Directed by Gareth Edwards
Story by David Callaham
Written by Max Borenstein
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins
In the Phillipines, scientists Serizawa (Watanabe) and Graham (Hawkins) discover the fossilized remnants of a massive creature. Among the remains they also discover evidence of a creature that has hatched from an egg and escaped. Meanwhile, Joe Brody (Cranston) is trying to explain seismic disturbances at the plant in Japan where he and his wife (Binoche) work. When the plant is destroyed by this distubrance, Joe begins digging to discover the truth behind the disaster. Fifteen years later, the mystery behind the disaster runs into the work of Serizawa and Graham, and Joe’s son Ford (Taylor-Johnson) finds himself in the midst of a global catastrophe as giant creatures surface and begin to do battle.
This is a nice reboot of the classic Godzilla franchise that began in 1954. This time the story was written by David Callaham (Horsemen), and the screenplay came from Max Borenstein (Seventh Son). The film was directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters). The cast is an amazing collection of talent including Bryan Cranston (Drive), Juliette Binoche (Mauvais Sang), and Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins). The cast also features Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), David Strathairn (Eight Men Out), and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine).
The action in this movie is the obvious draw for most viewers. The CGI and other aspects of the film make this the most visually impressive version of Godzilla to date. I would argue that this might be one of the best monster movies ever made based on the attention the film makers paid to the details. The movie also does a great job recreating the locations in the story, and later destroying them. This movie features great visuals from beginning to end. The sound work and set design are also nicely done. Overall, this is a very good movie from the technical side of things.
The story is also pretty good. Although they had a clear objective from the very beginning, the story doesn’t seem to be as straightforward as I expected. The tiny twists and turns don’t create any major surprises, but these moments keep the intensity level a bit higher. Unlike some of the Godzilla films in the past, this one also takes time to let the characters become interesting. I wouldn’t say that this was a character driven story, but the major characters in the film have clear purpose to being there. This really makes for a balanced, although simplistic story.
The acting in this one is also pretty good. Given the nature of the movie, the dialogue doesn’t push too hard, but the actors do a good job making this convincing. There isn’t a clear star for me with this one, although Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character pushes much of the story ahead. Cranston, Binoche, Watanabe, and all the rest do a great job with their roles. Thankfully, no one seems to come over-the-top with their performances and it allows this to be taken far more seriously than some previous Godzilla films.
Overall, this is a really good movie, but I wouldn’t say a great one. It has everything that I think people will be looking for when they head out to see it. This is a big step forward from the poor attempt made with the 1998 version of the movie. I would suggest this to anyone who enjoys monster films, science-fiction, or just action packed movies. This also has some of the feel of the recently made comic book movies that I think works to its advantage. I would caution people with smaller children since the action is intense. It’s not gruesome, but it’s non-stop and very powerful. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.