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Film Review: “Godzilla” (2014)


Directed By: Gareth Edwards

Screenplay: Max Borenstein

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

In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant starts experiencing seismic activity. Plant supervisor Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) sends his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and her teammates inside to look for damage. During the inspection, an explosion occurs, threatening to release radiation to the outside.  Joe Brody makes a difficult decision- closing the gate so that his wife and her teammates are locked up inside. Due to the disaster and the earthquake, the whole Janjira area is evacuated and quarantined.  Fifteen years later, Joe Brody still blames himself for his wife`s death and strongly believes that there is something hiding inside of Janjira, and that the government is trying to cover it up. He is arrested for trespassing in the quarantined area.  Meanwhile, Joe`s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is  an officer in the United States Navy, living in San Francisco with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son.

He finds out that his father is behind the bar, and immediately leaves San Francisco for Japan to bring him back home. Instead of bringing him back to San Francisco, Joe decides to assist his father with his crazy conspiracy theories and to find out the truth.   His father tries to convince the people that there are bad things coming. According to Joe, whatever it is, it has an ability to communicate, which is something that might send humanity back to the Stone Ages. His theory is right since the creature that lived at Janjira was a MUTO which feeds off radiation and radioactive materials.  MUTO is hunted by a much larger creature, named “Godzilla”. During the awakening of one of these monsters, Joe dies; leaving his son to battle the monsters alone.

Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” starts out very interesting and makes us believe that we are going to see an unreal and absolutely breathtaking action film where Godzilla will be the main character.

The interesting part of this film was when Bryan Cranston`s character was still alive; as Bryan himself was quite compelling as Joe, and made the beginning of the film very promising. Unfortunately, Gareth Edwards could not make the idea of the film survive because what happens after is extremely funny and just unbelievable.

Instead of trying to find a way to get back home to his wife Elle, and son, after his father dies, Ford decides to join the army to help protect humanity from unknown reptiles.  At the same time, he is still trying to  get home, but every time he tries, he either changes his mind and decides to continue the battle, or something else comes up to stop him. The whole movie was about humans and how they run pointlessly around with guns, fighting against extremely strong and invincible monsters, with absolutely no emotion on their faces.

By the first half of the movie there is almost nothing left of Honolulu.  Most of the city is destroyed, and people are dying every second.  My biggest issue with the film was the human point of view. It was a disaster/monster movie with a human story wrapped around it. Imagine, there are three monsters fighting against each other.  In this case, Godzilla fights against MUTO monster. We find that the people are rooting for Godzilla, even though he is against humans.

I really tried to be optimistic, but Gareth Edward`s “Godzilla” was, for me, a big disappointment. I understand the need for the human element in movies like these, but this was way too much. Ford`s appearance itself was meaningless for me- even his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and his son’s appearance was meaningless. I felt no emotional impact from any of the main characters- except Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche, whose talent was wasted at the very beginning of the movie when they were both killed off. Even though Elizabeth Olsen tries hard to show her emotions, she never actually does. Sometimes, when you watch such movies as these, you expect to see much more of the Monsters than of the humans, who are powerless even with all the advanced weapons they have. I also found Aaron-Johnson a bit annoying, as the expression on his face never changed from the beginning till the end of the movie.  By doing this, he fails to show us all his suffering, and desperate willingness to reunite with his family.

I truly respect Gareth Edwards attempt to bring his loving, innocent monsters to life in a big production like this. He tried to show Godzilla as a Hero; a savior for humanity. It seems he knows what to do and how to do it, but fails to execute it.


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