Godzilla

Director: Gareth Edwards

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, David Straithairn

Rated: PG-13 (intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence)

The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.

 

Godzilla

By Cole Schneider

The original “Godzilla” (1954) was a wonderful Cold War allegory for potential nuclear war. The 2014 “Godzilla”, an homage to the original in many ways, uses a nuclear energy crisis to push its story, and while it might seem juvenile it provides a wholly worthwhile platform to explore emotion and intelligence underneath the glorious spectacle.

Obviously, the spectacle is center-stage. There are four or five set pieces that exceed all possible expectations and the monster himself is a sight to behold. To aide the size and scope of the film, the camera is used creatively to see the threats through different vantage points. It’s truly a bold and beautiful cinematic experience.

Bubbling beneath the surface of “Godzilla” is a powerful statement on human arrogance and military-industrial futility. Going against the grain of typical blockbuster fare, “Godzilla” has something to say. It’s more “Jaws” than “Transformers”. The subtlety of the film’s message never overwhelms the tangible joy flying off the screen, but it’s presence brings gravity to the effort.

Some may find issues with “Godzilla” on a character level, especially after a particular bait-and-switch move in the first act. The film’s protagonist is fairly hollow, but as events unfold and with a particularly affective score he is certainly not lifeless. Though I should admit that I may be imbuing my own parents personalities onto he and his wife as they too were in the military and a nurse, respectively. Regardless of my motives I thoroughly bought it–and the whole movie. A grand experience!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Godzilla

By Matt Greene

Remember Pompeii from earlier this year? No one does: Most people didn’t see it, and those that did left sorely disappointed. All we wanted was big disaster action…is that so much to ask?! Fret no longer, Godzilla is here to fill that monster-sized hole at the theatre, roaring past expectations. Possessing impressive and unique action scenes, gorgeous visuals and compelling humanity, it’s a conspiracy theory drama that pumps adrenaline, reminding why Godzilla is such a revered creation.

The story is nothing new: humans wake up monster(s), monsters destroy civilization, humans must deal with consequences on macro and micro levels. There are the ubiquitous exposition scenes, a handful of one-dimensional characters, some corny dialogue, and a few too many coincidences. Mostly though, there is an enormous amount of care and skill in every shot. The cinematography is the best of the year so far; beautifully dark and meticulously framed.

Moreover, I can’t remember the last time a movie was so flourishingly consistent in showing its gigantic scope, never leaving the audience behind, and always placing us smack in the middle of the terror. Nonetheless, within the huge scale, the personal stakes of the characters is present and successful

Edwards clearly studied the best of Spielberg in his handling of the monsters and their human counterparts, all the while presenting a truly singular auteur vision. The pacing is patient but not boring, the story is familiar but not ordinary, and Godzilla himself is just plain cool. This is creature-feature movie making at its finest, and will wipe away the tainted memory of the 90’s Matthew Broderick Godzilla…yikes.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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