The devastation wrought by Godzilla in 1954 was well known and well documented. The monster was lured to a deserted island, Bikini Atoll, and a nuclear weapon triggered to try to destroy the creature.
Forty-five years later, in 1999, a uranium mine in the Philippines collapses. In the ruins, a giant skeleton is discovered and Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) are called in to investigate. Also found in the cavern are two objects that look like spores. One of them is dormant and believed dead. The other has hatched and the creature from it appears to have made its way to the sea.
Earthquake activity in the vicinity of the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant is being investigated. Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) is a technician at the plant. Her husband Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is her supervisor. As part of his job he sends his wife along with a team of technicians into the reactor to assess the situation. Another tremor causes a breach in the reactor. Joe is forced to close the reactor door. The team is still in the reactor room. The plant is destroyed. Joe’s wife Sandra is among those killed in the meltdown. The area is labeled as contaminated, the people are relocated and the area is sealed off.
The death of his wife affects Joe deeply. By 2014 his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is now a Navy ordnance disposal officer. Ford’s wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son Sam (Carson Bolde) are living in San Francisco. When Joe is arrested for trespassing in the quarantined zone Joe must go to Japan to deal with his father. Joe is obsessed with finding out what caused the meltdown. He is convinced that it was not a natural phenomenon. He convinces Ford to help him retrieve important information in their old house in Japan. Not only do they retrieve Joe’s data, they find that the area is not contaminated. They are caught and taken to authorities.
At the Janjira Power Plant a massive chrysalis has been growing for the last fifteen years. The chrysalis has been feeding off the plant’s reactors and is emitting strong electro-magnetic pulses. The chrysalis hatches and a giant winged insect-like creature emerges. It wreaks havoc, injures Joe and flies away. Joe doesn’t survive his injuries. Authorities report the incident as an earthquake. Ford knows different.
The creature is called MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). The Navy, led by Admiral William Stenz (David Strathairn) is tasked with handling the situation. Serizawa and Graham join the team as monster experts. They reveal that the nuclear activity at bikini was really an attempt to kill Godzilla. Project Monarch was created to study Godzilla and any other monster they come across. They say that MUTO caused the Janjira meltdown. It crawled from the cavern to the power plant and formed a chrysalis. Joe’s data shows that MUTO had been communicating with something.
Serizawa realizes that the dormant spore was not really dead. When Monarch took it away it was stored in an underground bunker. The same bunker where radioactive contaminated waste is stored. A perfect environment for the spore to form a chrysalis and feed until it was mature enough. Until now. When it hatches and proves to be a female, they realize that the first MUTO was a male and he was communicating with the female. And they want to mate. If they do there is no telling how many progeny will be produced or how much devastation they will bring. Godzilla shows to be the MUTOs’ natural enemy. Now Godzilla is the last hope for mankind.
“Godzilla” was released in 2014 and was directed by Gareth Edwards. It is the first Godzilla film in the Legendary series and is another reboot. The wonderful music score was done by Alexandre Desplat. It is powerful and memorable. The cinematography and special effects are likewise impressive.
The acting is good but many people had concerns about the characters being underdeveloped. The great cast may be underused but considering the fact that the people in the movie are only there to react to Godzilla and the MUTOs, they are given enough character to elicit emotional reaction from the viewer.
Criticisms: Godzilla is fat. I don’t think I’d fat shame Godzilla to his face. It could get ugly. Godzilla is a big guy and would need a large torso to support his own weight. Besides there have been other Godzillas that were not exactly modelisque. Not enough Godzilla. Granted it takes a while before you get to Godzilla, but in the meantime you do get your first look at the male MUTO and it is pretty awesome. Also, there have been other Godzilla movies where the main attraction did not get much in the way of screen time. Godzilla 2014 had about ten minutes screen time. Nine other Godzillas had less than that. In “Invasion of the Astro-Monster” 1965 Godzilla had less than 6 minutes screen time. Godzilla has been redesigned for 2014. His head and mouth are smaller so less teeth. For the first time he has gills. He is 355 feet tall. His tail is 550 feet and 4 inches long. There are 89 dorsal spines running down his back, the palms of his hands are 34 feet and 4 inches each wide, and his roar can be heard from 3 miles away.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa was named after Ishirô Honda, director of “Godzilla” 1954, and Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the character that invented the oxygen destroyer in “Godzilla” 1954. The Brody family is named after the Sheriff Brody character from “Jaws” 1975.
The MUTOS are basically pre-historic giant insects and have behaviors similar to various modern day insects. There are insects where the male has wings and the female doesn’t. In some insects the female is larger than the male. Many use long distance mating calls. Quite often the female will lay its eggs with a ready food source. Some species of insects will offer the mate a gift prior to the mating ritual. It’s not usually a nuclear bomb though. As far as the movie is concerned. It’s a Godzilla movie. I don’t expect anything more out of it than destruction and devastation and it delivered. I liked it.