Movie Review: Godzilla (2014)

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He was awaked by us. An ancient behemoth that fed on the radiation of the world before our time. When the radiation died, he left the surface and descended into the depths of the earth, feeding on the radiation from the core. As did many creatures of his kind. However, when we discovered, and used nuclear power and bombs, the few creatures left alive after all those years awoke, and came to the surface. Through the decades sightings and events have become rarer and rarer. However, there are still a few out there.

And Godzilla. The one we awoke, is lord of them all.

Joe, who lost his wife in a nuclear tragedy in 1999, knows this better than anyone. He has spent 14 years of his life in his apartment proving his ideas. Now, he just needs to get back to the source- the site that was destroyed by…. something. Thing, is, that plant site is a quarantined zone. That doesn’t stop him though, and he winds up dragging his son, Lt. Ford, with him in this quest. Their relationship is strained, to say the least.

What they find is terrible, and worse… it escapes. Then another one appears on the California coast, bigger, badder, and with eggs. When all seems lost, he appears. The “god monster”, to restore balance to the nature of things. But millions of years takes a toll on the body, and the two creatures are young and spry. The beasts face off, Joe has to move on, and Joe has to face his past.

All with the entire Cali population at the mercy of these leviathans. Were Nuclear bombs really that good of an idea?

Things I Liked

Godzilla films have always been one part family story, and one part Monster battle. They rely on each other for a well mixed recipe that delivers soul and feeling to a film, while retaining a fascination of “What if” of monsters past. Joe and Ford deal with a lot in the time they are together. Both are holding onto the past in their own individual way- one obsessing and one running. Eventually we see this resolved. Ford also has a wife and kid, and he promises over and over to keep them safe. We see him make good on this claim facing the two monsters with the military. Eventually even willing to go so far and sacrifice himself for the good of his family and the city.

A common theme throughout this film is- in all our strivings to restore balance to the eco system, change this, and fix that… We have forgotten that the world can truly take care of itself. We just need to take a step back and let it do it thing. This message in our age of apparent Global Warming and other impending earthly disasters was good to see and hear.

A small few comment scattered throughout the film warn about our haste to use force of bombs and such, without trying other options first. A military commander makes the decision to try and kill all three creatures with a megaton Nuclear warhead, and winds up instead putting the entire city at risk with the exact bomb.

Godzilla isn’t good, nor is he bad. He has no soul, but knows his place. He is an animal, albeit a very very smart one. All through the films of past, he has never been set on destruction of people or invading cities, he has always been of the purpose to destroy the monster threatening the natural order of things, and then to return to solitude content to rest and live on the waning radiation of the earth. In this movie, he is the protector of the people, and they recognize that in the end.

I’d also like to give a compliment to the makers in not making this film a monster fest. So many folks have said “Needs more fighting!”, but again, Godzilla has never been just about that. He takes on a few monsters, and the actual duking out is very small in comparison to the film as a whole. It was tastefully, artistically (great camera angles and reveals), and well done.

Things I Didn’t Like

Unlike the films of old, not every citizen makes it out of the city before the monsters arrive. This results in thousands being swept away by the waves of Godzilla’s entrance. People are killed fleeing the destruction of the monsters. I felt like this was most unlike the originals, as the carnage was much greater and hurt more.  Dozens of soldiers are killed fighting against the misters too. They are crushed, eaten, burned, and tossed like nothing. It is pitiful to watch them firing all they have against the beast to no avail.

There is a bit of a negative slant towards our military and the decisions made in regards to the bombing of Japan back in WWII. While each of us have our own opinions in that decision, I felt bringing that up in a movie such as this was very distracting (Bro and I whispering back and forth after the comment. ;) ) and more like stirring the pot- rather than providing closure.

People curse in the movie using the D and S word about half a dozen times. Hell is used out of context and God’s name is used in vain.

Joe and his wife begin to kiss passionately on a couch before they are interrupted by a phone call. Kinda needless in the grand scheme of the movie.

Closing Thoughts

“The arrogance of man is that nature is in our control and not the other way around, let them fight.”

I’ll be honest here, I grew up on the old Godzilla movies of black and white. I loved the stories about the families, and watching Godzilla putting these fantastically huge creatures back in their place. It was like National Geographic- Monster Edition. Seeing this movie was hugely nostalgic for me, and not having watched the 1999 version, this movie was long overdue for myself, and I had high expectations as well.

To put is simply, this is the Godzilla movie any fan has ever wanted. A solid and uplifting story about family, and the nature lesson on how powerless we as people are in this world to control nature.  This movie doesn’t offer any deep theological truths or will change your life through some profound thought. It will however, provide an excellent story on Ford’s family, and Godzilla taking out the latest threat to everyone living on earth.

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