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Theatrical Review: Godzilla

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Godzilla (2014)


The King of the Monsters is back, but the biggest question on everyone's minds is: Do we care? Director Gareth (Monsters) Edwards is joined by a fully-capable cast in the latest outing into monster movie madness. Bryan (Breaking Bad, Argo) Cranston shines in a brief but important role, alongside veterans and newcomers alike in the first legitimate attempt to legitimize a franchise long-spent being scoffed at and judged. Aaron (Kick-Ass, Anna Karenina) Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth (Red Lights, Oldboy) Olsen, Ken (The Last Samurai, Inception) Watanabe, and Sally (Happy-Go-Lucky, Never Let Me Go) Hawkins, Juliette (The English Patient, Chocolat) Binoche, Richard T. (Judging Amy, Super 8) Jones, and David (Good Night and Good Luck, Dolores Claiborne) Strathairn lend their talents to a surprisingly star-studded cast. Cranston outshines every actor in this movie, but if we are to be completely honest with ourselves, everyone's inner eight-year-old has to admit that there is only one true star in this film: the monster himself.

With special effects that make the plot seem feasible and a clunky-yet-full-steam-ahead script that keeps the action going once it finally starts, the second half of this film is a walking conundrum. Half ludicrously-written plot-hole-riddled dreck and half awe-inspiring world-ending amazement, it drops the ball of Sci-Fi 101, much like Edwards' first feature film did back in 2010: it takes itself far too serious. A little suspension of disbelief is always necessary when you deal with subject matter like this, but it can only go so far before it becomes laughable. And after all is said and done, the monster takes center stage and all of the acting talent in the world cannot distract from a giant lizard walking through a highly populated California city.

But the film is not without its cheer-worthy moments. There are several special effects feats that have been tried but never mastered before this film, and they come off perfectly. That suspension of disbelief takes complete control toward the last half of the film, when the director expertly throws the audience into a world where things might not end as happy as the fairy tale predecessors. But again, though this is a monster movie that accomplishes its primary objective of "doing it right" for once, it still is what it is. Take that for what it is worth and see for yourself. Your inner eight-year-old will thank you. And another plus: Matthew Broderick has absolutely nothing to do with this remake.