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Fifteen years after an 'incident' at a Japanese nuclear power plant, physicist Joe Brody joins forces with his soldier son Ford to discover for themselves what really happened. What they uncover is prelude to global-threatening devastation. An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

May 16, 2014

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Epic mayhem by monsters

Reviewed by Kunal Khandwala

Earth's radioactive core has long inhabited creatures unknown. Over the course of time, natural depletion and easy availability on the surface, brought these dark monsters into direct contact with mankind and while governments tried to evade the threats with nuclear bombs, they failed to realize that nature wasn't in their control. As the unidentified monsters rise for destruction and nuclear consumption against the defenseless humans, our struggle to survive lingers on nature's way of restoring the balance in the form of the gargantuan monster: Godzilla. Director Gareth Edwards ('Monsters') alters the origins of the kaiju and builds the suspense for an extended period before revealing in sheer enormity and horrifying detail, the monster that will dominate even the IMAX screen. You can cheer for him in battle and be in awe of his powers but you simply cannot deny the insinuation of fear as you behold Godzilla for the first time. This is a traditional Monster movie.

The creature was first spotted in 1954 and attempts, in the name of 'tests', were made to destroy him with the atom bomb. Jumping to 1999, Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) discovers massive fossils and two giant egg pods in a part of a collapsed Philippine mine. Something has escaped from one of the pods into the Pacific. Meanwhile, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), while investigating recent seismic activity around the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan, suffers the tragic loss of his wife who couldn't escape the exploding radiation that also led to the plant's ruin. What was covered up as an Earthquake accident, would continue to intrigue Joe who suspected something worse.
15 years later, his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – 'Kickass') serves in the navy's bomb disposal unit and along with his wife and child, is wary of his father's conspiracy theories about the Janjira accident that get him arrested for trespassing its quarantine zone. As he flies to Japan to bail his father out, his arguments with him soon turn to a sympathetic understanding which leads them into another arrest but this time, they discover the remains of the nuclear plant that now harbor a large radioactive cocoon of sorts. The first of the MUTO (Massive unidentified terrestrial organism) thus hatches and escapes after completely destroying the area while on the other side of the world, another MUTO has hatched from the second Philippine pod that was stored in a secret nuclear waste facility in Nevada. On its way out, the creature destroys Las Vegas just because it had to.
A missing nuclear submarine is found in the forests of Hawaii and its reactor is consumed by the male MUTO who then heads to Honolulu, causing major destruction. The only force that can stop him has arrived after causing a tsunami and its chase leads the battle to the San Francisco bay.
The military deploys nuclear warheads by rail and boat towards the city to destroy the MUTOs but their plans are foiled by the desperate creatures who then create a nest around it in downtown San Francisco. Helpless and hopeless, the defenseless humans find their unexpected ally in a creature that arrives with just one agenda. At the Golden Gate bridge, Godzilla finally rises in his complete colossal monstrosity and with a tremor-causing roar, stomps his way into battle. The military's attempt to retrieve the warhead gets sidelined as the monsters fight through a city that is now turning to debris.

Edwards' 'Godzilla' remains faithful to the Toho series and the Kaiju legend by introducing new creatures and posing them as the threat against mankind. Prolonging the engagement with the monsters until the second quarter, he not only builds up the suspense of the visuals but also of their destructive nature. Even though many may whine about Godzilla's absence in the first 40 mins, his complete revelation is surely worth the wait. In the true form of a daikaiju (giant Kaiju), Godzilla's enormity is shocking and his piercing roar, scary. He is evidently pissed as though woken up abruptly from a long slumber.
The MUTO on the other hand look equally menacing and capable of catastrophic destruction.
Apart from the monsters department, the exemplary CGI delivers stunning visuals of destruction with train derailments, mayhem on Golden Gate bridge, falling airplanes, collapsing towers and buildings, the tsunami's force and of course, the numerous explosions. However, the definitive visual that captures the essence of the film's destructive narrative is the 'Halo jump'. As the soldiers dive from a plane into the smokey blackness of the burning San Francisco with red flares emanating from their feet, they pass the towering bulk of Godzilla who is engaged in a terrifying battle that has destroyed the city already. The visual is both eerie and stunning.

Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston convincingly portray their scientific knowledge and their fears of the unknown creatures. Cranston is also splendid in maintaining his beliefs after his tragic loss and separation from his son. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is comparatively lackluster in his depiction of the Ford Brody and fails to get the audience to relate to his character's challenges. The film's hero of course is Godzilla whose limited expressions of anger can even win him an award or two.

In his attempt to provide context over CGI filled action for two hours, the director builds up tension with a story involving the scientists who first understood the monsters, the people engaged in a battle against them and the monsters with their natural instincts. In an innovative departure from the norm, Edwards doesn't always delineate the battles directly. Sometimes the fights are witnessed through closing doors and sometimes through windows and reflections. The feeling of dread and insecurity is thus reflected by the temporary shelter taken by surviving humans whereas in the thick of the action, there's astounding detail in the creatures' anatomy and intensity of their destructive forces.

With exemplary sound effects, thoroughly crafted CGI visuals, a well developed story to support the destruction and a creature that rises horrifyingly larger than his predecessors, 'Godzilla' is a complete monster movie with enough mayhem. Watch him in IMAX 3D else he may not fit within the normal screen.

- 8.683 on a scale of 1-10.

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Reviewed by 1bc923f4c3fba113966fe10493d36c32?size=16 Enrique

I have always loved Godzilla movies. The biggest, the baddest monster on earth.

When I first saw the poster for this movie, I could not believe the size of him. Very well towering over buildings. I knew from that instance I would have to see this movie.

I really liked the acting of both Ken and Bryan. They made the story seem so real. I really like how this movie kept you in suspense most of the time.

The visuals were mind blowing and when Godzilla appeared, I was petrified.

This is a really good movie with a good plot, good acting and stunning visual effects. This is a must see.

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A very modern and different take on the Godzilla franchise

Reviewed by 175b867e71a14381dc7f1c7488052504?size=16 William Derrik Wright

This film is a breath of fresh air into the lungs of the Godzilla franchise. After years upon years upon years of unbearable films. Don't even get me started on on the Matthew Brodrick Godzilla film.
The story is actually pretty good. Godzilla fighting two of the most dangerous villains. The action is superb and the suspense is amazing. You don't actually see Godzilla until about forty-five minutes into the film. It really builds the suspense, however, it can become annoying.
Brian Cranston is one of the big names in this film, fresh off the heels of "Breaking Bad". The biggest shock in the whole film is when his character is killed off early in the film. The beginning sets up the idea that he is going to be the main human character in the film.
Perhaps the worst aspect of the film is Godzilla has very little screen time. The humans have more screen time and drive the story more than Godzilla himself. You even see the two villains BEFORE you see Godzilla. It is a bit annoying that he doesn't make a lot of screen time.
The ending is pretty confusing as well. It is extremely anti-climactic. It raises a lot of questions that leave you walking out of the theater with an almost empty feeling.
Overall, it is a very enjoyable film. The story is strong and the action is dark and gritty. It pushes the limits of monster movies and accomplishes what the other Godzilla pictures did not.

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