Scott Says Less is So Much More in the Fantastic New Godzilla Reboot

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Watching Godzilla is a breathe of fresh air.  Gareth Edwards reaches into his 2010 Monsters bag of tricks which subscribes to the theory that we don’t have to sit through a Michael Bay-esque 160 minute sledgehammer to the face to enjoy a big budgeted summer blockbuster.  Don’t get me wrong, Godzilla delivers the mayhem and destruction in spades, but there is an almost art house feel to it all that leaves us craving more instead of the usual summer action fodder that pulverizes us all into submission.

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The year is 1999.  Nuclear Physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his co-worker/wife Sandra ( Juliette Binoche) head off to work at a Japanese nuclear power plant.  What starts off as an ordinary day ends in tragedy as an apparent earthquake levels the power plant and in the process claims the life of Sandra.  Flash forward 15 years and we find Brody still living in Japan in full Mel Gibson Conspiracy Theory mode.  The seismic activity hasn’t regressed and Brody is convinced that the ongoing  tremors are man made and the government ( big surprise) is covering something up.

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Back stateside in San Francisco, Brody’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who just happens to be a military bomb disarmament officer on leave, gets a call from Japanese police that his father has been arrested for trespassing in their old home which is now a supposed nuclear wasteland.  It turns out Dad has been doing some numbers crunching and needs his old computer disks as a baseline to prove his theory. Ford jets off to Japan to bail out his father, leaving his wife Elle ( Elizabeth Olsen) and son behind.  Once in Japan, Ford unwillingly ends up joining his dad in a quest for the truth. We soon learn that the seismic activities are being caused by two M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects) that feed off of radiation.  It turns out that we only have ourselves to blame.  Efforts to kill an ancient prehistoric lizard in the 1950’s under the guise of nuclear testing ended up creating these arachnid like monsters.  Luckily for us, that ancient prehistoric lizard ( Godzilla) is alive and kicking and he sets off to show the M.U.T.O.s  just exactly who sits atop the food chain.

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Shot by shot, frame by frame, Godzilla is visual eye candy.  The film looks absolutely incredible in IMAX 3D.  The genius of it all is in Edward’s slow burn approach.  He takes his time introducing all principal players and teases us with shots of Godzilla, finally unleashing the big fella in the film’s last hour.  Oh, and that last hour? Remember that guttural  feeling of excitement we all got the first time we saw the  T-Rex in Jurassic Park?  Not since Spielberg’s 1993 classic have we seen such jaw dropping monster on monster action. Godzilla is a modern day classic that finally puts that 1998 Emmerich/Broderick disaster in our rear view.

 

Final Word- 4 Stars (out of 4)