Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

Godzilla May 16, 2014
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of one of Japan's most famous exports.

Thankfully, the newest version of "Godzilla" isn't a guy in a rubber suit stomping cardboard buildings.

And, unlike the awful 1998 version, this one holds much closer to Godzilla's traditional origin and is a far better film.

It starts 15 years ago, in 1999 a mining company in the Phillipines breaks through the surface into a cavern. In the process, a dangerous creature from millions of years ago arises from its slumber. It hatches and travels north to Japan seeking nuclear power.

The monster destroys a nuclear plant, sending the facility's manager (Bryan Cranston) into a downward spiral as he tries to prove it wasn't a natural disaster.

Fast forward to today. The creature finally has its fill of nuclear power. It wakes up and heads east across the Pacific Ocean toward the U.S.

But the monster, called a MUTO, isn't the only being from the past making a comeback. Another larger being also reappears. This one is Godzilla and he is a hunter.

The military wants to nuke both of the beasts, but a scientist (Ken Watanabe) warns that will only feed the radiation-loving MUTOs.

Instead, he wants Godzilla to fulfill his natural role as a predator.

Following the frenzied opening section featuring Cranston and a cameo by Juliette Binoche, the film soon centers on their son (Aaron Taylor Johnson).

He's a navy demolitions specialist who gets caught up in the destruction. First trapped in Japan and then Hawaii, he finally makes it to America's mainland, with a goal of getting to San Francisco to save his wife and son.

While his travels continue, there are now two MUTOs. The male and female intend to meet up in San Francisco and hatch hundreds of eggs. Godzilla is the only hope of stopping them.

This film boasts a pretty sensible plot, lessons on the folly of trying to control nature and incredible special effects. When Godzilla throws down, cities take a beating, particularly Las Vegas and San Fran.

The special effects show the power of the enormous monster, who is the biggest Gozilla we've ever seen. When he clashes with his ancient foes, man is caught in the middle just trying to survive.

There are moments of quiet tension punctuated by massive destruction. Thankfully, you don't get overexposed to the monsters and too much CGI. Instead, there is a feeling of dread as we know something very, very bad is coming.

On my rating scale, "Godzilla" earns a home run. Director Gareth Edwards gets this monster right.

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