Godzilla has a cinematic history that has lasted longer than almost every other currently-running franchise. However, only a couple of times has an American filmmaker tackled the beast, and not always with satisfactory results. In 1956, King of All Monsters was released, but it used clips from the original film, and blended it with a mockumentary style wrapping. Later, we would get King Kong VS. Godzilla, as well as Godzilla 85. During the eighties, there was talks of an American Godzilla film, written by Fred Dekker and produced by Steve Miner, but nothing ever came to fruition. In 1998, a big budget American Godzilla was unleashed onto the public, and it was mostly awful. For starters, the creature in the film didn’t even resembled Godzilla, a creature that has the most recognizable form in monster movie history. Instead, it seemed like a generic Jurassic Park ripoff, with terrible running gags, and an overall lackluster public reception. To this day, Godzilla ’98 is considered to be the worst entry in the series. When it was announced that a new American Godzilla film in the works, fans were skeptical. When it was revealed that Gareth Edwards would be behind the lens, most of the skepticism turned into anticipation. Edwards made a low budget monster movie a few years ago called Monsters. We knew he could pull it off under a tight budget, so giving him millions seemed like the best possible idea. Godzilla 2014 was released to theaters, and met with mostly positive reactions. It has its detractors, but what film doesn’t? Finally, Edwards version of the King of Monsters, is available on home video.
In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world’s most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
I will agree on one point, however, that a character that was marketed as being an important part of the film, vanishes really early into the running time. It seems odd to dispatch of such a popular actor in such a way. When watching the movie for the first time, it’s really jarring to suddenly realize that the “main character” isn’t actually the main character. It was a ballsy move, though. And, it gives Aarol Taylor-Johnson a chance to show us what he can do without his Kick-Ass costume. Honestly, I didn’t even recognize him until the credits. He has that going for him, though. He just sort of disappears into his roles. I remember thinking – after viewing the first Kick-Ass film – that he was just sort of interchangeable in that role. I’ve since watched it a few more times, as well as the sequel, and after Godzilla, I’m really warming up to him as an actor. He does a great job with his role in Godzilla, even if I didn’t recognize him at first. Elizabeth Olsen does a good job as well. I’m a big fan of hers, especially after Martha, Marcy, Mae Marlene. The entire cast of characters does a great job, and there’s even a few cameos if you have a sharp enough eye to spot them.
Overall, I would have to say that this is probably the second “best” Godzilla film. Second to the original 1954 film, of course. There really isn’t a Godzilla movie that I can’t just sit down and watch. They’re all entertaining to some degree. As far as production values, and overall effectiveness goes though, Godzilla 2014 stands toe-to-toe with the original. Some people are going to have a hard time with it, because you do spend a good portion of the film focusing on the characters, with little flashes of Godzilla and the new creatures created specifically for this movie, the M.U.T.O.s. Now that you have this information in advance, though, it should come as no shock as you watch while the movie progresses, and eventually morphs into an all-out-brawl between monsters, leaving most of the city in burning rubble. It takes a while to get there, but the payoff is most certainly worth the buildup.