Credit: Warner Bros.

4 Reasons Why Godzilla Worked

(Warning – Spoilers Ahead! – If you have not seen the 2014 Godzilla film and don’t want to know details about it please stop reading here]

Since it’s release on May 14th, the 2014 version of Godzilla has earned close to $375,000,000 worldwide. On Rotten Tomatoes Godzilla is enjoying over 70 percent of both fans and critics recommending the film. Those numbers are both in the 20 percent range for the 1998 American version of Godzilla in case you were wondering.

I finally saw Godzilla this weekend, in San Francisco which was it turns out very appropriate, and four major things stuck out to me as reasons this movie has been so successful and has people excited about Godzilla again.

1. It didn’t try to be funny.

Now I am totally open to a great campy Godzilla movie. But camp is surprisingly hard to pull off. What usually happens in big Hollywood summer movies is that the filmmakers TRY to make the film funny, and fail. We’ve all been in the theater and heard the groans from the audience at the “maybe it seemed funny in the writers room or on the set but it’s really just a lame line” moment in summer blockbusters. The makers of Godzilla spared us from this because they didn’t even try to be make it funny or feel the need to have “comic relief” characters to lighten the mood.

The film is a thriller, slowly building to its climax, and is better off for knowing what it is and sticking to it.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Credit: Warner Bros.

2. The film had good actors and the dialogue (shockingly) wasn’t excruciating

The cast in Godzilla does a great job. I found myself immediately rooting for Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche at the beginning of the film, and I admit part of that was probably because I was already fans of them from their previous work. I thought Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen did fine jobs as the couple in crisis. There were a lot of cliche moments in their roles, but that wasn’t their fault or a huge problem for me overall because this is a monster movie, not Shakespeare. And I enjoyed seeing the very talented David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Sally Hawkins in the film as well in their respective supporting roles. Which I think just proves (the somewhat obvious point) that a good actor can help you immerse yourself in a film’s world much easier than a bad one. Why not hire these guys if they are up for the adventure? And how much fun is it for many of these “serious” actors to be in a monster movie, especially when the dialogue isn’t as embarrassing as it is in so many other summer blockbusters.

3. There was more than one monster in the film.

There’s a reason a lot of the most beloved Godzilla movies have ‘vs.’ in the middle of their titles. It’s fun to see Godzilla fight other monsters. In Godzilla he gets to fight two of them. Which is why Ken Watanabe’s line “Let them fight.” is the best line in the movie. Because yes it’s fun to see monsters destroy large buildings but it is way more fun to see two monsters fight each other. And Godzilla really did a great job with the monster fighting scenes.

4. Godzilla is a good guy

The only thing better than seeing Godzilla fight another monster is actively cheering for Godzilla during the fight. In Godzilla we got a big scary fire breathing monster who is happy to leave the humans alone and take a dip back in the ocean once he’s taken care the other monsters. Any time a movie gets you to consider shedding a tear for the well being of a CGI creature they are winning the battle of the summer movies in my book.

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Tags: Godzilla Lists

  • Earl Chase

    I’m just glad the second time around Americans did Godzilla right. What a great movie.

  • Lourdes Meinhold

    I bought advanced screening tickets and dragged my husband to see Godzilla on opening day. Needless to say, I totally loved it! The husband, not so much. Sucker fell asleep during the first half of the movie but then again we don’t share the same taste in film. Oh well……At least I liked it!

    • Amy Richau

      That’s so funny the couple I sat next to during the film had the same thing happen. The guy fell asleep, the woman he was with loved it. Hard to please everyone!

  • Dan Drake

    NOT GODZILLA (this is what I call it, since Godzilla is not actually in 99% of the film) was, but far, the most boring letdown of a film I have seen in recent memory. Why anyone would give this a good review is beyond my imagination. The first twenty minutes are fine, until (Small Spoiler Alert) we find out the cocoon does nto hold Godzilla; it instead houses the Cloverfield Monster’s baby. Then (big spoiler alert) the main character dies and is replaced with some Toby McGuire knock off (and I don’t event care for Toby McQuire) and an overacting twin who reminds me of the girl that played the Lizard daugher in the new, terrible V. Then nothing happens… For like two hours… They show Godzilla’s tale, a piece of his back as his swims… but nothing happens. They tease showing Godzilla for so long you go through stages… Sleepiness, anger, desire to go to the bathroom but fear they really will show him while you are there… Then, after mind bending boredom; you see Godzilla for two minutes or so, then the movie is over. Utter waste of time. Garbage.

    • Ryan Perez

      Awesome, i cant wait to see it.

      • Dan Drake

        I’m glad I could help!

        • Ryan Perez

          I guess i could have thrown in the #sarcasm…there really needs to be a text to accentuate sacrasm.

