Godzilla (2014) – Movie Review

Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla is a 2014 American action-science fiction film. It is the first film in the MonsterVerse franchise from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. The film has been directed by Gareth Edwards. Godzilla (2014) is a remake of the original 1954 film. It is the second Godzilla film produced entirely by an American studio. The first film was 1998’s Godzilla. This second American Godzilla film is separate from the 1998 film. Thus, it is not a sequel or prequel. Godzilla had its world premiere on May 8, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Now you can see the brutal forces of nature from Godzilla (2014) come even more to life in 4K Ultra HD quality as this infamous monster takes on the evil creatures that threaten the survival of mankind. Relive this top-notch film at home, by purchasing the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray has been on sale in the Netherlands since May 26, 2021. My thanks to Warner Home Video & Day One MPM for their cooperation and sending me a review copy.

About Godzilla (2014)

In 2003, TriStar Pictures had allowed the film rights to the (American) Godzilla series to expire without initially planning sequels. In August 2004, Yoshimitsu Banno (director of the film Godzilla vs. Hedorah) acquired the rights from Toho to make a 3D film titled Godzilla 3D to the Max. However, this project did not get off the ground. So in 2008, Legendary Pictures approached Toho to help finance the film. In 2009, Legendary Pictures gave the project the green light. On March 29, 2010, Toho also announced that the deal with Legendary Pictures had been completed.

From the beginning, Legendary Pictures promised to stay more true to the Japanese series with this new film than the previous American production. In October 2010, the first script for the film had been written by David Callaham. His research for this included the history of Godzilla, natural disasters and animal documentaries. After Callaham, four other writers worked on the script. The script had also been submitted to the US Army for more accuracy.

For Godzilla’s roar, Toho provided the original sound recordings from their films. Erik Aadahl went to work with this and developed a new roar for Godzilla. The film music has been composed by Alexandre Desplat. The reviews for Godzilla (2014) were generally positive, but there were, however, some reviewers who did not like the film as much. On Rotten Tomatoes, 74% of reviewers gave the film a positive rating. Among other things, Godzilla’s design and visual effects have been praised. But what is this movie about? In this spectacular adventure, the famous monster Godzilla takes on evil creatures that threaten our existence as a result of humanity’s scientific arrogance.

Watch the official trailer for Godzilla (2014).

Detailed movie world

Godzilla (2014) is a film where my feeling towards the film changes with each viewing. For this reason, I also want to start by highlighting what I like (or love) about this Godzilla film. The rich look of the film and the detailed nature of this movie world are some of the best points from the film. As a viewer, it feels sincere that the filmmakers wanted to stay more true to the Japanese series with this new American Godzilla film.

For example, Godzilla’s appearance has clearly been based on previous designs from previous Japanese Godzilla films, but at the same time Gareth Edwards and his team managed to put down perhaps the best design (ever) for this grandiose monster. It is clear to see that all previous versions of the monster had been looked at for the design of Godzilla. Another great example of the detailed nature of Godzilla (2014) are especially the small moments from the film. If you’re not paying attention, these little moments are over in a flash. A perfect example of this is the introduction of Ken Watanabe‘s character, Dr. Ishirō Serizawa. We see him looking at his pocket watch and then holding it in a firm grip.

As a viewer, a small moment like this might not be noticed very quickly. This brief event of a few seconds is nevertheless important to the film, because later Dr. Serizawa talks about the history of this pocket watch. This in turn symbolizes one of the themes of the film. Namely, that not everything can be solved with big bombings. Another small but fun moment is when we are shown a poster of a Godzilla-like monster. We get to see this in young Ford’s room. This poster unintentionally foreshadows the arrival of monsters.

Godzilla (2014)
Source: Warner Home Video & Day One MPM.

The human aspect of Godzilla (2014)

Another aspect I can really appreciate about this second American Godzilla film is the human aspect of the monster movie. Before the saying “Whatever it Takes” was common in the Marvel film Avengers: Endgame, it was regularly used in this Godzilla film. The spell appears several times and is spoken by Bryan Cranston‘s Joe and Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s Ford, among others. This spell symbolizes the philosophy that family is the most important aspect in a person’s life. In addition, it is an obvious theme for Godzilla (2014). Several family members are in danger from the horrific monsters in this film.

The film’s message is that family must be protected from danger at all costs. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to sympathize with the family from this monster movie. This is mainly because the family has been written fairly superficially. The theme for good characters is there, but the depth is lacking. This leaves you with a clear message without any compelling content.

This is not to say that the acting is bad. On the contrary — the acting is reasonably strong. Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston in particular steal the show, but the acting of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen is also very good. Unfortunately, strong acting doesn’t get you everywhere. Still, it’s nice that this does represent a powerful aspect of Godzilla (2014). Another impressive aspect of this film is the sound. Here, I’m not just talking about the soundtrack or the sound design, but more about the sound in general. The film music composed by Alexandre Desplat is among one of my favorite underrated movie soundtracks. It is unique and impressive. It is grand, gritty, but at the same time emotionally charged.

Godzilla (2014)
Source: Warner Home Video & Day One MPM.

Other points

The sound that the monsters make is also very well and believably made. The sound design made me as a viewer completely involved in the film and I started to believe that the monsters could really make these sounds. Yet, Godzilla (2014) also has its problems. Earlier I mentioned that the written characters are rather superficial, but some characters could have been left out of the story. A perfect example of this is the character of Sally Hawkins. She actually plays nothing more than Dr. Ishirō Serizawa’s sidekick. As a viewer, you won’t find out anything more about her character. In addition, it is also unfortunate that some important characters (such as Bryan Cranston’s Joe) are seen very little in the film.

Also, this monster movie leans very much on the human aspect of the story. As a result, as a monster lover, you will be very disappointed, because you don’t get to see much of the monsters (including Godzilla). When we do get to see Godzilla properly, the gruesome monster scenes are great again. But unfortunately there are not very many of these scenes in the film. Also, the lighting is a definite downside to the film. Especially towards the end of Godzilla (2014), the film had been too darkly lit. As a result, you will sometimes have trouble seeing what is clearly happening. This is obviously a great pity.

Godzilla (2014)
Source: Warner Home Video & Day One MPM.

Conclusion

In the end, I can definitely still be called a fan of this Godzilla movie. The world feels very rich and detailed. In addition, the appearance of the monsters has been well visualized by the special effects and the sound design (including the monsters) is also spectacular. The acting is strong, but some cast members like Sally Hawkins get very little to do. Also, many characters could have been given a little more depth or interesting characteristic aspects. The characters all feel very superficial. We simply don’t get to see enough of them to really care about them. Nonetheless, the acting certainly remains convincing and strong, but one good performance can’t settle everything. Still, I recommend fans of monster movies and Godzilla movies to go see this movie, because the film is well worth watching!

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