'Godzilla' Review Roundup: Action Reboot Scores High Marks From Most Critics
Godzilla, helmed by newcomer Gareth Edwards, resurrects the gigantic lizard that first terrified audiences in 1954 when the scaled monster created by American nuclear weapons testing devastated Japan.
In the modern Godzilla story, brought to the screen from a script by Max Borenstein, Godzilla is – more or less – on the side of the good guys. Defenseless in the face of deadly mutants, humanity must put their faith in Godzilla’s ability to restore the balance that’s gradually been lost because of climate change and man’s acceleration of the process. In order to do so, Godzilla must battle a pair of M.U.T.O.s (Mutant Unknown Terrestrial Organisms). Aaron Taylor Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn all star.
The majority of top film critics found much to praise in Gareth’s take on the classic film monster, most recently reincarnated in the U.S. in 1998, starring Matthew Broderick. Unlike the 1998 version directed by Roland Emmerich, 2014’s Godzilla has a decidedly more serious tone that honors the movies that inspired it. The film’s detractors, while underwhelmed by the film at large, were most disappointed with the wasted talent of the all-star cast.
“You could argue Godzilla doesn’t maintain the human touch with which it so feverishly starts. You could argue the story fades in and out of focus as it tries to keep up with the visual fireworks. You could argue all that, and it would barely matter. Because when this latest encore for your favorite giant lizard works its magic, when the sweeping overhead shots and gargantuan combat sequences get into a rhythm, the results send a tingle of awe to your inner movie geek. Godzilla’s scale and spectacle provide that rare sensation of seeing something you’ve never quite seen on a movie screen.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
“Cleverly, though, destruction is not always shown head-on; sometimes it's glimpsed through a hazy airport window or car windshield. Godzilla 2014 is a more somber and frightening reboot than the cartoonish 1998 movie. Disaster sequences are not slap-happy destruct-a-thons, but emotionally devastating and horrifying, as originally envisioned. Aiming for a titanic tale that is also seriously ominous, Godzilla opens with a bang and concludes with an exhilarating roar.” – Claudie Puig, USA Today
“A lot of people die, almost all of them anonymous citizens of unlucky metropolises. Most of those you expect to survive do so. You might not care about them quite as much as you’re supposed to, since the characterizations are thin, and the talents of the actors mostly squandered. Still, one of the pleasures the movie offers is the thought that actors who have done splendid work elsewhere — Mr. Cranston and Ms. Binoche, and also Sally Hawkins as another scientist — are being paid well for shouting, grimacing and spouting expository claptrap.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“[Director Gareth] Edwards manages to balance the monstrous with the human to engaging effect: The movie is a cartoon, and it doesn’t leave much of an imprint, but watching it is a blast, and Edwards proves he knows how to craft a memorable image or three. This is an impeccably made movie. See Godzilla on the biggest screen you can and you’ll come away tickled, if not entirely entranced. And the film manages to appropriate a Japanese cinematic icon with the utmost respect and care, paying homage to its roots while relocating the action to America.” – Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
Godzilla, rated PG-13, is currenlty in wide release.
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