I waited until most of the hype had ended and the crowds had thinned before venturing to see the new “Godzilla” film. With the multitude of films coming out this summer the theater was virtually empty this weekend.
There’s a great deal to like about this movie and very little to complain about. While the story bogs down in some spots, it was nice to have a story line to follow. By creatively inserting government secret cover-ups that extend back to the development of the atomic bomb gives the tale a present day conspiracy twist. Following advances in nuclear power there is some propaganda that surreptitiously criticizes the government oversight of facilities and their activities. The understory of the power play between government officials and their financial demands and the sense of responsibility for the safety of the populations is almost subliminal in its application.
Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is in charge of the Janjira nuclear plant outside of Tokyo in Japan. When a disaster strikes the plant despite Brody’s attempt to prevent it the stage is set for the entrance of the M.U.T.O.’s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects). Fast forward fifteen years and Brody investigates not only the events of the past but indications there may be a repeat of the earlier catastrophe. His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), now grown and a soldier who has just returned to his wife and son in San Francisco, is soon drawn into the search for the truth. When they return to the now restricted site in Japan they find there is, in fact, a government cover-up. As the senior Brody searches for his long lost computer discs they are surrounded by soldiers and taken to the secret headquarters where a strange research project is being undertaken. In a dramatic and cataclysmic entrance the first of the M.U.T.O.’s is revealed.
Seismic activity and EMP’s (electromagnetic impulses) warn of more dangers to come. The horrifying creature that has emerged from its cocoon is a cross between a giant flying roach and a chittering metallic prehistoric bug. As M.U.T.O. number one flies off Ford is left to deal both with the death of his father and his desperate attempt to get back to his family in San Francisco. Meanwhile in the city by the bay Mrs. Ford (Elizabeth Olsen) and son Sam (Carson Bolde) await his return.
The ensuing action as the armed forces hatch a plan to destroy the M.U.T.O.’s before they can procreate and Godzilla finally rises from the ocean’s depths is sometimes confusing and is the only weak point in the story. The armed forces decide to use the M.U.T.O.’s hunger for radiation to lure them into a trap despite warnings from the scientists who started this in the first place.
It is here where we learn that Godzilla has come from the depths to restore balance by saving the earth from the monsters. Yes, Godzilla is a GOOD monster. This Godzilla is the best looking I’ve seen since the original Godzilla from years ago. Huge, horrible, scaly, and powerful he swims to San Francisco Bay following the male M.U.T.O. as he seeks out his bride to be tracking her via EMP’s she emits to lure him in. In a touching scene we watch as the male courts the female by giving her a radioactive bomb which she lovingly rubs over the glowing red egg sack inside her scaly body.
Enter Godzilla, rising from the bay and ready for battle. As the battle ensues between the M.U.T.O.’s and Godzilla the film shows incredible cgi action, the streets and buildings of San Francisco are reduced to rubble as the monsters fight tooth and nail. The film builds to a climax and suddenly we are rooting for Godzilla. Will Ford Brody be reunited with his family? Will the M.U.T.O.’s be defeated? Will Godzilla destroy San Francisco or will he return to the depths? Director Gareth Edwards has certainly left room for a sequel and that’s something to look forward to.