Seek cover! Godzilla returns to the big screen this summer, roaring like the King of the Monsters should. Bolstered by outstanding effects, a cast with Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and absolutely none of the mistakes that plagued the 1998 film, the new Godzilla is blockbuster summer fare on a grand scale [insert “scaly” joke here!].
Because everyone goes to see a Godzilla film for the familial drama, yes, the 2014 attempts to build its heart around good soldier Ford Brody, his father, his wife, and son (and a lost boy about halfway through), but the true beating narrative is the cold blood pumping through the titular monster. It turns out that Godzilla is the Earth’s protector, created to bring “balance” whenever other scary, giant monsters turn up and ruin vacation spots like Hawaii and Vegas. Godzilla emotes far more believably than the human cast, although Watanabe deserves credit for delivering the film’s best line (“Let them fight,” in answer to the U.S. military’s convoluted plan to knock out all three monsters at once).
Snark aside, this is nevertheless a blast with high tension throughout--and when the monster fights do happen, the audience would be wise to clear their throats of any excess popcorn. There are cheer-worthy moments when Godzilla comes to the rescue, and the scope of destruction is immense and impressively managed.
Be advised that this film features more of the destruction that the monsters cause than the monsters themselves. This is a classic Godzilla approach, as the Kaiju retain their terror and mystique without overexposure. And when he is given ample screen time, Godzilla is a wonder to behold; his new film is best viewed on as big of a screen as possible and with eyes open wide