Ror Reviews: GODZILLA (2014)

SCRReeEEEeeeeeOOooonk! The trailers for this one had us all hyped up to 11, but did Gareth Edwards' ambitious, seemingly very serious take on the King of Monsters deliver the goods? Find out what I thought after the jump.

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 5/12/2014
Godzilla 2014 gets off to great start with a smashing opening credits sequence which tells us all we need to know about the military's first attempt to destroy the big fella with a nuclear strike. This brings us to a power plant disaster involving nuclear engineer Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), before jumping ahead 15 years to find him obsessed and apparently off his rocker; estranged from his now married son Ford (Aaron Taylor Johnson).


Here a terrific father/son dynamic is set up, as both men set out to discover the truth about the event that cost them so much over a decade earlier, with the possibility of a reconciliation at the end of it -- and then the movie makes a critical mistake that it almost doesn't recover from: The focus is shifted from Cranston (as brilliant as you'd expect as the manic, complex Joe) and placed on Johnson (not so brilliant as the block of wood Ford). The Kick-Ass actor is okay, it's just that his character is pretty much a blank slate. He wants to get back to his family and help save the planet from the nasty creatures and...that's pretty much all there is to him. Elizabeth Olsen is more believable and compelling in her handful of scenes as his worried wife, and actually makes you wish her character was the focus. Also wasted is the brilliant Sally Hawkins as one of the scientists who've been tracking Godzilla. Both she and her associate played by Ken Watanabe are there only to spout exposition -- Watanabe's character in particular exhibiting an almost psychic understanding of the creatures that borders on the laughable.

But hey, enough about the human characters right? You came to see Kaiju scraps and by God(zilla) do you get 'em...eventually.

You've probably already heard that the titular giant lizard's screen time is pretty limited and that's kind of an understatement. He's teased, and he's glimpsed, but the majority of monster action is actually given to his enemies, the MUTO. There are even a couple of scenes that cut away just as Godzilla and the MUTO are about to throw down, and these are sure to infuriate some. Personally I was fine with it because I knew (or at least hoped) it was all building to something special, and in that regard I was not disappointed. The final 15-20 minutes are a Kaiju lover's dream come true. I wouldn't even consider myself a massive fan of these type of monster flicks, and  I was in awe of the spectacle. The special effects, the creature fight choreography (if you will), the screeching, the atomic breath..all well worth the wait. It's just a shame that our human guide on the journey to get there wasn't more interesting.

Taking a giant monster movie as seriously this Godzilla reboot does is risky business, and to his credit Edwards does infuse the story with genuine emotion and character drama -- which works just fine while we care about those characters, but drags a bit when we don't. Still, this is a welcome return to the screen for the King Of Monsters and the incredible creature fight scenes are worth the price of admission alone -- just be aware of how long you'll have to wait to see them, and in who's company.

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Starfox - 5/12/2014, 3:55 PM
Great Review! Can't wait for this one.
McNyagano - 5/12/2014, 3:58 PM
Great review. Saw it last week, I have to write my review. Too many reviews I have to write lol One for DOFP, Malificent and this ugh
JorL5150 - 5/12/2014, 4:00 PM
after all that damage godzilla caused, they're gonna have to get in touch with flo from progressive.
NightWatcher - 5/12/2014, 4:03 PM
SCRReeEEEeeeeeOOooonk!

LOL
EpitomeofAwesome - 5/12/2014, 4:03 PM
Awesome review, man. And lol @Jor what is it with Flo from Progressive?
anthonyEstark - 5/12/2014, 4:04 PM
Can't wait to see it! I'll be doing a review as well.
DrunkenNukem - 5/12/2014, 4:05 PM
not bad...

works for me!
JorL5150 - 5/12/2014, 4:05 PM
she is HAWT- i cant begin to tell you.

