Four Letter Nerd

4LN Review: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla is 60 years old. The big fella has appeared in over 30 films, the first of which was in 1954. He’s damn-near eligible for Medicare (but he’s Japanese so…)

The newest film sees the King of the Monsters taking on a couple of “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms”, or MUTO’s, for short. Meanwhile, mankind is faced with a choice between taking out all the creatures, including Godzilla, or letting them duke it out to see if Godzilla can defeat the MUTO’s.

We’ll try to be as spoiler-free as we can, but to be honest with you, they did such a good job of promoting this film without giving too much away that it’s hard to talk about it without giving things away. Read further at your own risk…

 

Acting/Cast:

Stephen – Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) plays the scientist who, in a manner of speaking, predicts that the MUTO’s are responsible for the destruction of the nuclear power plant he is responsible for. He’s every bit as brilliant as you expect him to be. He brings that maniacal sadness that we came to connect to so well on Breaking Bad. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Savages) plays his grown-up son who is now enlisted in the military and has a family of his own. He plays the hero role well. I’d say that his performance in the first Kick-Ass flick is still his best so far. Elizabeth Olsen (Kill Your Darlings, Silent House) plays his wife, and as the strongest actress in the movie, I felt like she was a tad underused. Not that I have any suggestions as to how they could have better used her, I just would’ve liked to get to see her shine a little more (go watch her in Silent House on Netflix). The performance I wasn’t expecting came from Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, Inception). He plays the first scientist to discover the MUTOs and is the one most familiar with the legend of Godzilla. He brings an aire of desperation and remorse to the film that almost takes you by surprise.

Bill – I thought that the casting was pretty solid. Bryan Cranston did a damn good job. It was weird seeing him with hair. I thought his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), was a mediocre actor but he fit the part of a monster movie. It took my girlfriend and I the entire time of the movie to figure out where we had seen Ford’s wife before, but we eventually figured out that she’s Elizabeth Olsen, the sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I was really surprised with her acting and she really sold the part of a terrified wife/mother.

 

Cinematography:

Bill – I thought the movie was shot really well, and it was beautiful. It was an awesome monster movie, I just wish more things were seen being destroyed. Personally I would have loved 20 minutes of just Godzilla fighting the MUTO’s. One of my favorite shots was the first time we see Godzilla. His monstrous size was terrifying. I honestly had chills when the shot panned up to show how huge this monster really was. My favorite shot overall was a scene in the trailers with the troops dropping out of the plane into downtown San Fransisco.

Stephen – The film is shot magnificently. I am a big fan of director Gareth Edwards’ film “Monsters” (which you can stream on Netflix, and SHOULD RIGHT NOW) and there are many similarities. He uses a lot of drawn out, ominous shots and for Godzilla, it really, really works. The scale of the film is enormous. I didn’t see this in IMAX like I usually do with these big, summer blockbuster flicks, but even just watching it in the regular digital format, it was massive. The design and direction of the monsters is so incredible. I was very impressed.

 

Story/Plot:

Stephen – The thing about this movie is… it’s a slow building flick. There’s a lot of time spent setting up the climax. It’s a very classic film-making style, and if you don’t appreciate that, then you may have a hard time with this movie. (I know my 6-year-old had a hard time staying interested, and for that reason alone, I recommend not taking your younger kids to see this. They’ll get bored and it’ll either be stressful for you to deal with their boredom-born whining, or it’ll be a waste of your money because they’ll wear you down and make you want to leave. If you want to enjoy the movie, get a sitter.)

I very much respect and enjoy the way they let the viewer watch everything play out from the perspective of the people. You don’t feel like an observer, you genuinely get sucked into the events that are happening. You feel what they’re going through. It’s rare that a monster movie can do that for you. I also liked how they depicted the MUTO’s, essentially, as giant insects. They weren’t just bloodthirsty creatures trying to murder people. They’re creatures of instinct. They behave they way nature designed them to and it’s kind of hard to hold that against them. But even still, you really want to see GODZILLA beat the s–t out of them.

Bill- I agree with Stephen on this (except about the kids stuff. I’m not burdened with that yet…). I also found myself rooting for Godzilla the entire film.

 

Overall Thoughts:

Bill- I really enjoyed the movie but thought the sound was terrible. At one point a special forces team is walking in the jungle searching for the MUTO’s and they are completely caught of guard when they find a giant f—king monster eating a submarine in the jungle… HOW DID THEY NOT HEAR THAT?!?!?! I also really was bothered by buildings falling left and right but never hearing them crumble. That really bothered me. With all this said, I still think you should see this movie, it’s an awesome monster movie that should be seen on the big screen.

Stephen – Godzilla left me wanting more. Sometimes it’s a bad thing when a film does that to you, but here, that’s not necessarily the case. I wish there would have been more of the “Godzilla vs. the MUTO’s” battles, but the fight scenes we get are just epic. The end of the movie, the payoff… is TOTALLY worth the long build. You will not be disappointed if you catch this movie in theaters. I’ll even go so far as to say that if you don’t, when you finally see it, you’ll really wish you had.

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Stephen Andrew

Stephen has spent most of his life reading comics, watching horror movies, listening to death metal music, and speaking in the third person. His favorite comic book character is The Punisher, and he believes that the Punisher: War Zone movie is criminally underrated. His favorite film of all-time is National Lampoon's Vacation, and his favorite album is Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill".

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