Why Godzilla (2014) is one of the best summer blockbuster movies yet

Published: May 27, 2014
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While there are spectacular visuals in this summer blockbuster, the human element, tragedy and drama are ever present, and dominant in somewhat of an undiminished capacity. PHOTO: GODZILLA OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

This movie has been a long time coming. Brought to you by Legendary Pictures – the same studio that brought another monster-kaiju movie last year, Pacific Rim  Godzilla hits all the right chords for everyone, whether it is the die-hard Godzilla fan or the casual movie goer.

Unlike the 1998 box office failure of the same name, this movie remake can stand on its own two feet; it has a back-to-basics approach that gives the origin story of the monster and then some.

While paying homage to the original cult classic of 1954, Godzilla (2014) builds on a more realistic story arch that makes the whole notion of such a behemoth monster to ever exist much more plausible. Instead of just going for excessive computer-generated imagery (CGI) visuals, which has become part and parcel of many big-budgeted Hollywood movies and often takes precedence over the storyline itself, director Gareth Edwards has chosen the latter to be the driving force of the whole movie.

Director Gareth Edwards. Photo: Godzilla official Facebook page

While there are spectacular visuals in this summer blockbuster, the human element, tragedy and drama are ever present, and dominant in somewhat of an undiminished capacity.

The movie takes its time to unveil the star of the show (around 40 minutes in), which we are all anxiously waiting to see, but rest assured, the wait is worth your while. Apart from the main monstrosity Godzilla, we have the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) in the movie as well. However, for the sake of not spoiling the story in general, one must regress from delving into the details as to what are they doing in the film since Godzilla is the main protagonist of the movie itself.

Photo: Godzilla official Facebook page

In its totality, out of the total running time (123 minutes) of the movie, Godzilla has about 20-25 minutes of screen time. The director attributes this lack of screen time with building tension and hype; teasing the beast itself until unveiling it in its full glory in the final hour of the movie. This has an added effect which is compounded more effectively rather than giving up the movie’s best asset earlier on.

It would be a shame to not to mention Godzilla’s signature roar, and luckily, they got it right this time as opposed to the 1998 flick that had a shrieking roar reminiscent of the beast in agonising pain – it just didn’t feel right. This time around, it has its own distinctive roar, unlike any other. Chances are, if you are going to see this movie it’ll be in a cinema and when you hear the roar for the first time, it’ll hit your eardrums with a potent percussive might. The end note of the roar will get you confused about whether it is an added musical note (familiar to a dub-step or a techno note) to create the hype or the echo of the beast itself.

With context to the actors involved, there is various A grade talent at display here, but Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is of special mention here. He single-handedly accounts for the human element and emotional drama that is largely missing in these kinds of summer blockbuster movies, where the humans take a back seat in terms of the story.

Bryan Cranston poses at the premiere of “Godzilla”. Photo: Reuters

Other cast members include Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kickass 1 and 2), Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn.

Photo: Salman Junejo

If it is playing at a cinema near you, I’d say go and watch it. Feel the monstrosity yourself.

Do you think Godzilla (2014) was better than Godzilla (1998)?

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Salman Junejo

Salman Junejo

The author is an agriculturist by profession and runs an agriculture company by the name of GRJ AGRO(www,grjagro.com). He has a family background in politics and agriculture. He tweets @salmanjunejo (twitter.com/salmanjunejo)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • 2112

    In fairness to the 1998 mishap, it was not “a box office failure” – $370m against a $120m budget is not unacceptable. Critically, it was an utter failure and pretty much hated for its campy tone and redesigning the title star beyond recognition.

    This 2014 reboot it not perfect, but it hits more times than it misses, it reverses the trend for video-game style action and has a title star that lives up to the Toho tradition.Recommend

  • Beena

    Great. Will definitely watch it now. Sounds amazing. Great article btw. Recommend

  • Anum Altaf Hussain

    lol. it was the worst movie ever.Recommend

  • Hassam Kafeel

    Pathetic Movie…Recommend

  • davidcoleman01

    Be careful of calling the 1998 Godzilla a “box office failure.” In inflation-adjusted dollars, the new film is performing almost exactly the same. Just saying…Recommend

  • davidcoleman01

    Is there something about Godzilla (or perhaps kaiju movies) that Islamic people don’t like? You and Anum Altaf Hussain seem to be dismissing the film out of hand. I’m wondering if it’s a cultural thing.Recommend

  • KenH

    Godzilla is the best movie of 2014. Period! Great review.Recommend

  • Umar

    …because you have bad taste?!Recommend

  • Daniel_Plainview_Milkshake

    Really? Worse than The Room, Battlefield Earth, Batman and Robin, Freddy Got Fingered, and a million other movies that way worse? It’s not even close to being to worse movie everRecommend

