I went and saw Godzilla today. This is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for years now. Yes, for years now. I am a huge fan of the Godzilla movie franchise. I have watched the films since I was a kid. I grew up loving to watch Godzilla smash through Tokyo (and other locations) and laying the smackdown on various monsters. So when I heard that there was going to be a new movie, I was super excited.
When you have a movie like this, a movie that you’re super excited about seeing, it can leave itself up to live up to (or exceed) expectations or fall flat. And for me, it lived up to the expectations.
(Don’t worry, no spoilers)
This movie, directed by Gareth Edwards, pays a lot of tribute to the original 1954 Japanese film Gojira. Gojira was the first Godzilla film and is considered a masterpiece in its own right (If you have never seen that film, I totally recommend seeing it. You don’t need to have seen it to watch the new film but it’ll help catch some things). Edwards mentioned that he wanted this film to be an homage to that classic. That sentiment comes across in this film.
The movie opens in 1999 and two scientists tracking a strange incident in the Philippines. These two scientists are Dr. Serizawa (played by Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Graham (played by Sally Hawkins). This incident led to an “accident” at a nuclear power plant in Japan has a devastating effect on an area north of Tokyo. This included plant supervisor Joe Brody (played by Bryan Cranston) losing his wife Sandra (played by Juilette Binoche).
Fifteen years later, Joe is still trying to find out the truth behind the “accident”. Meanwhile, his son Ford (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has grown up and got married to Ellie (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and has a son named Sam. Ford is in the U.S. Navy and is an explosive ordnance disposal technician (i.e. he disarms bombs & explosive devices). Joe and Ford’s relationship is strained at best in the fifteen years that had passed but circumstances bring them back together & they find out the truth about what happened that day long ago.
Come to find out, it’s a M.U.T.O. (or a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) that hatched in the Philippines and fed on the radioactivity of the power plant and awoke 15 years later. It escapes and heads east. Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Graham then meet the Brodys and begin to share the truth about what has been going on. They reveal about the M.U.T.O. as well as another creature that has been around since the early 1950s. That creature? Yes, Godzilla.
Godzilla is sort of “brings balance to nature” kind of monster. That and he’s the apex predator. So when this M.U.T.O. shows up, Godzilla begins hunting it down. Meanwhile, the humans begin to mobilize to defend themselves from the oncoming threat. The target is San Francisco, where Ellie and Sam are and Ford is trying to get back to them. It becomes a showdown between Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.s (yes there’s two of them) with the military thrown in as well.
I thought the movie was awesome. There wasn’t anything that I was disappointed about with it. There were a few things I was surprised about (but I won’t mention because of spoilers) but it wasn’t really a negative thing. I saw it in IMAX 3D and it looked and sounded amazing. If you’re going to see it, you need to see it in that format.
From my perspective, Gareth Edwards did a great job in paying tribute to the past of Godzilla and making a good film for today. I think this could be the beginning of a new series of Godzilla films. And like I mentioned before, if you haven’t seen the 1954 version, I would recommend seeing that as well either before going to see the new film or even after.
My first reaction after the film ended was one word: awesome. I think that pretty much summed up Godzilla for me.