( The 1998 Godzilla movie poster. Source: Wikipedia)
But these 28 films did not use CGI as seen in the 1998 and 2014 Americanized productions. Instead, they used costumes and props, even into the late 20th and early 21st century.
The foremost Godzilla was inspired by the 1952 re-release of the 1933 King Kong feature. Now, reviewing Godzilla (2014) as separate from the 1998 version will be expansive. To put their comparison into simple terms: Godzilla (1998) made a bit over $379m worldwide off a massive budget of $130 million. But the producers wanted it to earn a lot more (they wanted it to beat Jurassic Park: The Lost World's $618.6m international revenue, which was released a year prior). And as you can clearly picture, it did not even come close.
Not only that, but the super negative reception from critics and fans of both American and Japanese nationality held off all plans for the forthcoming couple of sequels. The film currently has 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 28% approval rate from the audiences on that website. As I have also seen the movie, I can honestly say that it was an epic fail.
(The 2014 Godzilla poster. Source: Wikipedia)
Let's move on to this year's blockbuster. Godzilla is clearly 10 times better than its 1998 counterpart. But it also has its flaws. But I will start with the pros. The special effects in this film is top-class. The graphical design of Godzilla and the other monsters is indisputable. I have never seen better computer imagery of such caliber not even in Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005).
Katy Perry claimed that she was louder than a lion and we could hear her Roar. But the first scene of Godzilla's ROAR! really shook spectators in their seats. I watched the movie in IMAX 3-D with friends and believe me that cinematic sequence was unimaginably deafening.
The plot: Godzilla is awaken to fight off two fiendish creatures approximately identical to his stature. And the fate of human existence is put to the test.
So therein lie the cons of the movie. The first hour of the 123-mins feature is primarily rumbles and shakes of the ground coupled by bad weather. The actors in the movie are extremely dull. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the main protagonist but his demeanor makes one wish to sleep in the first half. Ken Watanabe, a great actor, plays his role as a Japanese scientist monotonously. Elizabeth Olsen seems oblivious to everything going on around her. And even the audience might have been more aware of the surroundings in the movie than her.
Yet there is a light in the darkness: Bryan Cranston. The Breaking Bad star does not get a lot of screen-time. Still, he manages to play his role tremendously well. Without him, all the acting would have been left to despair. His antics as a depressed scientist and the showcase of his Godzilla obsession was fantastic.
(Bryan Cranston as seen in Godzilla. Source: businessinsider.com)
What was so critically acceptable about Jurassic Park (1993)?. It has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Why? Because it was able to merge interesting characters with colossal monsters. It had equally comic parts as well as terrifying shots. This is what directors have been trying to do with disaster films ever since Spielberg's classic rendition of the genre.
Godzilla does succeed in disturbing audiences with its spine-chilling atmosphere of desolation. Though the film would have gained much more critically if it were not so dark.. There are almost no funny sequences in the movie. It is like the world had already been devastated from the onset of the flick. I personally felt that the movie needed a more substantial ending.
Also, we don't see much of the fight between Godzilla and the other monsters. Just American soldiers' heroic yet stupid schemes to eliminate Godzilla when he is clearly not killing humans intentionally. So with bad performances from all the actors except Cranston, a thin plot that could have been more unpredictable, and a lackluster finish, Godzilla is a feature with a median rating.
Godzilla is directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Max Borenstein, with a screen story by David Callaham. It has made $229.6m globally as of May 23, 2014 with a budget of $160 million. It will likely end its theatrical run between $600m and $800m.
When asked I always declare that Godzilla is not a must-watch movie, but it is a movie worth watching in the cinema. Furthermore, worth the watch in IMAX (3-D or 2-D, it doesn't matter), or normal 3-D. So that you get the totality of the humongous size of Godzilla, and the other monsters.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%.