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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Battle of Giants


Plot Overview

“Godzilla” (2014) opens with a montage to scratchy back­ground noise—including a faint “de” sent in Morse code meaning ‘from’: used to precede the call sign of the sending station. We get a brief glimpse of the title page of an old book, Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, its complete title off-screen: The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. [You can see the title of a first edition displayed in the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”] Next we see old news­paper clippings of 1950s atomic testing on Bikini Atoll, followed by some news­reel footage of an atomic explosion.

Fast forward to a helicopter skimming a Philippine forest in 1999 to land near a huge pit of Universal Western Mining (“They picked up a radiation pocket last month.”) The miners uncovered a giant cavern. When “the pit collapsed,” the scientists discovered “a giant spore.” Says one, “This one looks broken, like some­thing came out of it.” The “some­thing” left a giant furrow leading to the ocean.

An American nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) working at the Janjira Nuclear Plant (near Tokyo) detects some repeating seismic readings but acts too late (“We need to shut down now!”) to save the plant and his co-worker wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche). He is devastated and his young son Ford (CJ Adams) witnessing the melt­down from his school is traumatized.

Fifteen years later Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is an explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) officer in the Navy. He gets a call from Tokyo asking him to come bail his dad out of jail who'd been caught trespassing in the quaran­tine zone, being never satisfied with the official explanation. In Tokyo all hell breaks lose when a parasitic monster, “an ancient alpha-predator” referred to as a MUTO, Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, escapes its confines and heads off to America to meet up with the female one of his (unidentified) species whom he'd been calling to. A third nuclear-spawned monster Godzilla picks up their signals and gives chase. The navy wants to nuke all three of them in one BIG explosion. Japanese researcher Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) tells them that won't work because they feed on nuclear energy. Ford just wants to get home to San Francisco, but he may have to disarm one more nuke before that happens. (In the chaos there are many displaced people.) The out­come of the giant struggle may determine who's to be the dominant species on this planet from now on


After the movie Friday, I turned on the radio to hear a preacher talk about “the patience of Job” in James 5:11. He'd lost his seven sons and all his possessions suddenly in a super­natural calamity just as did Joe Brody his wife and home. Job “endured” and was rewarded in the end although God weighed in with a description of leviathan to help him gain perspective.

In Job 41:1-2 God asks him if he can take a hook and line and go fishing for leviathan. I visited the Museum of Natural and Cultural History the next day to look at their exhibit of the saber tooth salmon whose remains were found nearby in Madras, Oregon. Ten feet long and 400 pounds those suckers got. I wouldn't go fishing for one, much less a godzilla or a leviathan.

In Job 41:3-5 God asks him if one of these monsters can be domesticated for him to play with. I've been keeping an eye on my neighbor's chickens while he's away. At night a cougar has been prowling around there. I don't go near the place at night. Last time I petted a feral cat I got bit.

In Job 41:6 God asks Job if he would carve up a leviathan for a feast with his friends. Hey, I put a bumper sticker with a picture of a saber tooth salmon on the lid of my cooler that I leave on the front stoop. A would-be thief would think twice before reaching his hand in there looking for a fish dinner.

In Job 41:7-9 God wonders if Job would spear such a creature, catch it in a net after its fight is gone. No, one look at it and the fisher­man is outta there.

I turned over the leaf of my Nature Conservancy Calendar to June. It featured Debby Thomas's photo of giraffes and zebras being chased off by the Maasai who wanted to graze their domestic herds there. The zebra is about the size of a horse or pony or of that prehistoric salmon, but it came up only half way to the under­belly of the giraffe, whose neck then soared high above them all. The giraffe would be on the same scale as, say, a jet fighter that we see in the movie. Lots of jet fighters park on an air­craft carrier also seen in the movie. But Godzilla is longer than the carrier. We see young Sam (Carson Bolde), Ford's son, playing with toy dinosaurs reminiscent of Godzilla on the TV screen (“Mommy, look! Dino­saurs.”) God can play with these monsters just as the kid plays with his toys. If we don't mess around so well with these monsters, how come we're so quick to chal­lenge God? seems to be the message in Job 41:10-11. In fact the soldiers pray before proceeding into action: “Lord God, we give thanks for the opportunity thou hast given us.”

In Job 41:12-14 God starts describing leviathan along lines we see in this monster movie. Godzilla can open the mouth of the MUTO, but men can't bridle it.

In Job 41:15-17 God describes leviathan's invincible scaly hide similar to Godzilla's bearing keloid scars from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

According to Job 41:18-21 leviathan is a fire-breathing dragon, and Godzilla, too, has some kind of atomic fire breath.

Job 41:22, the monster holds its head high and happily spreads sorrow.

Job 41:23, the monster is absolutely encased in unbreachable scales.

Job 41:24, “His heart is … firm.”

Job 41:25, when Godzilla breaks into his roar, the mighty cower.

Job 41:26-29, Missiles and artillery and bullets don't faze these beasts, and the MUTO they had confined by high tensile strength wire broke through as if it were straw.

Job 41:30, its droppings are hazardous, and in fact the MUTO's cocoons posed their own danger.

Job 41:31-32, leviathan left some kind of luminescent wake, and our movie monsters made a nice glow on the sonar.

Job 41:33-34, the news­papers query, “King of the monsters or savior of the city?” The main point is summarized by Dr. Ichiro Serizawa: “The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around.” A con­tem­por­ary real life example of man's arro­gance is that cyclical under­sea volcanoes are belching out fumes tending to warm the earth by the green­house effect, while the sun is going through its own sun­spot cycles leading us into an ice age, but we seem to think we're going to modify the climate enough to make a difference by driving (environ­mental­ly unfriendly) electric cars.

Production Values

“Godzilla” (2014) was directed by: Gareth Edwards. The screenplay was written by Max Boren­stein. Dave Callaham wrote the story. The character Godzilla was borrowed from what was developed by an earlier Japanese franchise. The Japanese word for "strange monster" kaiju is seemingly reflective of the “leviathan” in Job 41, and manifest earlier as Gojira (Godzilla). It stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, and David Strathairn. Ken Watanabe as Dr. Serizawa did the best acting job as a stunned scientist; he also got the best lines. Cranston over­plays Joe Brody, Taylor-Johnson under­plays Ford Brody, Juliette Binoche does okay as a frenzied wife & mother, and nobody else (but the monsters) has much screen presence at all. The monsters are more glimpsed than high­lighted, but that doesn't diminish their effect, and Godzilla's ROAR is devas­tating—I wore ear protection for it in the theater.

“Godzilla” (2014) was rated PG–13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence. Its filming location was Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Its run­time was 123 minutes. I seemed to detect occasional references to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Alexandre Desplat did a great job on the score. The CGI was flawless. The pacing could have been better. It's slow going at first, and then it ends all in a rush.

Review Conclusion w/ Consumer Recommendation

I enjoyed this “Godzilla.” It kept my interest and wasn't too frightening (like “Jurassic Park.”) I only had to put my ear protection on a few times. It wasn't spoiled by consumer expectations from previous Godzillas, because this is the first one I've seen. I think you pretty much know what to expect before you go into it, and it delivers well enough.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed.

Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years w/ supervision.

Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening.

Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects.

Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.