With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn

Written by Max Borenstein & Dave Callaham
Directed by Gareth Edwards

So, when I heard Godzilla is getting another Western reboot (as opposed to a sequel), I thought: what the hell? Roland Emmerich just made his version the other day! - until I realized that was 16 years ago!! It came out when my nephew was born and he's now old enough to get a car learners' license…! 

So, does it boil down to enough time elapsing to cash in on a new generation and add some 3D flair? Even if this is the case, thankfully they pulled a more impressive rabbit from the hat.

Gojira, the legendary Japanese 'king of monsters' (a city stomping gigantic beast) has come a long way since its inception in the mid-'50s. These classic (often crude) movies with a dude-in-a-suit trashing miniature cities and fighting other rubber creatures in slow-motion does have a huge cult following, not just amoung Japanoholics and cheese aficionados, but here a broader demanding modern audience has to be convinced (not only by the cast and crew, but almost more importantly, via an army of CGI creators and FX personel).  

Here (as with so many recent movies including superhero reinventions) the origin of this character is rewritten into a modern context.  

The impetus for this one kicks off in the late-'90s when scientists find a gigantic chrysalis-like pod in a Philippine quarry.  This coincides with a Japanese nuclear plant meltdown and an American nuclear tech losing his wife in the process.  Jumping to present day, the guy is obsessed with finding what he believes points to something more mysterious, landing him on the wrong side of the law.  His now grown (estranged) son is a military man with a family, and has to go to Japan to get his dad out of the hot water.  But, this places him in the middle of a seismic global event with ancient gargantuan creatures that feed on radiation and causing havoc in the process (helpless humans and their cities simply in their path).  And yes, the governments have known about these creatures for half a century.  The main culprit here is known as a Muto (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism - in many ways reminiscent of the Cloverfield monster).  Godzilla has been lured out of its deep earth hibernation by the emergence of these creatures, drawn to them as a natural equalizer having to restore the natural balance, by kicking ass!

The military's weaponry is useless against the monsters, and the only hope to stop the Muto is Godzilla - making him the hero and unlikely ally.
Traversing the planet from the Philippines and Hawaii to Las Vegas and San Francisco, this time New York is spared as these enormous beasts sow destruction wherever they set foot, beating the hell out of each other.    Godzilla

Naturally the separation factor / family break-up in the midst of the chaos has to be included, but in the greater scheme of things doesn't sap it up too much. Let's face it, it's all about the monsters - humans are mere dramatic devices and collateral damage!

The filmmakers made a point of giving Godzilla the classic look of its origins, and less of a dinosaur / lizard aesthetic. 
Director Edwards hit the young filmmaker jack-pot by landing this gig, having made one feature film before this, the cult favourite Monsters.

On the 3D front, while there are a few moments, nothing really jumps out at you, so it won't be a loss if you catch this in 2D (in fact, the picture will be brighter).

On the whole this is huge, spectacular and thoroughly enjoyable, and not an empty re-take.

In hindsight, many are ripping into Emmerich's '98 version, but for all of its flaws, it was a large scale entertainment spectacle building on the new form of story-telling re-introduced by movies like Jurassic Park, thanks to new digital advances.

5 / B
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A
- B - C

Click below for the Roland Emmerich version of Godzilla


never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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