'Godzilla' Review: Visually Spectacular

‘Godzilla,’ director Gareth Edwards’ update on the famous Nuclear-Age monster finally brings to the big screen a style and vision that will please U.S. audiences.

While the notion of enormous monsters is inherently silly, this latest incarnation of the famous Japanese creature is presented with such visual artistry and expertise that it simply out-paces your sense of disbelief.

The 2014 ‘Godzilla’ adopts a unique take on the mythology that ‘Gojira’ (or ‘Godzilla’ to American audiences) was a byproduct of nuclear testing. Instead, Edwards’ film finds the creature to be a long-dormant species who through our nuclear hubris may have been awakened.

There are a few political overtones about the perils of nuclear power, just as the original 1954 film postulated sixty years ago.

Where the 2014 ‘Godzilla’ really shines is in the artistry and technology used to bring this story to life.

Gareth Edwards hasn’t just relied on technological advances in special effects. His directing style is filled with some visual flourishes and a dark, catastrophic tone, that makes this the ‘Godzilla’ movie that fans have been waiting for.

While last summer’s monster mayhem was ably filled with the exciting ‘Pacific Rim,’ this year belongs to ‘Godzilla.’ The scope of Edwards’ movie is epic and yet delivers a sense of realism that keeps your attention once our story gets moving.

The cast, which includes: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen don’t do anything to derail the momentum of the film. But, we’re not expecting an actor’s Oscars-race to begin with Flixnerds. This is a Monster Movie!

Other than a sly wink to Steven Spielberg’s shark hunting “Chief Brody” from ‘Jaws,’ Edwards doesn’t spend a lot of time on unnecessary character development. The sub-plots are well constructed but smartly kept to the sidelines.

The fairly simple story involves a Fukushima-type accident which claims the life of scientist Joe Brody’s wife among its victims. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is a little over-the-top hysterical about “what really happened” to cause the accident.

The Japanese nuclear facility had harbored beneath it a prehistoric life form which had been feeding off of the plant’s radioactivity. After the accident, the mysterious Monarch organization secures the intruding monster and keeps it captive. It gets loose. Did I mention that this is a monster movie?

There are several city-destroying action sequences in ‘Godzilla.’ Edwards film, much as he did with ‘Monsters’, does a nice job of building suspense in between and during these scenes for maximum effect on the audience.

I would place ‘Godzilla’ in a bad-ass triple bill with ‘Cloverfield‘ and ‘Pacific Rim‘ for a weekend MonsterThon if you’re a fan of this genre. The three best of the giant monster sub-genre of films in the last twenty years. My apologies to fans of the South Korean film ‘The Host.’

I saw ‘Godzilla’ in 3D, and it is definitely worth the slight increase in ticket price for this movie. Not as much enthusiastic fun as ‘Pacific Rim’ for my money, but an incredibly impressive feat visually makes ‘Godzilla’ a winner.

Flixnerd Rating: ★★★★☆

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