. However, a saving grace in terms of the human performances comes in the form of Ken Watanabe, whose Serizawa is a vital part of the story as he is the one who explains Godzilla’s origin and the fact they the attempts to kill him were proven futile.

The monster battles are the highlights of the film. Compared to what we have seen in terms of Godzilla films, for something that is made up of motion capture and CGI, they are exciting to watch. Garrett Warren does an amazing job choreographing the fights between Big G and the MUTOs. They are exciting to watch and make any Godzilla fan excited.

Godzilla is a rightful version of what Hollywood should do with an iconic character. The look is just right and the battles are exciting. If there was only more monster stuff as opposed to the human side of things, then it would be considered epic. But, it’s good for what it brings.

WFG RATING: B

A Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures production in association with Toho Co. Ltd. Director: Gareth Edwards. Producers: Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, and Jon Jashni. Writers: Max Borenstein; story by Dave Callaham; based on the character created by Toho Co. Ltd. Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey. Editing: Bob Ducsay.

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Richard T. Jones, Victor Rasuk, Carson Bolde, T.J. Storm.

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