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Ah Godzilla. Ever since preschool I've been a huge fan of Dinosaurs and while this started out with Jurassic Park ((Which is still one of my big loves to this day.)), Godzilla is an equally important franchise to me and one I hold most dear. I first got into Godzilla in 2nd grade because of Godzilla 2000 and an Animal Planet documentary. It's safe to say that I was enamored instantly. The vast multitude of strange and wonderful villains and allies only added to the appeal of a franchise that was literally about giant Dinosaurs, Dragons, Insects, and more and ever since then I haven't looked back. Gojira, Godzilla's first film, is also the film that made me fall in love with allegory and symbolism and is a film I love to death to this day. It's not surprise then that I've been tracking this film since it was announced in the winter of 2010 with amazing trailer, after amazing trailer, every piece of news and overall being hyped up for this film. Was G-2014 worth it? Hell yes.
Let me start with is by far the most divisive part of Godzilla 2014 which is the human drama and acting. The human drama in Godzilla is great. Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binonche knock it out of the park in their scenes together with a very natural chemistry which adds to the tragedy of her death as Cranston, who plays a nuclear power plant supervisor, has to seal his wife, Juliette Binonche, to stop the radiation leak. This scene is incredibly powerful because of the amazing delivery of the great dialogue written by Frank Darabont ((The script however is written by Max Borenstein.)). The first act after this event is great as Bryan Cranston continues to deliver a great performance after this part of the movie as Joe Brody and really sells this first act. Him and his son, Ford Brody played by Aaron Taylor Johnson, have great chemistry together and really make this first act enjoyable.
Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and the rest of the cast all do great jobs but I will say this, Bryan Cranston's screen time because of his character's early death in the film does leave bit to be desired and the human parts could've been worked on but in the end the good stuff about the human drama completely overwhelms the bad and just makes the human part of the drama so compelling. There are some great scenes between Ford and Elle Brody, who is Elizabeth Olsen's character, and Elle Brody's interactions with her son do give you lots of sympathy for these characters. The showing of the aftermath of the monster scenes in the film also greatly adds to the human element and Not to mention the very well done touch of putting a bible prayer before the HALO jump sequence.which makes it all very compelling.
Now onto the amazing direction by Gareth Edwards. I will say it now. Gareth Edwards is by far the best new director yet. Edwards direction is stuff most new directors dream of as he gives great point of view shots and he excels magnificently at capturing the horror but terrifying wonder of Godzilla and his opponents and his director for the fight scenes is truly magnificent. Besides how well he captures the monsters, the amazingly shot HALO jump sequence is truly magnificent and I for one can't wait for Edwards' next projects.
Speaking of the HALO jump sequence I will also say this, Alexandre Desplat does a GREAT job with the score. He completely captures the feel for the film with amazing themes and the insertion of the Monolith's theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey completes the scene magnificently. Not to mention Desplat's score is a amazing call back to the themes of Akira Ifukube, the classic Godzilla composer which makes the film feel even more like a Godzilla film and overall his score is the best of any film's this year.
Now onto the thing I'm sure you've all been waiting for. The monsters. The monsters in this film are fantastic. From the gorgeous designs, to the amazing sound effects, to the pulse pounding fight scenes, it is just amazing how well they're done. I'll start with Godzilla's opponents, the MUTOs. The MUTOs are a great new addition to the Godzilla roster with their alien looking designs which don't resemble any kind of animal around today or any extinct animal. This alien vibe to them makes them mysterious and creepy, yet Edwards still makes them sympathetic by having them be a mating couple simply trying to survive in a world they aren't used too. The mating scene we get between them is oddly adorable and makes them even more sympathetic. The CGI for the Flying/Male MUTO is simply extraordinary, as is the CGI for the Big/Female MUTO and their destruction of the military, and Las Vegas respectively is great fun to watch.
But how about Godzilla you ask? Oh don't worry about him. Despite rants of screen time from people on the internet, Godzilla has the PERFECT amount of screen time where we want more but still feel satisfied. It's this feeling we get from classic Godzilla films as well and seeing it replicated here is just fine and just adds to the whole package. Now onto the real important matter, Godzilla is done justice. 100%. From the amazing Dinosaurian design and sound effects. To the incredible CGI work, this Godzilla will go down as one of the best Godzillas of all 30 films. I love how he's the embodiment of nature and how despite being an Anti-Hero, he will still **** up anyone who gets in his way, as the military ((And the Golden Gate bridge)) learned the hard way, but I like how it shows how there's a personality to Godzilla, as seen when Godzilla and Aaron Taylor Johnson lock eyes after Godzilla collapses. It's a very powerful scene because you can tell how alone and tired Godzilla is, after all these years. Now I do have one teeny tiny complaint here and that's the ending and how it handles Godzilla. I for one didn't like how the civilians he inadvertently saved from the MUTOs clapped for him at the end and the news hailing him as "Savior of this city?" to me it just felt cheesy but overall, like with the human drama, the good outweighs the bad.
Now how about the action? Oh boy the action. The action in Godzilla 2014 is out of this world. Everything about it is great. The MUTOs are pulse-poundingly threatening with the railway scene being a true highlight full of tension and suspense straight out of a Spielberg film, to Godzilla's big entrance. But that all is secondary to the truly astounding monster fights. Never before have they been so brutal, raw, and powerful as in G-2014. These monster fights are the total highlights of the film, and how Godzilla fights is just an amazing combination of Grizzly Bear, Komodo Dragon, and Tyrannosaurus Rex and it just all works together so well. Also there's one teeny tiny thing I must mention.....ATOMIC BREATH IS BACK BABY! The intro to the atomic breath is simply the best scene in any film this year with how it is introduced and done just makes it astounding and awe-inspiring. The atomic breath has a real power behind it and when it's used against the MUTOs it feels epic. Also when it is used to kill the female MUTO it is by far one of the best scenes of the film.
Final Rating for Godzilla 2014-9/10
Featuring a great script, great performances from its cast, amazing direction, and pulse pounding action and spectacle, Godzilla 2014 easily overcomes a few script hurdles and becomes one of the best american reboots of all time while staying a excellent Godzilla film.