    • Nick Lee

      How is Aaron Taylor-Johnson a TB rip off… I agree that the way they promoted the movie really showed Byran Cranston to be the main human character and his death was unexpected, quick and disappointing but still, he did a great job as a crazy man :) The whole idea of godzilla is man vs. nature… Godzilla is nature, no he doesn’t have to be mid screen the entire time, if you want to see a Godzilla movie where he is, go see the 1998 version, or go watch the originals, which were great. This is a modern Godzilla movie and I thought it was amazing, yes it dragged on and cut out but how climatic would the last battle be if you already saw him fight a dozen times before hand? It would have been “He has already fought here here and here, why fight again?” The way I look at i is this, compare it to Jaws, Godzilla is a huge monster, you know he is there, you glimpse him but you don’t see him until right at the end. That is how Jaws worked and that movie was fantastic. This movie was just as great

      • Dan Drake

        Meh… I see you are one of the lucky ones that have read the directors ramblings about how he micked jaws. One, I don’t particulalry care for jaws. Two, eff Jaws. That was thirty years ago. Three, and most importantly, Godzilla was NOT a force of naure in this film. Forces of nature are indescriminate. Godzilla practically high-fived the camera at the end and tiptoed into the ocean over mass applause. I can’t remember a hurricane that did that. I likd the forty-five seconds or so Godzilla was in the movie, but even you admit it dragged.I’m glad you liked it, but I found it bvery boring. As far as the TB ripoff goes… It’s what he was. :D

    • Matthew Rizzo

      Eh, I kinda liked the buildup. Honestly, if it was 2 hours of buildings falling down, it would get old. Fast. Instead, there was a mediocre story, some good build up, and some great monster-fighting scenes. I believe the big guy is actually in 17 minutes of the movie, so it’s more than you think – although, I’m sure that includes the swimming, etc that you mentioned.

      All in all, I liked it. Love? Nah. I feel like there was certainly MORE that could have been done, but I viewed this movie as a teaser for more to come, since that’s what Hollywood does now. Reboot, and run with it if it works. And Godzilla worked. I expect to see more movies, and probably better ones, over the next decade or so. Which is fine by me, since I’m a geek :)

      • Dan Drake

        I, too am a geek and hope better movies come. I enjoy a good build up, my friend. However, I expect a big payoff. Even if he was in it for 17 minutes, that still classifies as a NOT GODZILLA movie. he is the title character. Imagine a Conan movie with 17 minutes of Conan. or Transformers. or anything. But I hear ya.

  • Jeff Pollard

    I agree with all these reasons that Godzilla work’d WHOLE HEARTEDLYJe

  • Amy Richau

    Love hearing everyone’s opinions about the film – let’s make sure to not cross the line from disagreeing with someone to insulting each other’s opinions in the comments or I will be forced to take them down.

  • Graham

    I enjoyed the film and really liked the way it built up gradually. The script was a let down with too many ‘coincidences’ within the action. ATJ was the wrong man to carry this film, he doest have the gravitas to carry it off but then it can’t be helped if the script is dire. It was great but could of been better.

  • Byron Harris

    I totally agree with this blog post,GODZILLA(2014) is one of my favorite movies so far,this year,right behind Captain America:The Winter Soldier. This new Godzilla WILL be a classic of this genre,IMO.

  • MarvelFan_1

    Its because the director respected the source material and imitated it somewhat, Godzilla was popular for a reason, change too much of it like certain Comic book studios do (that are not named Marvel) and you have a quiet disaster on your hands.
    The audience know what they want to see because they are familiar with and fond of the source material, say your giving them Godzilla and then give them a dodgy version of Jurassic Park like the last Godzilla did and you can see why people don’t care for it.

  • Nick Lee

    Thank you for your word of wisdom, I will not tell everyone I ever meet that “Godzilla sucked. According to Brian Sleider” I shall say “Do not see this movie, because one man did not like it, it does not matter if you have different tastes and opinions, this one man, this Brian Sleider, announved on that Godzilla did infact suck. We shall all go back to watching the 1998 crapfest of Godzilla, because, once again, Brian Sleider said the 2014 Godzilla sucked.” Thank you Brian for your amazing words of wisdom.

  • Dan Drake

    You paint a poetic picture for the way I feel about this film! :)

  • Brian Sleider

    Cool thanks, I have, on other sites, given further explanation for my displeasure and frankly do not care enough to do so here. Some bullet points on the suckage though
    >shitty acting
    >boring plot
    >overplayed human drama
    >bad direction of action shots
    >not enough of the Title character

    Movie should have been called Ford:featuring Godzilla.

  • Dan Drake

    Me neither.