Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
|Featuring:|| Bryan Cranston … Joe Brody
Ken Watanabe … Ichiro Serizawa
David Strathairn … Admiral Stenz
Aaron Taylor-Johnson … Ford Brody
Elizabeth Olsen … Elle Brody
Juliette Binoche … Sandra Brody
Sally Hawkins … Dr. Wates
Victor Rasuk … Tre Morales
Anthony Konechny … PO2 Thatch
CJ Adams … Young Ford Brody
|Director:||Gareth Edwards—“Monsters” (2010), “In the Shadow of the Moon” (2007)|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Nuclear bombs, spikes in the water and the roar of a monster set in motion a chain of events and secrets that can no longer be hidden. After unexplained seismic activity appears on the monitors of Janjira nuclear power plant, engineer Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) rush to work to try to find out what is causing them. While en route to the reactor, power is lost, and there is seismic activity. It is believed a transformer malfunction is the cause of the radioactive leak. The whole area is evacuated and quarantined.
Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is haunted by the death of his wife, Sandra (Juliette Binoche). As a man obsessed, he cannot forget how 15 years ago, he is the one who sent her down to the reactor zone of Janjira nuclear power plant, where a reactor was breached after unexplained seismic activity. He feels responsible and can’t let it go. His son, however, Ford Brody (Aaron-Taylor Johnson), who witnessed the collapse of the plant from his classroom as a child, has moved on with his life and has a family of his own. Joe claims the same seismic activity has returned with the exact pattern as appeared 15 years ago. He returns to the quarantined zone to get proof—all the paperwork that is believed to be gone which he still has on disk. While there, he sees the old power plant is being used. He and his son are taken into custody and brought to the site where a large mass is pulsating with radiation. In an attempt by the military to kill the entity, they turn it loose. M.U.T.O., a monster parasite, wrenches free and leaves destruction in its path.
Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), a Japanese researcher, tells of Godzilla, a monster who consumed radiation from the Earth when it was radioactive. Eventually, it went deeper into the ocean to absorb the radiation from the Earth’s core. The MUTO are parasites that are from the same era as Godzilla and were found by Serizawa during a dig in the Philippines. Dr. Sirazewa tells them to let the monsters fight, that nature has a balance, and he believes Godzilla is tracking MUTO and will bring about that balance. The military devises its own way to handle the monsters and sets in motion an attempt to kill them.
I am not one to give too many details to a movie—to me that defeats the purpose of going to see it. It’s like someone telling you the whole story of a book. Why then would you read it? So for that reason, I don’t want to give any more of the storyline for the film. I’ll let you watch it and enjoy.
I do have some criticisms of the film. Godzilla’s classic roar is changed. You can still hear the original roar, but they added more to it, so that instead, it reminds me of some of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. To me, Godzilla’s roar is iconic. You know who it is immediately. So to have it altered was a bit disappointing to me. Additionally, there are not enough fight scenes. This complaint was shared by others I spoke with. Godzilla movies are about Godzilla. He always fights another creature and the people and their stories are secondary. I felt in this film however, that there would be some of the fight then cut back to the human element in the story. The battle between Godzilla and the MUTO’s should have been longer. That, I feel, is what we all went to see.
In addition, I for one was hoping for some odd color blood from the monsters. That may sound odd, but Gyaos (a monster from Gamera vs. Guiron) had bled purple and Battra, from Godzilla vs. Mothra, bled yellow. This Godzilla was a much meatier version. His neck is very thick, and his eyes are quite small. I don’t mind how filled out he is. It was a good evolution of the character.
Objectionable content: Passionate kissing by husband and wife upon his return home. He grabs her backside. They are fully clothed.
Offensive language: “Oh my God” 2 times, “What the h*ll” (1), h*ll (2), Jesus used as a curse or exclamation (3), d*mnit (1), “holy sh*t” (1), sh*t (3).
Violence: Dead bodies are shown uncovered in body bags with some minor amounts of blood on some victims. It can be intense and scary for younger viewers. The film is PG-13, but as a Godzilla loving household, my 8 year old did attend. She did say she was scared of the MUTOs, so do heed the rating.
Positive content: Before parachuting from an airplane, a soldier says a prayer to God for all involved in the mission. The relationship between the father and son is emphasized. It is a strained relationship, but Ford’s wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), points out to her husband that he needs to be there for his dad. The movie also shows the destructive path guilt and obsession can have in taking over a person’s life. Colossians 3:21 says “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” The relationship was strained, and Ford was not happy to have to go to his dad’s aid, but I think Ford tried to have that close relationship with his own son.
Savvy viewers can search for the word Mothra that can be seen in the film. I am sure there are other homages to the Godzilla films as well. One person claims to have seen a statue of King Cesar in the movie. I my opinion, this is a great Godzilla film. It was very well done. I think lovers of Godzilla will be pleased overall.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Banal characters leave scarcely enough screen time for Godzilla himself in Gareth Edwards’ effects-driven reboot…
—Peter Debruge, Variety
…Hollywood does the behemoth justice. Almost. …Superbly made but burdened by some dull human characters enacted by an interesting international cast who can’t do much with them, this new Godzilla is smart, self-aware, eye-popping and arguably in need of a double shot of cheeky wit. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…Despite a strong cast including Bryan Cranston and Sally Hawkins, Gareth Edwards’s big-budget B-movie lacks a human face… the two-miles-tall lizard is the only sympathetic character in it. [2/5]
—Paul MacInnes, The Guardian (UK)
…in an age in which we’ve seen tsunamis kill hundreds of thousands and skyscrapers brought down for real, some of these images can be troubling if not inherently problematic. …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In
…like the original, it’s all kind of cheeky/cheesy. …
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
Loud, grim, and doubly dim… Thematically and visually dark and characterized by joylessness, this reboot manages to take the popcorn out of summer blockbusters. …
—Christian Hamaker, Crosswalk
…Appreciation of a movie like this requires an almost morbid degree of connoisseurship… Evaluating its components is a little like scoring gymnastics or figure skating. You factor in degree of difficulty, technical accomplishment and various subjective responses, and it is always helpful to have points of comparison. How does the obliteration of, say, Honolulu stack up against the smashing of Chicago in that “Transformers” movie?…
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
…But if you don’t care about actors or even characters, if you don’t question why a monster would want to save the Earth, if you really don’t ask for anything more than a solid hour or so of giant creatures beating on each other, well then, this new ‘Godzilla’ is for you — just the way all the old ones were. …
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)