Movie Review

May 22, 2014

'Godzilla' remake best of movie monster's franchise

Godzilla, everyone’s favorite nuclear-powered, Tokyo-destroying monster, has been around for 60 years, but he’s never been seen like this before.

The latest remake of “Godzilla” is likely the best movie in the iconic movie monster’s franchise (sorry, Raymond Burr), and only partially because its effects go well past the “guy in a rubber monster suit” stage.

The 1998 reboot, for example, also eschewed the rubber suit, but flopped in every way. The latest version, however, manages to walk a treacherous tightrope to avoid campiness and effectively build in some suspense and drama.

But yes, there are plenty of famous cities squashed by giant monsters. Don’t worry.

After some old newsreel footage from the ‘50s sets the stage, the movie jumps to 1999 and the mysterious destruction of a Japanese nuclear plant, which costs scientist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) his wife, and costs young Fordy Brody his mother.

Fast forward ahead, and Cranston has spent the past 15 years sounding like a kook as he tries to figure out what went wrong. The boy, meanwhile, has grown up to be a Navy demolitions expert who wishes his dad would just get over it.

Then, let there be monsters ...

For an hour or so we barely see Godzilla himself, as the world is first faced with a MUTO — Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism — a huge, angular creature that is more bad-tempered than Godzilla himself.

The strategy works, building up the anticipation for Godzilla’s loud splash, and the big guy is up to the task when called upon. Tokyo gets off easy this time, but some American cities — bye-bye San Francisco — are going to get roughed up.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson — who battled crime without superpowers in “Kick-Ass” — does most of the heavy lifting for the human cast as the grown-up Ford, though truthfully, there’s not a lot of acting to be done.

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