In a monster movie of this scope, you get your first hints of how important the human characters are from the early exits of Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston and from the limited lines of Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins.
Oh, yeah – David Straithairn, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olson are also in it.
It’s a good cast, but the real star is…
Godzilla (duh). It was produced by Legendary Entertainment and Warner Brothers and directed by Gareth Edwards. Let me say here that Edwards really gets his special effects right in all of the movies under his direction that I’ve seen. His visuals are realistic enough to make my mind race. Okay, monsters 350 feet tall aren’t realistic, but if they were, it’s not hard to imagine them looking like this. He does a good job of blending his CGI with real backgrounds and real foreground objects. He also makes good use of imperfect focus where needed. All of this keeps the CGI from looking too much like CGI.
So let’s get the negatives out of the way. Yes, the science is ridiculous. What did you expect? For me, the complaints that Godzilla wasn’t prominent enough in his own movie were greatly lessened with repeated viewings. Near the end, the time to get the nuke away from San Francisco is insufficient, but Christopher Nolan also made a similar mistake in The Dark Knight Rises. What do we watch monster movies for most: the plot logic or the imagery? The MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms) that everyone complained about are actually pretty cool themselves, and the associated sound effects really work. This movie is just plain kid fun, and it does a good job of encapsulating and paying homage to past Toho movies while re-imagining the original concepts.
Okay, here’s a plot synopsis. A MUTO hatches out of a type of chrysalis that scientists from MONARCH are studying, and then it escapes.
Another one comes back to life. Later, Godzilla appears, and there’s a HALO (high altitude low opening) drop which inserts some outmatched soldiers into the area.
Then, in a totally unexpected plot development (just kidding), there’s a big fight. This leads to what I considered the coolest sequence of the movie…