Review by: Jon Vitale
All right, let me say one thing first: I’m a huge Godzilla fan. When I offered to write this review, I went in expecting to hate it; I was expecting another disappointment like the 1998 film of the same name, a movie I like to refer to as “giant iguana goes to New York, eats a bunch of fish, has the unfortunate luck of meeting Matthew Broderick, and gets killed by jets.” However, this is not that movie - this is actually a Godzilla movie.
The movie starts with a series of accidents that look to be Godzilla's doing. Massive amounts of radiation disappearing and a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Japan. Bryan Cranston does his best Bryan Cranston not believing it was a simple accident; he was a supervisor at the plant pre-accident. Cranston gets arrested sneaking into the restricted area, which gets his son Ford (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to travel to Japan to bail him out. The two end up sneaking back in and getting caught again. This leads to a series of events that awakens a new monster.
I'm not going to get into details (to avoid major spoilers), but the new monster proceeds to start heading east towards Hawaii. Godzilla eventually shows up in Honolulu chasing after the other monster. The reveal on Godzilla for the first is great. The man with the worst luck in the world, Ford, is of course on a connecting military flight in Hawaii. He once again is delayed by the monsters.
Pro's of this movie: it’s very respectful to the source material, with the exception of extremely major detail. This probably should go under cons, but the entire point of Godzilla is meant to be a warning about using nuclear weapons. He originally was the result of atomic weapon testing.
Getting back to the positives: I saw this is IMAX 3D and the sound was fantastic - Godzilla's roar rattled the fillings in my teeth. The visual effects were a highlight of the movie, as Godzilla looked great (totally not a dude in a suit) as did the other monsters, along with the destruction and other action shots. Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe were both great in their roles. Cranston is his paranoid conspiracy nut broken man role; Watanabe in what appeared to me to be an homage to Raymond Burr's role in Godzilla 1985. One more awesome thing is the reveal on Godzilla's atomic breath.
Some cons: other than the actors I mentioned above, every other actor in this movie is completely forgettable. I had to look up the main character’s name (Ford). Elizabeth Olsen is nothing but big scared eyes in this film. The movie also starts out fairly slow; I don't believe Godzilla shows up until about 45 minutes in. My final complaint is there just isn't “monster on monster” action.
As an extreme Godzilla fan that expected to hate the movie, my final opinion is that I loved it. It's a fun movie that's entertaining even for non-Godzilla fans. The action sequences alone are worth seeing on the big screen, and I strongly recommend this movie.
Godzilla is currently playing in theaters, and has a runtime of 123 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.