June 20, 2014

Theatrical Review: Godzilla (2014)

This latest entry into the Godzilla Pantheon seems to have critics and audiences strongly divided.

Half of those who have seen it are praising it for not only its awesome monster action, but for the human story that makes up the larger part of the movie.

Most everyone else who have seen it are calling Godzilla (2014) over-long, boring, and far too light on monster action. In all fairness, the movie does take nearly an hour to get to said action.

As far as our opinion goes, we feel both ways about Godzilla (2014).

Yes, there is far more human drama in this movie than there is Godzilla & Muto mayhem, and sure, we would have loved to have seen more of the massive beasts on screen, but that doesn't mean that were weren't happy with what we got.

The fact is that most people who are doing the complaining about there being "not enough Godzilla" or too many "people scenes" are totally forgetting that that is par for the course for most Toho Godzilla flicks of old:

  • The first hour of the old Toho Godzilla movies: Various flashes of monsters running amok, and people sitting around talking and doing random things.
  • The last 30 minutes of the old Toho Godzilla movies: Godzilla shows up and hands everybody their asses.

This 2014 Godzilla effort is exactly in line with the classic Toho flicks of old, and anyone who tells you any different has no clue what they're talking about.

We're not going to spend too much time breaking down the plot of Godzilla, because who cares; we're here to see monsters destroying shit, and honestly, the hows and whys don't matter all that much in the end. That said...

The opening credits prologue give us our first teasing glimpse of Godzilla circa 1954, where we see that the army is trying to kill him, and he's just basically laughing them off.

Guys, you're only pissing him off with the whole H-Bomb thing, so just stop.
We jump froward to 1999 where a bunch of researchers in the Philippines find the massive skeleton of a Kaiju, along with two cocoons; one of which has hatched, it's occupant leaving a messy trail to the sea. In Japan, Walter White is working at a nuclear power plant, presumably cooking meth in a hidden sub-basement. When his newest batch of Blue Sky explodes, the plant goes into meltdown, and his wife dies, and he gets real, real sad.

We jump forward once more to the present day to find Walter White in a Japanese jail for being crazy, and his son Ford having to go and bail him out. Ford has never forgiven his dad for letting meth kill his mom, so they don't talk much these days, but when the rogue Kaiju start destroying cities, the estranged father and son duo are forced into action to save the world!

Just kidding, it's Godzilla who saves the world!
Will Ford Brody (wtf is with that name?) ever make it back to his smoking hot wife? Will the Mutos destroy the world and eat all of its nuclear power? Will Godzilla show up with 20 minutes left in the movie and put an ass-whipping on everything in sight? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but the movie ends with Godzilla doing a perfect impression of John Bender while "Don't you forget about me" plays in the background.

*Drops the mic and walks offstage*
We'll be the first to admit that Godzilla needed way more actual Godzilla in it, but then again that's always been our complaint with most Godzilla movies. We can't tell you how many Toho flicks we've watched where we had to endure long stretches of badly dubbed exposition just to get to the rubber suited throwdown at the end. Given that this was an "origin" movie, we can forgive it a bit more, but going forward we definitely need to have a monster fight or two in the first half of the movie.

The real focus of this movie is Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character, and the trials and tribulations that he endures to not only get back to his family, but to stop a potential nuclear incident. To a lesser extent, the same could be said about Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe's characters, as this is really a movie about people dealing with monsters (both literal and metaphorical), not the other way around. In general, everyone in the cast did a fine job with what they had to work with.

Walter White finally learns that Godzilla is actually the one who knocks.
The generic Mutos in the movie make for adequate adversaries, although we're genuinely a bit bummed that Godzilla didn't face off against old foes like Rodan or Mothra. That was obviously a licensing/merchandising decision on the part of Legendary Pictures, and an understandable one, but can you imagine how crazy cool it would have been to see Godzilla trading blows with King Gidorah or Gigan or the like? Maybe we'll get that in the sequels. We really hope we do.

As for Godzilla himself, every second when he was on screen held us captivated like a gang of 12-year-old boys. From the "Let them fight!" point forward, we were kids again, and we ate up every bit of destruction that big guy gave us. The biggest moment of Godzilla's bad-assery made us pump our fist and roll around in the aisle, crying and screaming with joy. Figuratively, of course. I mean, who behaves like that in a literal sense? Certainly not us.

Yeah, we were in awe too.
We also really loved how Godzilla was basically portrayed and natures counter-measure in this movie. He exists to maintain the balance, and in that, he is basically mankind's champion. Sure, he may destroy cities and cause tsunamis that potentially kill bunches of people, but he saves the human race from certain extinction in this one, so what's a little collateral damage in the grand scheme of things, you know?

No matter how destructive Godzilla was in this movie, he still destroyed less shit and killed less innocent people than Superman did in Man of Steel. Yeah. Just think about that one for a minute.
If you loved the Toho Godzilla movies of old, there's really no reason that you wont love this one too. Far better than the lame 1999 version, it's nice to finally see a new Godzilla movie where he doesn't look like he's just some dude in a cheap rubber suit. Don't get us wrong, we love the old rubber suit monster movies to death, but we'll take a "more serious" spin on Godzilla any day. Especially when it's as solid as this one was.

Godzilla had a respectable showing in U.S. Theaters, and if its $40 million opening in China is any indication, it's poised to destroy the Box Office in Asia. That's good news for us, because now we can assume that for the sequels (2 are already planned) we're going to get bigger and better foes for Godzilla to square off against. If rumors are to be believed, they may even include Mothra and Mecha-Godzilla.

Sign us up now, please.

Godzilla is currently playing in theaters everywhere.


We'll take any chance we get to show off the gorgeous Lizzie Olsen and her amazing talents.


  1. Nice review J.S. The film understood the appeal of Godzilla and that's what I liked the most about it.

  2. I really dug the mood and atmosphere of GODZILLA, which really wasn't that far removed from Gareth Edwards' 2010 debut film, the excellent MONSTERS. Only on a (fittingly) much bigger scale. The monster action was good, even spectacular at times. Among the actors I most liked Watanabe and Cranston of course. Taylor-Johnson is/was too vanilla for my taste and Olsen's talents seemed wasted in a rather smallish, meaningless part.