In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant was mysteriously destroyed with most hands lost including supervisor Joe Brody's colleague and wife, Sandra. Years later, Joe's son, Ford, a US Navy ordnance disposal officer, must go to Japan to help his estranged father who obsessively searches for the truth of the incident. In doing so, father and son discover the disaster's secret cause on the wreck's very grounds. This enables them to witness the reawakening of a terrible threat to all of Humanity, which is made all the worse with a second secret revival elsewhere. Against this cataclysm, the only hope for the world may be Godzilla, but the challenge for the King of the Monsters will be great even as Humanity struggles to understand the destructive ally they have.
|16 May 2014 (Indonesia)|
|Action | Adventure | Sci-FI | Thriller ||
|Ratings||7,2/10 from 117.047 users Metascore: 62/100|
|Starcast||Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston|
|Country: USA | Japan|
Language: English | Japanese
ReviewA legendary brand name built over the course of nearly 30 feature films, Godzilla has proven himself to be a valuable cinematic icon, with his monster-stomping ways thrilling audiences all over the world. Often the center of citywide destruction, there isn’t much to do with the character beyond large-scale violence, leaving the human factor to guide all these efforts, in a series that kicked off 60 years ago. 2014’s “Godzilla” isn’t a remake but a reboot, hoping to reignite the fervor for creature mayhem with a newly designed King of the Monsters and a supporting cast of talented actors hired to make awestruck faces and smoothly exchange expositional dialogue, with a newfound concentration on heartbreaking scenes of loss. There is might and fury to “Godzilla” that’s often amazing to behold, but its limitations and weird storytelling choices throttle the escapism, while the titular Goliath merely makes an extended cameo in his own picture.
After the loss of his wife during a disaster at a Japanese nuclear power plant, physicist Joe (Bryan Cranston) has dedicated his life to the discovery of the strange force that initially triggered the chaos. Finding signs that the menace is returning, Joe and his son, bomb disposal technician Ford (Aaron Johnson, “Kick-Ass”), return to Japan to investigate, coming across the introduction of a M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), a deadly monster that feeds on radiation. Tracking the progress of the M.U.T.O. is Dr. Ishiro (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Vivian (Sally Hawkins), who report to Admiral Stenz (David Strathairn), working to understand the creature and find a weakness. Separated from his wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), and young son in the midst of all the global pandemonium, Ford returns to duty, joining military forces as they hash out a plan to use nuclear weapons on the M.U.T.O. without destroying San Francisco. Emerging as the only hope is Godzilla, the alpha monster who’s after the M.U.T.O. for encroaching on his territory, persuading the humans to just let them battle it out.
Director Gareth Edwards made a splash with his 2010 debut, “Monsters,” which was essentially a “Godzilla” film without a budget. It proved to be an apt calling card, securing him a gig on a new “Godzilla” endeavor, only this one has an enormous amount of money to spend to bring its beasts to life. The feature does boast outstanding visual effects, with the creatures superbly designed and fluidly animated, while the movie as a whole carries imposing scale, always managing the difference between puny, panicking humans and the skyscraper-sized behemoths. It’s a stunning picture to watch, carrying a feeling of heaviness and impending doom that allows the giants to be scary for a change, with Edwards isolating the M.U.T.O.’s instinctual behaviors and unstoppable journey to secure the next tasty morsel of deadly radiation, while Godzilla is a thick-necked cage fighter looking to protect his Earthly turf, with the people on the ground finally realizing that the only way to defeat a monster is to send a monster after it.
“Godzilla” doesn’t pause for laughs, selecting a grave atmosphere of guilt and survival that threads throughout much of the movie. Edwards manages the harsh tone with a great degree of skill, capturing sobering desperation as characters are faced with life and death situations, while Joe’s drive to uncover the conspiracy surrounding the nuclear plant accident he narrowly escaped from is surprisingly potent in its emotions and dramatic possibilities, creating an engine of intrigue that gets “Godzilla” to its halfway point without even seeing the big lizard, who’s introduced through speeches and tremors. The film has substance and a mostly proficient cast (save for Taylor-Johnson, a Brit actor who couldn’t pull off a convincing American accent if his life depended on it), and Edwards is careful to keep the creatures in play, merging flashes of M.U.T.O. destruction in Las Vegas and San Francisco with military might and a few near-misses for Ford, including a monorail showdown in Hawaii.
The screenplay by Max Borenstein is troublesome but engaging, generating an ominous tone of nuclear disaster without actually condemning the industry, enjoying the dramatic possibilities of weaponry (there’s a ticking clock finale featuring a live warhead) instead of exploring disaster movie commentary concerning the very appearance of such giants. In terms of action, Borenstein goes big on more than one occasion, embracing the monster stomp as cities are leveled by the M.U.T.O. and Godzilla, but he also employs child endangerment to power suspense for two major set-pieces, leaning toward cheap thrills when the rest of the effort is capable of summoning intensity with a simple promise of impending catastrophe.
As previously mentioned, Godzilla isn’t the star of “Godzilla,” with Edwards saving the lizard for the finale, tasked with smacking M.U.T.O. around. It’s an enticing prospect, even without man-in-suit camp, but the production has a nasty habit of defusing potentially rousing moments of combat, frequently cutting away just when the film is about to burst with excitement. Edwards appears to understand the appeal of Godzilla, but rarely is there a sustained moment with the monster that exposes his killer instinct. The roar remains and there are a few surprises left in the creature, but it’s strange to watch the feature avoid prolonged beats of battle between the titans, always returning to the humans and their slack-jawed reactions, incidents of separation and, for Ford, dazzling military operations. Granted, Godzilla’s building-toppling might has become routine, but the movie’s payoff is lacking serious brute force, robbing the picture of the one element most audiences are waiting impatiently for.