Godzilla

 

Warner Bros

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

 

Plot Summary: Ancient giant monsters are released into the world and humanity doesn’t know how to stop them.

 

PopFam Recommends: Fun special effects, but the story doesn't live up to the hype.

 

Too much human interaction, not enough raw Godzilla power. I went into Godzilla hoping for some crazy monster fighting action, but was instead delivered with a mediocre plot that failed to capture my emotions. In the rare moments that there was some action, it was great, but these were often too short to make up for the lacking plot content.

 

Godzilla opens in 1999 in the Philippines. Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) of Monarch is informed by a site supervisor that as they were mining, the ground suddenly collapsed. Serizawa then goes into the strange underground tunnels to discover that he is in the monstrous skeleton of a long dead giant beast. As he and his team continue to explore, they find 2 egg-like sacks. One of them is still intact and the other is burst. It seems that something enormous has exited the cave and has headed out to sea.

 

In Japan, we get a brief snapshot of the lives of the Brody family as young Ford (CJ Adams) runs off to school while his parent, Joe and Sandra (Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche), go to work at the nuclear power plant. As soon as they get to work, it is evident that something is wrong. With strange readings on the computers, Sandra takes a team down to the reactor to see what is going on. But part of the way there, the whole plant starts to shudder and break apart. As the team runs back to safety, Joe must finally make the difficult decision to initiate a lockdown. This action sacrifices the lives of the team, including his wife, in order to save the lives of everyone in the city.

 

Now cut to current day Lt. Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as he is returning from 14 months at sea with the US Navy to his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olson) and young son Sam (Carson Bolde). After a brief reunion, Ford receives a call saying that his father has been imprisoned in Japan for trespassing into the quarantine zone of the nuclear power plant from years before. Ford reluctantly goes to bail out his estranged father and promises his wife that he’ll be home again soon.

 

After Ford gets his dad out of jail, they go back to Joe’s apartment and it is obvious that he has become obsessed with the accident that happened years earlier. After receiving a phone call, Joe convinces Ford to accompany him into the quarantine zone because something similar to 15 years ago is happening again. Inside the zone, the two are eventually arrested, but get brought to the broken down power plant where Monarch scientists are observing a large pod similar to the one glimpsed in the Philippines all those years ago. Soon afterwards, the pod hatches and a gigantic monster emerges killing many researchers and Joe Brody. As the monster wreaks havoc in its wake across the world, Ford must battle his way across continents to get back to his family.

 

As I mentioned earlier, the plot of this movie was seriously lacking. This was largely due to the script rather than the acting though. While it wasn’t the greatest acting I’ve ever seen, it usually wasn’t that bad. Most of the time the characters were convincing and conveyed the right emotions, but thanks to a lacking script, those emotions were lost in boring dialogue, unbelievable circumstances, and story lines that don’t make much sense. The strength of Godzilla lands largely on the special effects. The varying monsters throughout the movie look very good and the mass scenes of destruction and mayhem too portray a sense of awe. When a final battle eventually does come, it is a pleasure to watch and is the highlight of the movie. But this short action sequence leads to an anti-climactic end and doesn’t answer enough of the questions raised throughout the film.

 

Throughout the movie, there are varying sequences of intense action and violence that parents should be aware of. There are a few profanities, but mostly this film gets is rating from the violence and destruction created by the big scary monsters.

 

Overall, Godzilla was fine for an eventless Saturday afternoon, but not really worth paying for. If it’s ever on TV for free or some friends are watching it, check it out. Otherwise, my advice would be to skip it and read a book instead.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• How would you have acted if you were separated from your family during Godzilla-style a crisis?

 

• What impact do special effects (good or bad) have on the ability to tell a story through film? Give examples from Godzilla.

 

• In the end, do you see Godzilla as a monster or a savior? Defend your answer.

 

--TN

 

Tags: Godzilla,Ken Watanabe,Bryan Cranston,Juliette Binoche,Elizabeth Olson

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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