In preparation for the newest Godzilla film to come out of Hollywood, we decided to revisit the last Godzilla film to come out of Hollywood. “It can’t possibly be as bad as I remember,” I said to myself. True. It was worse.
Put simply. Godzilla (1998) is an embarrassment. Watching this, I feel shame by association. It is all the worst things about Hollywood combined together in a 2 hour 18 minute long boring, bloated, mess of a film. With not an original idea to be found, the filmmakers steal what they can from Jurassic Park and Independence Day, then string it together with what has got to be one of the worst screenplays ever written, featuring some of the most idiotic characters ever put on screen. Once again I found myself rooting for Iguana-Rex, hoping that he’d put me out of my misery, with no such luck. Godzilla (1998) is a bad, bad film and everyone involved in making it should feel bad.
On the plus side, this set the bar really, really low when it comes to Godzilla. So when Gareth Edwards gets his hands on our favorite movie monster and actually gives a shit, the results are nothing short of splendid.
Godzilla (2014) is how monster movies are done. I bet if you could take a snapshot of 11-year-old Lesley watching Jurassic Park and compare it with 32-year-old Lesley watching Godzilla, the expressions would be just about the same. Eyes wide, mouth agape and smiling, doing my best to contain giddy squeals of excitement. Godzilla totally immersed me from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.
The cast here is top notch and every bit as believable as they needed to be. Ultimately the human element is simply present to drive the story and, through whatever convoluted means necessary, make sure you’re where you need to be when the action happens. I’m okay with that. The story has just enough weight to it without ever feeling too heavy, and while the stakes are very real and relatable, the film manages to maintain the fun. There’s also enough references here to make any film nerd smile. King Kong, Jaws, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the original Godzilla films — Edwards knows his cinema, and more importantly, he takes that knowledge and uses it to speak his own cinematic language.
Godzilla (2014) is a movie for people that love movies. Little Sprout and Big Sprout give it two thumbs up.