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‘Godzilla’ (2014) Retrospective Review – Has it Gotten Better with Time?

With Godzilla vs Kong set to drop soon, we take a retrospective look at the divisive American reboot of Godzilla (2014).

It is worth noting that this is not the first American attempt at a ​Godzilla ​flick. The first being a 1956 re-do of Ishiro Honda’s 1954 classic, titled ​Godzilla: King of the Monsters​. It contained bizarre inserts of Canadian actor Raymond Burr in scenes that didn’t originally feature him to appeal to Western audiences. And of course, there’s the 1998 Roland Emmerich disaster; the less said about that one, the better!

With Godzilla (2014), Legendary and Warner Bros hired independent British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, fresh off his debut film, 2010’s ​Monsters​, to direct this new iteration of the iconic giant lizard. Edwards’ previous film showed his incredible efficiency with limited resources and his ability to represent a massive scale in a believable and fantastic way; something amazingly carried over to ​Godzilla.

godzilla 2014 movie review

This movie shines in many ways, namely with Bryan Cranston’s casting in a leading role, which is unfortunately cut short in the second act. The remaining cast does a great job with the admittedly cliche screenplay that boldly opts to not show its monster until almost an hour into the film. It’s not necessarily a new idea, with ​Jaws (1975) ​and ​Alien (1979)​ coming to mind. However, those films portion their creature out a bit better than ​this one does. There are times where the big guy’s absence in the movie is felt, mainly throughout the second act after his staggering and satisfying entrance in Hawaii. Instead, we’re left with some human characters that are just not as interesting as the film would like you to believe.

godzilla movie cast

The third act is where the movie finally picks up. The large scale filmmaking, along with the excellent score by Alexandre Desplat, and the energetic and tense way the film is shot, gives the finale some real meat, which is very satisfying. In the end, the choice to hold off on the monster provides the ending with a sense of payoff that most modern blockbusters can not maintain.

Despite the want for more of the King of Monsters, the thin characters, and the poorly paced second act, ​Godzilla (2014) ​satisfies overall. Nearly seven years later, it still holds up as the best American adaptation of the giant lizard so far.

Fun Fact:

Gareth Edwards would later direct the first ​Star Wars ​spinoff, 2016’s ​Rogue One for Disney.​ In one scene in the film, some cave paintings depict the two M.U.T.O. monsters from his ​Godzilla film.

Godzilla (2014)
Story
70
Characters
55
Performances
75
Direction
80
Entertainment Value
80
Directed By
Gareth Edwards
Starring
Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Ken Watanabe
Elizabeth Olsen
Juliette Binoche
Sally Hawkins
David Strathairn
Bryan Cranston
72

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Ross Carroll
11 posts

About author
A film student from Ireland who is going to make films of my own in the future. Deserted Island film collection: Rocky 1-5, Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, La Haine, Midnight in Paris, Jaws, and Cast Away (for inspiration). Best movie snack: Popcorn with Maltesers in the tub, sided with some overpriced theatre sprite.
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