  • Martell Blakely

    1. The characters lacked depth. Bryan Cranston’s role was the only one that showed any type of emotion the whole movie and it was anger.
    2. The movie wasn’t promoted to be a monster vs monster movie but that’s what it was. On top of that the plot followed the other monster not Godzilla.
    3. Number 2 wouldn’t have been so bad had this been a sequel and the first movie been more about Godzilla. If this was meant to be a sequel to the last Godzilla remake then that movie should’ve been referenced at some point during this one.
    4. Godzilla looked like a guy in a suit like back in the day. The last remake had a MUCH better looking Godzilla.
    5. This may be nitpicky but it annoyed the crap outta me. There were times where they tried to do a camera trail off to transition scenes but it was at really weird times and/or the camera lingered too long. I could tell what they were going for but even I knew that it was a failed attempt and should have been cut. That plus the unnecessary cuts for build up makes me believe they had some kids editing this movie
    6. With a monster this epic there should’ve been plenty of “oh crap, did you see what just happened” moments… There were about 2.

    This is a review that has no bias. I stand to gain nothing from my review unlike these critics trying to make a blockbuster from anything with a lil bit of hype.Recommend

  • Janissary

    I think the author is new to the film critic business.

    There’s a a difference between commercial and critical success.Recommend

  • Torgo

    You don’t get to see many movies do you?
    And to what standard are you conspiring this to?Recommend

  • bpnjensen

    I Ioved it.

    Only two critiques, which might be spoilers for some…

    Not enough on-air time for Godzilla or the monster fight. I get the idea of holding back the main course until the movie is half over, and then giving us only glimpses of the action that build to a crescendo – overall a really great approach, like a well-crafted symphony – but the actual battle itself could have been maybe 3 minutes longer. These creatures move in a stately manner, and that means that every monumental move takes time. Three more minutes of wreckage and a few more SF landmarks destroyed would have made a more satisfying climax. With a movie of this length, this three minutes, and the one more I am about to suggest, would do not harm in terms of pacing and would have left the viewer far more satisfied.

    And now the real spoiler – don’t look below this if you don’t want to know the ending…

    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    They should have added one minute at the very end, from the time Godzilla rouses from his exhaustion until he dives into the Bay, and devoted it to a de-facto, thundering victory march by the hero from downtown SF along a route of astonished, dumbfounded, appreciative humans as this titan of evolution makes his way harmlessly back to his home. That would have won a huge round of both applause and tears from the audience, and a more memorable ending.Recommend

  • Amir Kameron Laz

    Idk about you but I thought the film was great not a masterpiece but better than many disappointing films ive seen this year.Recommend

  • Go Whales

    Personal favorite of mine and I’m going to be honest, I love ALL Godzilla movies, even the ’98 one though technically that wasn’t Gojira.Recommend

  • Chris

    HA HA HA If you go by what this guy say’s your going to hate it cause just about everything he stated is utter crap! This movie was horrible!Recommend

  • Chris

    This movie had no military advisory and that is painfully obvious to anyone who served in any branch of the military. A) NAVY EOD doesn’t know anything about nuclear weapons OK!?!?! They are great at conventional explosives and ordnance disposal but they are not trained in how to change out trigger systems on Nuclear warheads. B) No military unit on Earth would let some dude dressed in civilian attire walk up to there formation as they are boarding a chopper, tell them some story about how they are NAVY EOD, believe that story and than bring you on the chopper and give you a spare uniform (not even the same branch you serve in) along with body armor and a weapon. C) Just because your in the NAVY how does that mean you can board a flight with the Air Force and than conduct a HALO jump from roughly 29,000 ft? Well it doesn’t, it takes a ton of training and this dude would have never received such training and would have more than likely died. The fact that the star of the movie is the same dude who played Kick Ass in the movie Kick Ass should tell you that this movie sucked, this guy can’t act and if it wasn’t for Hit Girl Kick Ass would have sucked.Recommend

  • Asif

    Who cares yaar… Do something constructive….Recommend

  • Terrance Raymond Kelly

    In the USA it was a huge flop only 136 million.Recommend

  • Randy Morris

    I don’t know where to begin, I was expecting a lot more. Basically the majority of the movie is about 2 giant parasites. You get glimpses of Godzilla but for the most part the movie draggggs on. I thought it was going to be epic and full on war from Godzilla however it was a major flop. See it for yourself. Not impressed at all.Recommend

  • Amir Kameron Laz

    Not a master piece but Good none the less.
    However the sequels need to improve on the human characters and show more monsters.
    and most important NO MORE TEASING!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Matthew Martinson

    lol. no it wasn’t.Recommend

  • Matthew Martinson

    Great Movie…Recommend

  • Asad Malik

    It was probably one of the worst…unless you’re 9 years old, in which case it was awesomeRecommend

