Large and in charge.
"Oh no, there goes Tokyo go go Godzilla!" These lyrics from the Blue Oyster Cult song would need a little revising to mention San Francisco, as the new film Godzilla gets a bit closer to home. But the other poignant line still rings true in this version. "History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men." One thing is for sure; the new IMAX 3D movie is large and in charge and I dare any action film to try to topple it.
There are few creatures (I am reluctant to say monster) as iconic as Japan's Godzilla. Akin to both dinosaur and dragon this fire breathing amphibian of the deep is feared and loved by many. There are odd misconceptions that he is bad when in truth he is actually a protector and defender against many a destructive foe. So is the case here when nuclear charged monsters threaten to destroy the western coastline and maybe the world! It is up to Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and a young military man named Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to help figure out how to stop these beasts, but they soon discover that Godzilla may be their only hope.
Godzilla is just about the only "super hero" that shows up, does his job and leaves without all the added drama and emotional baggage. Maybe that is why he is so well liked. He doesn't spend scene after scene lamenting how daddy Godzilla didn't love him. He is sort of subtle and reserved even when demolishing great expanses of real estate. He sees the enemy and takes it out. There isn't the desire for mans praise or a few at-a-zillas. Even though it is man's greed and arrogance that normally brings about the chaos and need for saving; Godzilla is still willing to lend a hand.
This new version looks and sounds fantastic. There are moments that remind me of the first Jurassic Park film. The use of quiet tension followed by wall shuddering roars are elevated to heights that would make T-Rex turn and run. Godzilla's movements are smooth and fluid in the water and earth pounding on land. The Mutos (as the bad creatures are called) are terrifyingly spider like but with a more mechanical structure. They also are created expertly and seamlessly. They are modern enough but also could easily have jumped off the pages of the classic films.
There are some sophomoric moments in here when the story line gets a bit too Hollywood. But that is OK. They are rare instances and easily overlooked in the mayhem. As normal the US Government has only one initiative; blow up anything that moves. It is a bit cliche but again the arc of Godzilla needs some sort of military inclusion. What was refreshing about this one is that the fight scenes did not drag out too long. Normally in summer action films the final showdown goes on forever and gets tiresome. This one had a perfect balance of action, effects, and visual chaos. Most could learn from its ability to edit, even though it is a tick over two hours it never felt like it; and the end comes quick.
Godzilla is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence. The language consists of a few mild expletives. The destruction and fight scenes may be a bit too intense for your younger viewers. Fans of the original films and the character will applaud this one whole heartedly. There is little to find fault with. In fact it was sort of nice to see the big guy on the big screen again. He deserves another generation of fans. I give it 4.5 out of 5 nuclear breath mints. I highly recommend seeing it on the biggest IMAX screen possible. It is certainly worth the extra ticket price.