Godzilla (2014)

Ford Brody, a Navy bomb expert, has just reunited with his family in San Francisco when he is forced to go to Japan to help his estranged father, Joe. Soon, both men are swept up in an escalating crisis when Godzilla, King of the Monsters, arises from the sea to combat malevolent adversaries that threaten the survival of humanity. The creatures leave colossal destruction in their wake, as they make their way toward their final battleground: San Francisco.

Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston

Review: Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla sets itself a task that, in an age of CGI and summers clogged with big-budget tentpoles, is basically impossible. It wants to dazzle and awe its audience with sheer spectacle, even though they should at this point be completely inured to computer-rendered visions of city destruction, giant creatures and ear-crushing roars and groans. Incredibly, it succeeds. Like so many films of this scale, it’s easy to level some complaints about the characterizations of the puny humans. But Edwards is smart enough to make that part of his mission statement. More than anything, Godzilla is about how puny we are. When we get our first (of relatively few) full-on looks at the creature, Edwards wants us to tremble, and tremble we should.

It’s already been much-discussed, but Edwards’ ploy is to keep the monster off-screen for pretty much the entire first hour, then dole him out in delicious little chunks for the rest of the movie. This is not quite a Jaws situation, where the more we see of the monster in the last act, the less he’s actually terrifying. Edwards and his visual effects team have created a genuinely fearsome beast; they just want you to lean forward in your seat every time you get a look at him.

Verdict: Worth the Popcorn

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