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Godzilla • Summer Preview

May 22, 2014

Godzilla (** ½) PG-13

I must admit I had my hopes pinned on director Gareth Edwards’ take on Godzilla. This v the fact that, as evidenced in his only other feature film, Monsters, Edwards seemed like a good pick to reinvent one of Japan’s most enduring cinematic exports.

There are some bright spots in this second Americanized Godzilla in less than two decades, to be sure. Still, those who were none too pleased with the widely maligned 1998 version aren’t going to find themselves instantly replacing that pic with this version as the go-to American Godzilla film just yet. The filmmakers have managed to get as many things wrong as they get right and the film almost single handedly defines the term ‘mixed bag’ as a result.

The film is divided into two sections. The first is the talky, expositional section where the groundwork for what is to come later is laid bare. In this section we have Bryan Cranston, fresh from wrapping up his role on Breaking Bad, as scientist Joe Brody. There is an attempt at a back story illuminating a tragedy in Brody’s past that has estranged him from his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Ford, a career military man, is now a father and husband to Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). The elder Brody is now an activist and is determined to get the facts out regarding a nuclear accident. Ken Wantanabe and Sally Hawkins are scientists who know a few things but not enough to accurately predict the threat of a radioactive creative known as the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) that rears its head and poses a threat to humanity. Or at least whatever major city in which the MUTO happens to be in close proximity.

Godzilla finally appears at exactly the one-hour mark for the first time but there is scarcely little of him until the film’s final half hour wherein he and the MUTO go head to head. The locale of the film’s action, in the meantime, shifts as if it has a serious case ADD, going from Japan to California to Hawaii to Nevada and back to California for the finale. 

Some might argue that it’s a good thing that Godzilla doesn’t show up until halfway into the film. That might be a valid point if so much screen time wasn’t given to the havoc wreaked by the MUTO when the big guy finally does show up. Godzilla is supposed to be the main star of this attraction and that’s the reason we entered the theater in the first place. Here he gets to play second fiddle and not much else, a decision likely to disappoint die-hard fans of the big G.

Another problem with the film that must be addressed are its serious gaps in logic. A nuclear device goes off and the power is wiped out, only to have the grid come back up moments later. A MUTO crawls out of the earth and the government tries to pass it off as an earthquake in an age where everyone has a cell phone camera. These are only a few of the problems found in the latest Godzilla exhibit. 

Summer Movie Preview

With the month of May nearly behind us and with school dismissal around the corner, I thought it might be worth mentioning what’s to be found in theaters for the next several months. With the temperatures sure to be soaring, the movies are one of the best solutions to beating the long summer days. Here’s a look at what you can expect to see at a theater near you in the coming months.

Things are going to get off to a great start beginning May 30 with the release of the new film (filled with big-name stars) from Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, A Million Ways to Die in the West. The same weekend will see the release of Maleficent (starring Angelina Jolie), Disney’s live action take on the villain from their beloved animated classic, Sleeping Beauty.

Neeson, McFarlane & Theron in ‘Million Ways’

Moving along to June, the first full weekend in the month will see the release of the film adaptation of the young adult bestseller The Fault in Our Stars and the new Tom Cruise vehicle, Edge of Tomorrow. The following weekend will offer up the sequel, 22 Jump Street along with How to Train Your Dragon 2. Wide releases for the rest of the month include the latest Transformers film, Age of Extinction and the Clint Eastwood directed biopic of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys.

In early July you can expect to see the horror entry Deliver Us From Evil, the new Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy, and the animated film Earth to Echo. Later there’s the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Fluffy Movie, Jupiter Ascending, the animated Planes sequel, Fire and Rescue, another sequel The Purge: Anarchy, Dwayne Johnson’s attempt to fill the shoes of Hercules and the Cameron Diaz comedy, Sex Tape. In limited release is the documentary on the life of Roger Ebert, Life Itself, and the new Woody Allen film, Magic in the Moonlight.

August has a few interesting things in store. The first day of the month will see the release of the latest Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy and the James Brown biopic, Get On Up. Later, the Luc Beeson (Taken) action film Lucy, will see the light of day as will a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, a sequel to Sin City, a third Expendables film, the comedy Let’s Be Cops, the psychological thriller The Loft and the horror film, Jessabelle.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at




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