  • Sloan

    This 2014 movie almost that much in a weekRecommend

  • why

    Bryan Cranston has less screen time than Godzilla.Recommend

  • Polk High

    Movie sucked!! Don’t waste your oney.Recommend

  • Matthew

    In all Fairness it seems Hassam and Anun are being prejudice because the movie is originated from Asian writers not Middle-eastern.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    Terrible movie.Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Hassam and Anum have obviously not seen very many movies and therefore have a biased opinion on what movies are “pathetic” or “the worst”. Just saying. “LOL” It was not that bad. there are worse movies…Recommend

  • Nadia

    How much did they pay you to write this blog… frankly i cannot go beyond the title as I totally hated the movie…Recommend

  • salmanjunejo

    Didn’t got paid anything, however everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, at the end of the day , it was just a movie. Not worth getting all this riled up about. Recommend

  • Amir Kameron Laz

    Ignore Chris dude hes just voicing out his own opinion. and believing everyone has the same taste as he does.Recommend

  • Karl Ervin

    I was just about to say that so sad how some people are growing up these days.Recommend

  • Nancy serwin

    Movie had great monster action don’t listen to peoples bad taste like this kid.Recommend

  • Sham

    What are you on about mate ? The movie is a flop in the UK.Recommend

  • hamza

    yea well it wasnt a master peice but great and very satistfying ..im sure if ur a monster movie fan or a fan of fiction ull love not walk out with ur mind blown but extremely satisfied
    to me it was great i didnt expect the action of Pacific Rim and not the crap of the previous Godzilla
    this was pretty good
    im hoping the next take is even better

    and KUDOS to the author great article leaves much to curiosity
    and highlights the best partsRecommend

  • hamza

    one more thing id like to add which i guess u missed or maybe ur not as big of a fan of him as i am
    but it would have been more awesome with more
    Bryan Cranston …tht was one thing which i felt was most missed in this movie and made me enjoy it a little less
    the movie shud have had Cranston as the main character and not his sonRecommend

  • نائلہ

    he said nothing about Islam :/Recommend

  • Janissary

    ‘Islamic people’, that is a bigoted comment, Muslims just like Christians have different tastes.Recommend

  • norm

    The 3d version was great!!!! I took my son and two of his buddy’s that’s all I heard on the way home. I am a godzilla fan from way back. Yes granted the 1998 film sucked. This new one is awesome.Recommend

  • Ayman

    this movie had great sound effects amazing visual effects but it lacked a solid story line. for me it was very mediocre. kids maybe teenagers would enjoy it but anyone older wouldnt !Recommend

  • gabezilla

    anyone who says this was a bad movie, obviously hasn’t seen the original Godzilla movies, especially the very first one. Personally as a long time Godzilla fan, this movie did Big G justice, because it went back to the same feel of the original movie. And yes for all you non-legit fans of Godzilla, I feel like you all will never understand an origin story which was this movie (Godzilla 2014), having been confirmed for a trilogy with more monster fighting and loads of old school Godzilla friends, there will be a lot more to do with it. Although it wasn’t the absolute best Godzilla movie ever, its still up there, and the ’98 one doesn’t even count… Just watch Zilla fight Godzilla in Final Wars… All non-legit fans are Zilla.Recommend

  • chris

    Wow..ppl dont know what makes a godzilla movie…this movie was Great. it had my heart pumping the whole time and the fight seqence is AMAZING…98 godzilla was utter crap dont even compare it to this one…98 was stupid..The 2014 one is amazing!! GO SEE ITRecommend

  • donshon

    Being a big monster movie fan, this movie was a mere “meh” for me. I much rather watch Cloverfield over and over again, than watch this movie more than once.Recommend

  • Citizen

    it was such an awful movie . just wasted my money over it . captain america was so far one of best movie of 2014Recommend

  • najam sehti

    the film ok no bad, but shah rukh ra one and other india movies muchhhh better than this.Recommend

  • smsulari

    I was just researching around when I found out that people started to Google “Is Godzilla Real” tremendously. And almost all of them are from US! I was like seriously people!! Then I came across Jimy Kemel show!!Recommend

  • davidcoleman01

    Adjusted for ticket prices, they are performing about the same. In terms of number of people seeing the picture, the 1998 film is the winner.Recommend

  • davidcoleman01

    But Muslims, just like Christians (atheists, Buddhists, Objectivists, etc.) , also have ideas in common. I just wondered if there was something about Godzilla, the genre, the symbolism, or whatever, that especially offended Islamic people. How on Earth is it bigoted to ask that?Recommend