Godzilla

 
(i)

 

Iconic movie monster once again wreaks massive destruction.
  • Review Date: May 16, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 123 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Man shouldn't interfere with the course of nature. There should be respect between the planet and the people living in it.

Positive role models

Family matters a lot in this movie. Joe Brody is a devoted husband who won't quit until he figures out the truth behind his wife's death. His son, Ford, grows up to be a caring, committed husband and father and a son who tries to understand his dad, who's been damaged by the loss of his wife. He also helps save a city and watches over a small boy when the boy is briefly separated from his family.

Violence

Destruction everywhere, though very little blood is shown. Entire cities are leveled, and creatures stomp on humans as if they're just toys. They yank subway cars of the tracks, pull boats from the water, and battle each other in huge clashes. The carnage is high. Kids and animals are shown in peril and scared, needing help (including a bus full of children on a bridge being destroyed by a monster). Bodies are shown strewn about after a catastrophe. Early in the movie, a husband sees his wife die behind a glass window when she gets trapped and something happens to her.

Sex

Couples kiss.

Language

Infrequent use of words like "bull," "hell," and "damn" and a few uses of "s--t."

Consumerism

An LG phone is seen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

People drink a casual glass of wine in one scene.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to that this take on Godzilla has relentless, near-constant sci-fi action/destruction on a massive scale. Although there isn't anything particularly gory, the smashing and crushing and pounding might be scary for younger kids, especially since some scenes feature children extremely frightened and afraid for their lives (a child also witnesses the destruction of his parents' workplace from afar). Early in the movie, a man watches his wife die as part of a terrible accident; her death impacts him significantly. Expect some mild swearing, a few kisses between a couple, and minor social drinking. Fans of the original film will be glad to know that the giant radioactive monster, when he does make an appearance, is still impressive after all these years (and better special effects).

What's the story?

Fifteen years after losing his wife (Juliette Binoche) in a horrific nuclear power-plant accident, scientist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is still obsessed with the incident. He enlists his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), to help him get back to their old house, long quarantined after the accident. They soon discover that something very wrong is afoot -- and that they may be dealing with the awakening of giant creatures long lying dormant. The military is trying to solve the problem, but perhaps the best one to address it isn't a human at all, but rather another beast that's been roaming the seas for years: GODZILLA.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Godzilla is both thrilling and broodier than you might expect for this kind of a movie. It's exciting because the special effects are fantastic, a far cry from the Godzillas of yore, and because the actors, though underused -- especially Cranston -- bring a level of authenticity to characters, something we don't often get in this genre. And when we finally do see Godzilla, after a prolonged wait, it's a thrilling moment. In fact, any time Godzilla makes an appearance on screen, it's interesting. 

Unfortunately, there's not enough Godzilla in this movie and two too many otherworldly creatures, specifically the M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Godzilla fights them, as do the humans, but they feel more like a distraction. And the dialogue is clunky in places, prone to over-explanation. (A sample line, told with a straight face: "It's not the end of the world," uttered, of course, when the world clearly is ending.) Each scene is so laden with portent and overwhelmed by Alexander Desplat's foreboding score that it's hard to differentiate one moment from the next. But the finish? It's a crowd-pleaser, which just bumps the movie into three-star territory.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Godzilla's violence and destruction. How does the impact of the kind of massive-scale devastation seen in this kind of a movie compare to more realistic violence? Do you think these kinds of movies can desensitize viewers to violence?

  • Why do you think Godzilla has been remade so many times? What do you think filmmakers hope to achieve by remaking a classic? How often do you prefer remakes to the original?

  • Talk about the idea of man subverting nature. Do you think humanity has done that? And if so, what do you think the effects are? How does the movie address this theme?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 16, 2014
DVD release date:September 16, 2014
Cast:Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director:Gareth Edwards
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:123 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence

This review of Godzilla was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 9 year old Written bybr14n May 18, 2014
 
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old May 24, 2014
 

Had High Hopes For Monster Motion Picture, But Was Horrible!

This movie was not as violent as you would imagine, I am a ten year old and I never was shocked, disturbed, or slightly scared the whole movie, however it still has a good amount of DESTRUCTION! There is very little blood and it has a good message about no meddling with the environment. However, despite all of the positives, one scene of kissing mad a little uncomfortable and it lacked more battle scenes, too much talking! It bored me so much! Otherwise, it is a fine movie for kids 8 and up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Adult Written byJohnem95 May 16, 2014
 

A monstrously fun popcorn flick!

If your kid(s) is/are into monster movies, they'll most likely love Godzilla. Just note that this is an intense movie that has several loud scenes that'll shake your seat. Also watch for one frightening "jump" scare that occurs during a scene taking place on a bus. If your kids can handle intense, loud stuff though, they ought to be just fine seeing this in the theater.

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