Movie Review: Godzilla (2014) *Spoilers*


Abraham Lincoln once wrote a book review, the entirety of which was, “Those of you who like this sort of thing will find this to be the sort of thing you like.”  That’s what Godzilla is.  Godzilla is,..wait for it….a Godzilla movie.  Every bit as much as the old black and white films, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla falls right into that lineage and updates a classic movie monster for a new age.  It is a total success in that area and if you’re a hardcore Godzilla fan, you should be dancing in the streets.  Is it a great film?  Noooo.  But neither are any of the old Godzilla movies.  Try watching one.  REALLY watching one.  Edwards’ film is the grandchild of Gojira, Godzilla vs. Moth-Ra, etc.  It’s not trying to be a deep cinematic statement on anything other than giant monsters smashing things and, in that, it succeeds enormously.


He does something very smart with Godzilla.  You barely see him until the final act of the movie.  Just a tease here and a tease there; deftly using water, fog, and cover to just show you how immense he is and then he’s gone.  This is the same theory that works best with the Hulk.  If you show him the whole movie, why is it special when he throws down?  Your monster fix is provided by two MUTOs (forget the acronym’s purpose already).  These radiation eating lovers are trapped on opposite sides of the world.  Daddy MUTO coming from the ruins of a Japanese nuclear facility (Japanese nuclear facilities: the safest places on Earth) and Mommy MUTO busts out of the mountain in Nevada where we throw all our nuclear waste (we really do that so  someone should be down there checking for spidery MUTOs toute suite).  The two need to mate (who doesn’t?), so they’re heading toward each other to converge on San Francisco (aside from New York and London, is there a city that gets blown to cinders more than Frisco onscreen?).


Not the villain of this piece, Godzilla has only awoken because he’s an “alpha predator” who has sensed the MUTOs emergence as a threat to his status as BMOC.  The humans eventually figure this out after trying to kill Godzilla most of the movie.  Lucky are they that he has a remarkably patient disposition for a monster the size of a football stadium.

Godzilla catches up with the two MUTOs in San Francisco and the throwdown is epic.  The third act of the film is just pure gleeful monster chucking action.  Andy Serkis provided the motion for Godzilla and outdid himself again.  THIS is Godzilla, his movements, his look, everything harkens back to the old films, but updates it for the 21st century.


This praise is not to say the film is great cinema, because it’s not.  It’s very slow going to Godzilla vs. MUTOs and the heavy lifting in the script…well, there isn’t any because the script would be laughable if it weren’t being delivered by Oscar-caliber actors and actresses.  Ken Watanabe stands out as the chief scientist, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson takes most of the film on his scarily chiseled back (HE’S HUUUUUUGE!).  The lines on their own are bad.  The actors manage to raise them to tolerable.  Gareth Edwards directing is good but you can tell he’s still getting better.  This film would have benefitted from a 20 minute cut to the finale, but he has style.  There are some shots in this film that are simply poster-worthy.

In the end, we hearken back to Abe.  If you like Godzilla films, you’ll like Godzilla.  If you think Godzilla films are stupid; you’ll hate Godzilla.  Me, I’m somewhere in-between.
Godzilla, Comic Con

10 thoughts on “Movie Review: Godzilla (2014) *Spoilers*”

  1. I agree with every word of your review. In the theater where I saw this, the audience was laughing at all the stuff you’d expect them to—laughing AT the film, not WITH it—but when Godzilla finally killed the MUTO at the end (sorry, was that a spoiler?), the entire theater broke out into applause. By that time, the audience had figured out what the film was. They got the joke. They got the point. I don’t think anyone will be clamoring for a sequel to this one, but if you’re going to make a Godzilla movie, make a Godzilla movie. That is all.


      1. I’m not sure. In the theater where I saw it, the audience reaction was decidedly mixed. We’ll have to wait and see if the film has legs.


      2. In the lobby after the film was over, I heard some guy complaining to his girlfriend that it was unrealistic the way they used the Golden Gate Bridge as an evacuation route. And I wanted to throttle him.


      3. Looks like they’re going forward with a sequel. Yates MUST come back, he achieved a very precise and difficult tone. My only question is how they’re going to take this concept to new and exiting places. Mothra is a lock if you ask me, but they can’t just repeat the same old formula.


      4. I agree. Same team, but different set up. It doesn’t have to take place right after this one. They could have a great deal of time pass. The HOW is going to be the rub. But then, really, it always is. If they want to, they’ll figure out a way to make a huge mutated moth for our giant alpha predator to take on. And we’ll look at moths with distrust and fear from that day forward…


    1. No. No, I’d rent the old Gojira and if you like that, you’ll like this. If you go into it expecting a 2014 movie with 2014 movie conventions, you’ll probably hate it. It’s very much a 1950’s monster B movie with updated f/x. That being said, if you want to watch monsters fight, the last 30 minutes are amazing, but that’s the only monster on monster action in the film. You may want to rent.


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