“Godzilla” is directed by Gareth Edwards and is a reboot of Toho’s “Godzilla” franchise. Toho is a Japanese production company that was founded in the 1930s and not until 1954 did they found huge success with their first “Godzilla” movie and later entire film franchise. The 2014 film marked the 30th film in the franchise but the only second film to be completely made by an American film studio following the 1998 film of the same name. The film stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn & Bryan Cranston. Legendary Pictures decided to create their “Monsterverse” starting with this film in particular.
In 1954, a prehistoric monster they call Godzilla is lured to Bikini Atoll to be killed by an atomic bomb, however it failed as Godzilla’s body was never recovered. In 1999, in Janjira, Japan, a Nuclear Power Plant is rocked by usual seismic activity. The lead engineer, Joe Brody (Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Binoche) arrive to investigate. As the plant begins to fall apart, Joe makes the heartbreaking decision to seal all the underground doors to prevent a breach leaving his wife and her team behind. 15 years later, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and scientist Vivanne Graham (Hawkins) are investigating the plant as some “thing” has form in the collapsed area. Joe and his now adult son Ford (Taylor-Johnson) are arrested for trespassing are taking to the restricted area until that some “thing” awakens and destroys the rest of the plant. The creature is given the name the MUTO and it left a very large number of crew members, Japanese soldiers and unfortunately Joe himself all dead. Ford joins the scientists as well as the U.S. military to stop the MUTO. They follow it to an island near Hawaii. The MUTO crashes a Russian submarine while the military advance towards the island. As the military begins their assault on the MUTO, everyone is blindsided by the sudden arrival of Godzilla who proceeds to attack the MUTO. The 2 monsters battle each other from Hawaii to Las Vegas and then San Francisco before Godzilla and U.S. are shocked by the arrival of a second MUTO. While Ford tries to get home and warn his wife Elle (Olsen) and son while the military and the scientist go back and forth about whether or not to destroy both monsters or aid one of them.
After the 1998 film was a major let down, this reboot had very low expectations which actually is a good thing because he can only go up from here. This film definitely came through and really nailed the character. From the sense of urgency to the feel of major catastrophe. It has the feel of a disaster movie along with the spectacle of a big blockbuster film. Many complaints with this film stand from the actual screen time that Godzilla which I understand but then again didn’t mind cause it reminded me of “Jaws”. They kept the shark off camera as much as possible until the final act, same thing here, pays off in the end. Even Cranston’s & Taylor-Johnson’s character names is a call back to “Jaws”. My only complaint is the underuse of Bryan Cranston. Every scene he’s in is pretty much spoiled in the trailer. Massive disappointment but doesn’t take away anything from the movie. The acting is solid, storytelling is good and visuals are fantastic.
Overall, this was a great monster movie and even better movie theater experience. Godzilla has always been apart of movie history and was the starting point for what was soon to become known as the monster genre. Movies like “Reign of Fire”, “Cloverfield”, “Pacific Rim” & even the 1998 film all stem the Godzilla’s original film and carry on the genre. After this film, a sequel was planned and released in 2019. “Godzilla: King of Monsters” continued the initial story. Legendary also announced a 3rd film set for a 2020 release, “Godzilla vs. Kong” which would follow the previous 2 films as well as the 2017 film, “Kong: Skull Island”. It would the 4th film in Legendary’s Monsterverse. I’ve always enjoyed the Godzilla films of the 80s & 90s even this film & its sequel. While the 1998 & 2017 Kong films were disappointing, there is somewhat enjoyment that can be had.