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Movie Review: 'Godzilla' a Colossal Success

by Todd A. Smith

 (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Massive Success

 ½

          Everything about the monster Godzilla is massive.

          Massive fights versus malevolent enemies; massive victories; massive destruction have all been a part of the “Godzilla” franchise, despite the fact that not all of the “Godzilla” installments have left fans massively satisfied.

          However, 2014 represents a new beginning for the massive creature, and the latest film does nothing but satisfy and then some.

          In 1999, seismic activity in Japan leads to the death and destruction of many people and things in a Japanese town.

          Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is supposed to be celebrating his birthday with his wife and son Ford, but instead is forced into a life and death situation that he has to manage.

          Many of the residents of the Japanese town work at a local radiation plant and the common assumption is that either excess radiation led to the tremors or it was a natural disaster and totally unavoidable.

          Joe always questioned the legitimacy of that assumption because the tremors had a detectable pattern and earthquakes occur randomly with no rhyme or reason.

          Fifteen years after the “quake,” the entire community has been quarantined.

          Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is now married with a four year old son, living in San Francisco and working as a military bomb expert.

          When Ford is finally able to spend time with his family, away from his military duties, the United States Consulate informs him of his father’s arrest in Japan for trespassing in the quarantined district.

          Upon arrival in Japan, Joe is able to persuade Ford to visit their old neighborhood where he discovers that despite the tremors there is no traceable radiation in the area.  His discovery proves that there is something foreign about the tremors and that what endangers the entire planet is underground.

          First and foremost, “Godzilla” filmmakers like director Gareth Edwards and writers Max Borenstein and Dave Callaham should take a bow because many blockbusters have great acting or great special effects. 

Rarely does a summer blockbuster benefit from both qualities.  But the filmmakers are able to combine modern technology with old-fashioned good acting to make a brilliant picture.

          Taylor-Johnson will be Hollywood’s next big action star.  The 23-year-old English actor has the physicality required for an action movie star, but also has the sensitivity and emotion of a veteran thespian.  Like many action films, you either get one gift or the other, but like “Godzilla” the lead actor has both necessities.

          The special effects are magnificent.  The creatures that modern technology creates continue to amaze with the colossal size of the monsters and their dexterity.

          Furthermore, Cranston shines just as brightly as Taylor-Johnson.  He is able to emotionally convey the pain of a hurt husband and father. 

Also, the actor is able to portray a convincing science geek without becoming too nerdy with too much science jargon.  He is a sympathetic and likeable nerd in a sense.

          Nevertheless, “Godzilla” did not necessarily need 3-D technology to be an effective film.

          Granted, the fighting scenes between the monsters and the destruction of skyscrapers makes 3-D understandable, but 95 percent of the film could have been in regular 2-D and audiences would have not felt slighted.

          Nonetheless, the film’s massive positive traits more than compensates for its miniscule negative trait.

          The result for “Godzilla” is a gigantic hit film on a massive scale.

 

REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Friday 16 May, 2014.
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