one glass of wine= frisky and flirty
two glasses of wine = make out, grope, dont care who's watching or if we're at church
three glasses? good thing she's on the pill, and i can drive with my feet.
MrMartinMarvel - 5/12/2014, 4:08 PM
3 and a half stars? Hm, I'll take it. Great review Ror.
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 5/12/2014, 4:09 PM
From the trailers, I expected to not see a lot of the big guy. I'm fine with that. Great review!
DefcoN - 5/12/2014, 4:12 PM
Good review Ror! I'll watch it this Friday.
Mrcool210 - 5/12/2014, 4:13 PM
im just going to guess what wildings review will be
1/5 sucks like pacific rim. Am i right? or will i have to eat my words?
TheBaroness89 - 5/12/2014, 4:14 PM
well that's promising news. Alrighty then its Godzilla week!
beane2099 - 5/12/2014, 4:18 PM
Given that they were referencing Godzilla '54 (and I'd argue '84 as well) this was what I was expecting. The best Godzilla flicks aren't centered around Godzilla. The first movie was more about a love triangle and how that affected the use of the only weapon that could stop the beast. Godzilla Returns (1985) was more about the world's reaction to his return. It made full use of the Cold War and inserted Godzilla into world events. And to me watching the US and USSR almost go to war because of Godzilla's shenanigans was a bit more interesting than another 5 minutes of Godzilla destroying buildings. Also Raymond Burr stared at things (if you watched the American version).
Comedian03 - 5/12/2014, 4:19 PM
After the garbage-fest that was Pacific Rim, I'm looking forward to this one a lot.
Mrcool210 - 5/12/2014, 4:19 PM
but in seriousness good review Ror. Giant monster movies arn't my thing though. Haven't found a single one i enjoyed. But maybe ill check it out. If it has a good story and characters, Bryan cranston does make me want to see it. But im still debating
ndwwrestler2 - 5/12/2014, 4:23 PM
So it was good?...


beane2099 - 5/12/2014, 4:24 PM
I will add that after you've set the emotional tone with the first movie, all bets are off. While Godzilla and Godzilla '85 are in the top tier of Godzilla films, other films like Monster Zero, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla ('74), Giant Monster All-Out Attack and Godzilla: Final Wars are in a very close second tier in terms of being fun. So the sequel (if they get to make it) needs to reflect that Godzilla as well.
SuperCat - 5/12/2014, 4:25 PM
Oh yeah! I'm seeing it. Good review!
Humperdink - 5/12/2014, 4:29 PM
"SCRReeEEEeeeeeOOooonk!"

Yep, that's pretty accurately spelled out.
I can't wait to see it.
Kyos - 5/12/2014, 4:29 PM
Good review! I have my ticket for Thursday. :D
Asterisk - 5/12/2014, 4:31 PM
Cool! Does anyone know if there are any references to other Toho Kaiju in the flick? (Mothra, Rodan, Jet Jaguar, etc.)
JorL5150 - 5/12/2014, 4:33 PM
MOTHRA or GTFO
maninfinesuit - 5/12/2014, 4:34 PM
Eh. Pacific Rim's battle scenes were supposed to be the worth the price of admission, too, but that was enormously disappointing. Think this might be a discount theatre watch.
McGee - 5/12/2014, 4:35 PM
But what does Ja Rule think of Godzilla?
SpiderFraud - 5/12/2014, 4:36 PM
I don't mind not seeing Godzilla, if the teases and slow burn works well (Kinda like Alien). 15 minutes is kinda lame...still hyped, though.
SpiderFraud - 5/12/2014, 4:41 PM
How is the atmosphere and tone, is it like the first trailer?
InfiniteMonkey - 5/12/2014, 4:42 PM
I totally wanna see ze lizaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!
RorMachine - 5/12/2014, 4:50 PM
Nah, Pacific Rim's battle scenes were cool but the rest of the movie was so bad that it didn't matter. Godzilla is much better.

I didn't catch any references or Easter eggs for other monsters..but it's possible.
KidGoku - 5/12/2014, 4:52 PM
How was Malificent?
TheAbaryMan369 - 5/12/2014, 4:56 PM
Great review. I love the fact that Godzilla isn't in the movie much. I'd rather see a great twist on a really old movie with new human characters and emotion with great details on every aspect of the movie, than a bunch of punches and explosions. If I wanted that, I'd see Bayformers. Also, don't forget that the original Godzilla movie only had the titular character in it for about 15% of the movie. I'll definitely be seeing this opening weekend,
blackandyellow - 5/12/2014, 4:57 PM
70% is a C- where I come from.
ndwwrestler2 - 5/12/2014, 5:02 PM
@McGee