When I watched Godzilla Thursday with an enthusiastic late-night audience, the crowd broke out in spontaneous applause during two specific moments. The first was when Ken Watanabe’s scientist mentioned the legendary creature’s name for the first time. And the second came when Godzilla unleashed one of his most famous weapons on a nasty rival beastie. The audience went home happy — much happier than in 1998, when Godzilla invaded New York in Roland Emmerich’s stinker.
This time around, it’s director Gareth Edwards at the controls, a massive promotion from his low-budget Monsters debut. Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston and Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche play a married couple who work at a Japanese nuclear plant in 1999. Something goes wrong, people die, and 15 years later, Cranston is a raving lunatic who thinks the government is hiding something in the quarantined area surrounding the radioactive accident. His son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is now a soldier, with a pretty wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and son in San Francisco. But when the ground begins to shake again, no one is prepared for the creatures that have awakened from their slumber. Two Alien-looking MUTOs — Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms — wreck havoc on nuclear installations, and man’s only hope is… Godzilla. “When Godzilla first lumbers on screen to hunt the MUTOs and ‘restore balance,’ he feels both nostalgically familiar and excitingly new,” writes EW’s film critic Chris Nashawaty. “As big as a Sheraton and with a shriek that rumbles your insides, he appears beefier and meaner than you remember.”
Read Nashawaty’s entire review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY