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Critical Look: Godzilla (2014)


Critical Hits:Excellently produced action sequences where Godzilla proves why he’s King of the Monsters. The re-imagining of Godzilla’s origin not as an accidental spawn of human error, but as a primordial beast is interesting and provides a reason for him to fight the MUTO. The MUTO creature designs are amazing, and three monsters are always better than two.


 Critical Misses: Godzilla doesn’t show up in anything other than archived footage for the first half of the film. Some scenes seem like they could have been left on the cutting room floor. Bryan Cranston’s role could have been filled by another lesser known actor, considering how much screen time he has.


There are some problems with the latest offering of our favorite kaiju to the big screen, but there’s also a lot of good to be had. Does it hold up to the last blockbuster giant monster movie, Pacific Rim? Luckily for the King of the Monsters, they didn’t have to fight it out in the box office. Where there are parts of this movie that made me feel like a kid again, watching Godzilla wreck entire cities while duking it out with other giant monsters invading his home, there were parts that seemed unnecessary and downright boring.

For starters, we don’t see Godzilla for the first 57 minutes of the movie except for some archive footage from the last time he showed up. The beginning of the movie is completely centered on the new menace, the MUTO, as well as giving a reason for Bryan Cranston and his son to be involved in the whole mess. The opening scenes, with the finding of the MUTO spore and it’s attack on the nuclear power plant are well done and give a sort of emotional anchor to the rest of the movie. Cranston is a fantastic actor and is always great to watch, but it really comes as a blow to see his screen time cut short, I thought he was in it for the long haul. There’s a scene involving a boy getting stuck on the train with our hero Ford Brody, that really seemed forced and not a natural “hero moment”.

Where this movie really shines is the design and execution of all of the great monster scenes. Whether it’s the first time we see Godzilla’s spines rising out of the ocean, or the mother MUTO rampaging through Las Vegas, it all looks amazing. The use of news broadcasts to show the fighting and destruction is both awesome and frustrating at the same time. On one hand, it’s a cool technique, on the other, it would be nice to see the fighting and devastation first hand, right in the middle of the action. Thankfully the final fight sequences do keep you right in the middle of the action, split between the skyscraper destroying battle above, and the military action on and below the ground as our human hero tries to save the day. Godzilla pulls no punches in the devastating final battle, with a spectacular ending you won’t soon forget.

Is Godzilla worth a watch? Very much so. Is it a good monster movie? It could be better at focusing more on the monster. This film has come under a lot of fire for focusing more on the “human element” and that’s very understandable. I felt myself zoning out during any scene that didn’t involve a kaiju on screen. Hopefully with the addition of 3 new monsters in the second film that can be corrected.