Release date: May 16, 2014
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein
Official website: GodzillaMovie.com
In many ways, Gareth Edwards take on the King of Monsters is exactly the "Godzilla" movie fans have been waiting for. It's big, it's scary, and at times pretty silly. It is, after all, it is a movie that is based on giant monsters fighting each other. It's awesome, in so many ways. But it's also important to keep in perspective what it means to be a great "Godzilla" movie.
The good news is that Edwards stays very true to the roots of the old Toho Studios movies from the 50s and 60s. When a mysterious threat is discovered by a nuclear physicist played by Bryan Cranston, disaster strikes before anyone will listen to his crazy claims. But the disaster is just a cover up for the discovery of a couple of nasty Kaiju (Japanese for strange creature) that look like they could be related to the "Cloverfield" monster. Able to emit an energy that equates to an electro-magnetic pulse, these two creatures, called Mutos, are searching for each other, destroying everything in their path.
Of course, in typical "Godzilla" movie fashion, the only way to stop one threat is to unleash the beast and that means waking up Godzilla to whoop these nasty Mutos before they procreate and then hope he himself doesn't decide to continue that path of destruction. It makes for some intense and thrilling action sequences, but at times it can be a little maddening waiting for the inevitable clash of monsters to finally go down.
It's a simple concept and story, masterfully executed by director Gareth Edwards. The film maintains the classic Godzilla feel throughout. Edwards proves to have a terrific eye for character detail and an ability to deliver epic, jaw dropping imagery. There are times when the film struggles with pacing, but when the monsters are on screen, it's well worth the wait. The FX shots are incredible and the film is definitely worth the IMAX up-charge -- although the 3D is pretty weak -- but the end battle of the film where Godzilla takes on two Mutos is worth the price of admission alone.
Thankfully, the back story involving the humans is interesting enough to keep the movie going in between teases of monster destruction. Cranston is magnificent as the crazed scientist trying to prove he isn't a crazed scientist. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Avengers 2) plays his son, who is also a Naval explosives expert that gets caught up in the hunt for these creatures. His wife is played by Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy, Avengers 2) and the relationship is real enough to root for, but never bogs the story down too much.
"Godzilla" is the first summer movie to pack the punch it promises. Fans of the King of Monsters won't be disappointed. The film begins slow, but intense buildup and culminates with arguably the most brutal and exhilarating movie monster battles that has ever graced the silver screen.
Running time: 123 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence