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Movie Review

Godzilla

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure 3D IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 3 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
May 16, 2014 (wide—3,952 theaters)
DVD: September 16, 2014
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

“scientific arrogance”

“wrath of nature”

Featuring: Bryan CranstonJoe Brody
Ken WatanabeIchiro Serizawa
David StrathairnAdmiral 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
more »
Director: Gareth Edwards—“Monsters” (2010), “In the Shadow of the Moon” (2007)
Producer: Warner Bros.
Legendary Pictures
Disruption Entertainment
Toho Company
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.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—As a fan of the Godzilla series, I enjoyed this movie. Even though it focused more on the military’s and scientist’s reactions and plans, the scenes with the monsters were awesome. I feel the back story and human side of things are important to advancing the plot. The military response to the situation seems realistic and fair. The monsters were scary and realistic, so I would not take a child under 13 to see it.

There were some curse words, but realtively mild as Hollywood goes these days. As in all Godzilla movies, there is an anti-nuclear weapons and even anti-nuclear power theme. The biggest negative of the movie is the evolutionary worldview promoted by the movie. The cover of Origin of the Species is shown in the opening title sequence, a foreshadowing of what is to come. Darwinism, with a hint of New Age environmentalism, is presented as the driving force to the events happening in the movie. Nature is spoken of with a capital “N,” as if it is a god-like entity (i.e., Mother Nature, Mother Earth, etc.).

I recommend the movie for an age-appropriate audience.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Floshine, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Good movie—great special effects! Very little bad language. Would have liked more scenes with Godzilla and the monsters fighting. Strong family ties, love and sacrifice. Showed a chaplain holding a military Bible and praying before a big scene. Overall, very good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Beverly, age 43 (USA)
Positive—Surprisingly good. Not the typical clichés of scientists fighting against shallowly portrayed military. Instead, this movie represents different opinions respectfully, people work together to solve problems, and it portrays the military reasonably and honorably. I like that people in the film react intelligently to the unusual circumstances. In several situations, individuals and authorities chose to protect people as the basis for their decisions.

I thought the digital artwork was of very high quality. Also, liked the depiction of the commander with a Bible leading his team in prayer before a mission. Early in the film, there were 3 times each of saying God or Jesus in an exclamation of shock or surprise. Otherwise, refreshingly uncontaminated by profanity.

Enjoyable that the special effects enhanced the story rather than being the whole movie. They even have the iconic Godzilla roar down pat. Enjoyed it. Definitely better than “Godzilla 2000.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—I am a childhood fan of “kaiju” films, and so was excited to see this iteration of Godzilla on the big screen. I disagree with the reviewer in one aspect: The fight scenes were about the right length. One of the things modern filmmakers do to a fault is keep fights going too long. Just because you *can* do a thing with CGI doesn’t mean you should *overdo* it.

Every aspect of this film was satisfying, including the cinematography which avoids the shaky-cam style that gives me a headache. Shots were smooth, and cuts were never jarring. The story was compelling, and the fights were fun. About all I wished for was more with the lead character’s wife; she spends the film waiting to meet up with him and that’s about it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Carrie Rostollan, age 45 (USA)
Positive—I enjoyed the movie. I loved the old Godzilla movies. I reminds me of the later Godzilla movies where he is the good guy saving Earth from other monsters. It’s very much like 50’s era sci-fi movies, with the military and scientists trying to defeat monster(s). It shows the military in a positive light. There is no evil government/corporate conspiracy in the movie. There is very little offensive material here, only some implied violence where people are being crushed by giant monsters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Keith Chandler, age 35 (USA)
Positive—I’ve been a fan of Godzilla as long as I can remember. There is no Godzilla movie that has been made that I haven’t seen (including the very bad Hollywood version from 1998), and when I first heard of another attempt of a Hollywood remake, I was both excited and a little worried. Excited because there could be nothing more cool than a big budget Godzilla smashing through a city and fighting other monsters. And a little worried because I was fearing another repeat of the 1998 remake that turned out to be an major disappointment, because the creature in it did not resemble Godzilla in any way, shape or form.

After finally seeing the movie in IMAX 3D, all my fears disappeared. While not a perfect movie, it is most definitely a “Godzilla movie”. Godzilla not only looks like the creature we all know and love but acts like him, too. He is an intelligent and fearless creature, with a fighting spirit and the motivation to remain the King of the Monsters. I did not mind the the restraint approach with the monster action, and I respect the decision that was made by the filmmakers in focusing the majority of the story to the human characters and not of the monsters. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Nicholas, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Best ever of a remake for Godzilla!!! The King of Monsters is back… The Matthew Broderick remake was a waste of time, space and film. THIS is the Godzilla movie to see !!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bill, age 45 (USA)
Positive—This film was awesome!! I really think this is a more positive film than a lot of the other films out there. I loved the fact that they prayed from the Bible and other things about the film. I thought that the visuals were amazing!! There was cursing, however, but good thing is there wasn’t that much of it!! I recommend this film out of a lot of other movies out there these days.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephen Jacewicz, age 19 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—“Godzilla” was okay, but nothing special. With all the recent superhero movies coming out with extraordinary special effects, this movie’s effects didn’t seem as compelling. Perhaps it’s because so much of the movie takes place at night that it wasn’t as visually appealing. The story was okay, but it was very predictable and was to human-focused for my tastes. Wish they would have showed more Godzilla. Not a bad movie, but not a great movie either.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jason, age 40 (USA)
Neutral—Like our God, who is beyond our ability to control, the premise of this movie is similar… that nature is out of our control. And yet, the fundamental and cosmic gap between a wise God and a brainless beast, and ultimately the devil (or dragon) is as far as the east is from the west. That nature is out of our control is paraphrased in the statement made by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa who is observing the colossal battle between Godzilla and another monster, “The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around. Let them fight.”

Audiences, no doubt, will end up rooting for Godzilla, the dragon-like creature, whose only motivation for destruction seems to be his instinct to remain the alpha monster. He fights with other monsters, or MUTO, simply because they exist, killing less humans than they do along the way. Wow! He’s sure is thoughtful!

The difference between god-like creatures like Godzilla and the all-wise Creator is that one is jealous of the destruction that another monster can make, while our God is jealous of something far more lasting and important to Him and to us… our worship. He expresses his anger only because our false worship insults his glory, hurts others, and leads to eternal separation, yet he has proper jealousy for our heart-felt worship because it magnifies his glory and leads to our salvation.

I ask you, which Being is more worthy of adoration, and more fulfilling to be in awe of? The worship or awe of a dragon like “God”-zilla (who by the end is called “King of the Monsters”) is characterized by a type of shock and dread that it wants to evoke in mankind via it’s destructive powers, whereas the worship of the Creator is one of surpassing awe and deliverance because of his creative powers?

He creates in us a new heart, one of glad worship; and a new soul, one that outlasts any physical destruction caused by the evil one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality:
—Luke Spink, age 31 (USA)
Negative
Negative—The 2014 “Godzilla” movie really blew big-time. It was a lousy movie all the way around. The 1998 “Godzilla” with Mathew Broderick was a 10. The 2014 movie isn’t even good enough to rate a 1. ***SPOILER*** They kill off the human star of the movie after the first third of the movie (Bryan Cranston)—that was a mistake. Then you watch half the movie before you even get a glimpse of Godzilla. Then the story line about Godzilla being kept in a lab from 1999 until present day was not really told—and you had to sort of figure that out. Then the Mothra Monsters—looked like they were Mother and Baby—but they also looked like they were metallic or made out of metal (maybe made by the lab).

Then in this movie Godzilla turned out to be the friend of the people instead of the monster and enemy that they were trying to kill. The other young man that I guess was supposed to be Bryan Cranston’s son and took over the lead position for the remaining movie was pretty dull and a waste of space in the movie. Plus the story with him and his wife was so sparse it wasn’t even worth putting in the movie. ***END SPOILER***
The only good part in the entire movie was the flames coming out of Godzilla’s mouth on 2 occasions. I did not like the music soundtrack in the background, and it gave a headache, as it was constant and constantly too loud. Plus there were a lot of dark scenes in the movie. It would have been better with more light so you could see something.

The move is lousy. If you want to see a good Godzilla movie, go see the 1998 movie starring Mathew Broderick.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Alan, age 60 (USA)
Positive—I’ve never really cared for Godzilla. The only reason I went to see this film was because of my two boys. I have never seen a Godzilla movie, so I have nothing to compare it to, however, I really liked it. I usually fall asleep during movies, but never felt sleepy during this one. Honestly. After reading Alan’s comments…, I believe he is Matthew Broderick writing that review. Just kidding, but I think his comments are way off and not accurate, nor fair. See this movie and decide for yourself. We are very picky about language used in a movie and this one seemed fine to us.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—3rdcommandmentviolation, age 48 (USA)
Negative—Hello, first I just want to say don’t watch this movie! I am a Godzilla fan; I have seen the movies and the cartoon series from when I was small and even the last cartoon series, so, yes, I am a big fan, but this movie was an insult. The only good thing in the whole movie was the looks of Godzilla and his flames, reminded of the classic big tuff with electric fire Godzilla, that is a plus, in my opinion, but these are I think about 5 minutes of the entire movie. The interesting parts and most important can’t be seen. Too much dark scenes where you can’t see a thing; the best in a Godzilla movie is the fight between the baests in which Godzilla loses but manages to get away then the humans try to destroy the creature, and they fail to, but then Godzilla comes back and saves the day, then disappears in the ocean and is left alone but still considered a threat. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Balica Cristian, age 26 (Romania)
Negative—Lame, lame, lame. After a terrific nail biting, break your heart start, you have to wait 90 minutes of a 2 hour film to get any monster action. Then the production design is so dark (a lot of night time action), it’s like watching a black and white film—only it was all different shades of dark gray. The monsters have no color to them. Cranston is the only actor that shows any real emotion, with the possible inclusion of Elizabeth Olsen.

The overall story was fair to good. It was just poorly shot, with too little screen time given to the monsters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jeff, age 57 (USA)
Movie Critics

…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)

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