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Nerdlocker Movie Review: Godzilla


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The theater slowly departs through the exit with immense discomposure, not realizing if what they had just witnessed was a figure of their imagination, or indeed a non-fictional glimpse into their future. As the audience and I were trying to come down from the euphoric, two hour joy ride through the different points of the Pacific Ocean, we realized that a giant lizard may have made a larger impact than expected. Godzilla is the first summer blockbuster that pulses with slap in the face action, gut wrenching battle sequences, and a nod to many classic films of our time. It is the ultimate battle of good vs. evil with a splash of “old school” Godzilla flavor to keep all the geeks and new fans aligned. I loved how the original films in the 50’s-60’s recycled the same style and feel throughout each sequel and kept the campy low budget sound and visuals to populate local theaters around the country. This is not the case in the recent installment of the 350 ft tall “King of Monsters” and is well depicted on the big screen with proper usage of CGI that didn’t take away from the dialogue and storyline. It’s safe to say after walking out of the Las Vegas movie theater, there was a buzz surfacing around the hallway about the impact of the film and the precise ensemble of actors. A skeptic would ask what makes this movie better than other anticipated, upcoming blockbuster films? The answer is simple….it reaches out to all demographics by grabbing their wrists and never letting go.

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In this specific film, Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and writer Max Borenstein introduce 3D techniques and up-close camera angles to give the audience a feel of anxiety and uncertainty by putting them in the passenger seat during the colossal battle sequences. The story starts out in the distant island of the Philippines where the Jager/Cloverfield-like monsters called the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) are unleashed to cause damage to anyplace/thing in its path. The movie did an excellent job of adapting real history such as the bombing at Hiroshima in 1945 and transitioning into the story to contain these enormous prehistoric creatures. The first half hour of the movie reminded me of the journey to Jurassic Park/JAWS for the first time and trying to figure out what creature is hiding within the blackened abyss. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Drive) plays the role of Joe Brody, the high strung and hardworking father that has been trying to find the answers to his wife’s fatal and mysterious death at the Janjira Nuclear plant back in 1999. We fast forward 15 years later, and Joe Brady’s son, Ford played by Aaron Taylor Johnson (Kickass, Savages) is dispatched back to Japan to get his father out of jail for trespassing onto the quarantined grounds. Ford soon discovers that his father might be onto something much larger and that his mother’s death was no coincidence. Joe had been closely researching the catastrophe and unravelling the government conspiracy, which included hiding these monstrous creatures below the earth’s crust. Dr. Ichiro Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe (Inception) works with the Ford family in a Chernobyl- like lab to analyze these echo readings from 50 years ago that have exact replicas of the readings in 2014. The cocoon like pods, almost comparable to HR Giger’s Alien, are feeding off all the radiation and making the once quarantined island danger-free. As you could imagine, this large MUTO cocoon erupts and brings life to spider-griffen like creature. The MUTO is awoken and on a one way path to destruction…

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From here to the end of the movie, was nothing but a visually and electrifying Call of Duty battle scene between Godzilla and the MUTO. In one instance of this film, we see the Las Vegas strip get torn to pieces by the female MUTO creature and get an apocalyptic visual of what this species is capable of doing.  As GODZILLA intercepts the meeting between the two creatures, the San Francisco Bay Area is the playground and the rip-roaring waves, crashing planes, and large Naval ships can’t even put a dent on the MUTO. From the goggled view point of the soldiers fighting the creatures, to the panned out overview from the local San Francisco news channel (Wake Up San Franciso), the entire coast is demolished in the blink of an eye. From the audience standpoint, we start to cheer for GODZILLA but are still left with unanswered questions as to what the creature is about and the role it plays in saving humanity.  From the first time we hear GODZILLA let out a T-REX roar to warn off the approaching enemy, we are left frozen in the cushioned theater seat with eyes glued to the screen, not knowing if GODZILLA would rip through the movie screen with any initial move.

Aaron Johnson was the overall stand out character and really took charge in the second part of the film. With his military experience as a bomb disposal specialist, Ford used his skills to take the upper hand in the scenario. He works closely with fellow military to develop a plan to get all the creatures out of San Francisco and off-shore to plummet to their death with the help of a nuclear bomb. Even though Ford’s character was emotionally stagnant for most of the 120 minutes, he had the right mindset to do what’s right, and put these extraterrestrial species to rest. Ford and GODZILLA make a great ensemble in the closing minutes of the film and find their way back to their normal lives. Ford finding his family and the “king of monsters” sailing off into the sunset, figuratively speaking. One thing I couldn’t get past was Elizabeth Olsen (Red Lights) and Aaron Johnson’s love affair in this film, since they will be playing siblings in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Once I got past that, I believe this movie surpassed my expectations and made for an enjoyable theater experience, especially in 3D.

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From the soldiers soaring through the murky and dark cloudy skies of San Francisco to catching a glimpse of the monster high above, or to the water shots of the Pacific Ocean to only see GODZILLA’s tail swim under the NAVY ships, we are made aware how large and powerful this creature really is. The only drawback was I wished there were more active scenes in the 3D format and more of a GODZILLA backstory, but everything else was depicted beautifully and made me want more. Gareth Edwards incorporated his love for film and a silent nod to many Spielberg films (Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, and Close Encounters) with his creature-feature and updated rendition of King of Monsters. The CGI visuals were the most impressive of the film and we get a taste of the legendary fire breather and his Wrestle-mania fighting tactics. Every actor was utilized to their full potential, the cinematography was culminating, and action scenes were out of this world. I am finding it hard to find any huge flaws of this soon to be “classic” and hope all the geeks and fans of every era will enjoy this as much as me. There were similarities to the original B movies, but Edwards put his twist and imprint on this film in a rejuvenated way.

Rated  pg-13 for: Intense sequences of destruction, mayhem, and creature violence.
Run time: 123 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe.
Director: Gareth Edwards

Out of 5 Nerd Skulls

Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5 / Directing: 4.5 / Visuals: 5

OVERALL: 4.5 out of 5 Nerd Skulls

Check out the trailer below:

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