There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical last year, when it was announced that a new “Godzilla” received the green light from Warner Bros. However, I’m here to say, after months of anticipation and nightmarish flashbacks to 1998’s version starring Matthew Broderick, I can declare that the 2014 adaptation is a huge success. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, the movie opens with a human back story. A young boy loses his mother and a workaholic father (played beautifully by the perfect Bryan Cranston) is skeptical of her death. It appears on the surface she died of radiation exposure after the plant she works for collapses, but the deeper Joe Brody (Cranston) digs, the more unpleasant the answers appear to be. Ford Brody (Taylor-Johnson), his son, visits Japan to bail his father out of prison for trespassing at the site of the radioactive accident. At first, he thinks his father is losing his mind, but after a while he realizes the worst fears are true, and two creatures are on the loose, with only the most iconic monster named Godzilla left to save them and the rest of humanity.
The story is strong, but the visual effects make this movie one of the best disaster flicks ever made. There is a long wait until you actually get your first glimpse of Godzilla, but the terrifying and awe-inspiring payoff is absolutely worth the long build-up of momentum by director Gareth Edwards. Edwards nails everything from the pacing to the frightening action sequences. The audience gets behind Godzilla in a way I only can remember seeing when “The Avengers” first appear on screen together in a circular pan shot. The movie, while grounded in reality (as much as you can be when there are two radioactive creatures roaming around while being chased by a giant lizard), has a sense of humor as well. The cast is also stacked here (Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn are all great). The movie has already made more than $90 million here in the U.S. and more than $100 million in overseas markets, meaning Warner Bros. smartly has announced a sequel. I’m excited to see where this franchise goes, and am proud to say the monster of all monsters is back. A few years ago Jason Segel brought back The Muppets. Now, it’s Godzilla. What’s next, the rebirth of Pauly Shore? Let’s hope not. FULL PRICE.