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Saturday, May 17, 2014
Let me preface this review by saying that I am a Godzilla nerd and have been literally my entire life. I, like other Godzilla nerds, refer to him as “Goji” and have a full collection of Godzilla toys. I have a Godzilla toy that is almost bigger than my grandson. Godzilla movies are one of the building blocks that make up the foundation of my life. So, this movie was something I was anticipating for a long time.

The new Godzilla movie will get a pass from all Goji fans because we have been waiting for this movie for a full decade. Toho, the company that owns Godzilla, always makes fans wait a decade in between each movie series. It is cruel, but it is something we have come to live with. After 10 years, Toho calls on Legendary Pictures to do a reboot and bring film’s most famous monster back to life. What we got was one of the best adventure movies ever made, but it falls a little short of being a great Godzilla movie.

The one thing I was most worried about is that director Gareth Edwards would create some kind of abomination along the lines of the 1998 heresy, but he did not. The new Godzilla, in my opinion, looks like Godzilla should look and acts like Godzilla should act. The roar is extremely powerful and Godzilla’s strength is undeniable.

All of the kaiju in this movie are incredible. From their design to their look on screen, all three monsters are amazing. The MUTOs are extremely intense and more than worthy adversaries for the King of the Monsters. The CGI used to create the monsters is flawless and the movie looks like it was filmed in real time. The monster sounds, and the sound effects in general, are some of the best I have ever heard. It would not surprise me if this movie is at least nominated for some sort of production or special effects Oscar. The production work on this movie is that good.

As action movies go, Godzilla is one of the best you will ever see. Edwards takes great care in putting together a story that builds and builds until it literally explodes into a frenzy of activity. This is well beyond any explosion-filled thriller that Michael Bay has created over the past few years. This is a well-designed movie that has amazing pace and never gets boring. Overall, this is a great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone. However…

As a Godzilla movie, this one falls short. I really love the movie Cloverfield, but I hate how the kaiju in the movie seems to take a backseat to the human drama. In any movie based on a kaiju character, the kaiju plotline must be strong for the movie to be good. Toho may have made some campy Godzilla movies in the past, but Toho always understood the importance of having a strong kaiju plotline to go along with the human plotline.

In Godzilla, the kaiju plotline is lacking. The origin stories for Godzilla and the MUTOs are a little weak and inconsistent. We are given some background on Godzilla and the MUTOs, but much of it makes no sense. I can’t get into any more details here because that would ruin the movie for you, but I did find the origin stories hard to follow and accept.

The thing I found most odd about this movie is that I had to suspend disbelief to go with the human storyline, but I did not have to suspend disbelief to buy into the kaiju story. Some of the things that the humans do and say just make no sense. But, being a fan of all of Godzilla’s movies (I celebrate the guy’s entire catalog), it was easy to allow the nonsense to go on because I am so used to it. But when the monsters came out, it was just absolutely amazing to watch and seemed natural. Edwards used the old “you’re watching this on CNN” cliché, but it works so well here that I loved it.

Ken Watanabe plays Dr. Serizawa, which is an homage to the original 1954 movie that featured a pivotal character with the same name. I wanted to like Dr. Serizawa in this movie, but instead I found him to be more amusing than entertaining. He spent the entire movie looking like he was lost at the mall and had no idea where he was going or what he was doing. I think Edwards missed a chance to create a very strong character with Dr. Serizawa, but I am certain we will see this character in the sequels.

Overall, putting all of the fanboy stuff to the side, Godzilla is a great movie that lives up to the hype. It is not the movie that G-fans wanted, but it is the movie that we knew we needed to have. There isn’t a lot of science fiction in this movie, which is one of its biggest appeals. This is just the King of the Monsters kicking butt and saving the world. And, honestly, what could be better than that?

Rating: 5 out of 5

George N Root III is a drive-in movie fanatic. He can be reached at Go to the drive-in and make it your summer habit!

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