Intense, entertaining, frightening. In the newest film revival of the classic monster, the writers put some new and unexpected twists on the story, allowing Godzilla to take come to life in a very different way and with modern day level special effects to back him up. Recommended? Those who watch this movie for its fearsome nature and special effects will be pleasantly surprised, but those who believe that this will be anything more will be disappointed.
One of the driving forces behind this movie was the surprisingly strong characters. While those played by Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins were more plot points than characters, around only to explain what happened in the aftermath of events, the members of the central family in the movie were driven and always wanted to do what they thought was best for everyone. Not surprisingly, one of the strongest performances came from Bryan Cranston, who, even without a lot of screen time, managed to give an emotional and memorable performance.
As expected, the special effects and production were the real pull factors for this movie. Godzilla was not the only creature wreaking havoc in this movie: the deadlier MUTOs were also a major risk throughout the movie. While Godzilla kept his trademark look, it was a shame to see that the MUTOs were designed to look very metallic, appearing more like the robots used in Avatar than radioactive creatures from millions of years ago. But other than this specific design, the visual and sound effects were very well produced.
Even though the story does keep the Japanese elements of the story at its core, there some obvious Americanizations and Hollywood typicalities throughout the film, such as the shift from Janiro, Japan to San Francisco, USA. That being said, many of them are smaller plot elements and the main plot remains as it should. Even when the US Army comes in (spoiler alert!) they can only do what they can to save civilian lives. Nature still runs its course and the issues resolve themselves as they should. However, in this Hollywood remake that takes place in the present, they perhaps should have factored in the effects of social media on spreading mass hysteria. But perhaps this was too deep or complex an issue for them to consider for this movie.
Rarely does anyone go to see a movie like Godzilla for its plot or character development. If you are going to see Godzilla, especially if you are seeing it in 3D, you ultimately want flashy special effects and fearsome destruction. Godzilla was interesting in that it sported both of these things, but did have a few sound character stories to back it up. Behind the destruction in both Japan and the US were stories about family and restoring natural balance. The events themselves balanced both the Japanese back story and the modern American demand.