It’s that inimitable sound — the one that sounds like a speeding freight train flying off the tracks headfirst into a worst-case scenario.
It’s that roar — that Godzilla shout — that tells the whole world, like Muhammad Ali, that he’s the best.
It’s hard to forget that sound, and while the character has gone through plenty of visual changes, it’s that from-the-guts proclamation that lets everyone know the King of Monsters has returned, and he’s lock and loaded.
The last American Godzilla movie failed to capture the creature’s personality or presence — it was essentially a movie about a dinosaur gone rogue in an urban landscape. But credit director Gareth Edwards for putting together what amounts to Godzilla Begins, a realistic but faithful reboot that gives fans something truly amazing — a multi-layered movie that’s got some real muscle.
Don’t be alarmed about the deliberate and paced setup — monsters don’t show up at all in the first act, but that doesn’t mean their presence isn’t felt.
This is, after all, a monster movie disguised as a disaster film, and we need to know what’s at stake on a human level before things start blowing up.
Enter Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), nuclear plant supervisor, whose worries about tremors in the area are finally realized when the plant becomes the epicenter and is destroyed by an unknown force.
The rest of the movie belongs to Joe’s son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), an EOD technician for the Navy who becomes fatherless after the MUTO breaks out of his cocoon and travels the globe in search of food.
The hunter becomes hunted when Godzilla shows up — the apex predator from a long-lost and radioactive world. With the advent of nuclear technology, these monsters have woken up, ready to feed.
While scenes shift from one side of the world to the other as military forces try to contain the colossal threats, momentum builds for an epic finish that’s a contender for an exhilarating fight sequence.
Working off an intelligent script by Max Borenstein, Edwards’ film maintains the human element while creating spectacles and surprises that feel fresh and creative. This isn’t a throwaway popcorn flick that you need to turn your brain off to enjoy — this feels so much more satisfying and worth the price of admission.
You get the sense that the film team cherished the project and wanted to make a Godzilla movie that didn’t settle for a giant lizard running amok.
In this incarnation, two worlds collide, and humans are just collateral damage in a war that’s millions of years in the making. As refined and minimalist as it is, this is a heartfelt love letter from the west to the east — a way of saying, “Thanks for letting us have him. We’ll make sure to do him justice this time around.”
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, and Elizabeth Olsen