Directed by: Gareth Edwards
If you are looking to wipe the stain of the memory of Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Godzilla from your memory, and you haven’t as of yet seen this new vision of Toho’s iconic monster (Gojira) rampage across the screen because you have heard “bad stuff” about it, you are simply missing out on one of the finer reboots this reviewer has seen in quite some time. To be sure, we are not a rabid Godzilla fan (we actually didn’t really entirely hate the Emmerich incarnation), but still, we honestly felt that this is quite possibly the best version of series that we’ve ever seen (we always thought the guy in the rubber suit was kinda lame — especially when the the series got goofy with Godzilla having something akin to a human personality). Still, with the CGI and creature effects, this film was amazing.
All-in-all giving an epic rebirth to Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against a pair of malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, and enhanced by exposure to nuclear radiation, threaten our very existence. The Opening credit sequence rolls up over archive footage of nuclear tests from the 1950s, while, very cleverly, random bits of credit information is redacted with strips of white tape. What is revealed is not that these explosions aren’t simply random Nuclear tests but are the military’s attempts to kill Godzilla. Needless to say, it doesn’t.
Flash forward to 1999 when we are introduced to both Ichiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston). Serizawa is a scientist working for Monarch (the organization tasked with monitoring these creatures), who is on the site of a peculiar discovery in the Philippines, and, and Brody the chief engineer at a nuclear plant in Japan. The Philippine creature awakens and travels to Brody’s plant, causing it to melt down (and killing Brody’s wife in the process). Flash forward another 15 years, and Brody’s son is now coming home from 14 months away in the military. Only to discover that his father has been arrested in Japan, and having to go after him.
What really makes this film work (for us, at least) is the human drama that is both preceding and surrounding the eventual appearance of Godzilla and the other MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Sure, sure it could have been two hours of creatures fighting each other and smashing buildings and stuff, but honestly, that isn’t so much a movie that we personally would want to watch.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.