Sixty years after Godzilla was first introduced to the world, the monster is back on the big screen. And this time, the original kaiju is bigger than ever. In the 2014 edition, size matters but so does heart. Thanks to an award-winning cast—Bryan Crantson, Ken Watanabe, and Elizabeth Olsen—the monster film is grounded in a world of reality and emotion that transforms the monster into something more than a creature of destruction. Ahead of the premiere, VH1 breaks down 10 essentials you need to know before going to see it.
It’s all about the tease
If there’s one surprising thing about the new film it’s how long fans have to wait to see Godzilla in full. Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) teases the appearance of the monster before revealing it about an hour into the film. The tease plays out similarly to Jurassic Park and Super 8, both of which held back on showing its main destroyers until the anticipation was as a boil.
Godzilla is one supersized beast
Just under 160 ft. in the original film, Godzilla has since ballooned over 355 ft. in the latest installment. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the monster is so big, over the course of 32 films, the monster has steadily increased in size and stature.
With great size, comes great movie screens
To really enjoy and appreciate the epic size of the monster, Godzilla is one of the few movies that needs to be seen in IMAX. While many blockbuster films will be making their way to IMAX 3D, few deserve the extra $10. This film is a safe investment.
Godzilla is visually closer to the 1954 version rather than the 1998 one
For anyone worried about how closely this film would align itself with the 1998 one should relax. The film ignores that origin story and focuses more on the set up created by the 1954 original while slightly altering the course of the monster. Besides, the ’98 version was more of a T-Rex rampaging through San Diego than the creature established over its 60-year-history. Thankfully, the Godzilla’s visual presence looks like a natural evolution of the creature created in ‘54.
Godzilla is one badass antihero
While the trailers tease the terror presented by Godzilla as a seemingly mindless destroyer of cities, the character has evolved a bit over 60 years. In later films, Godzilla was called upon to save Tokyo and other cities being attacked by kaiju becoming a hero to the city and its people. While the 1998 version chose to go more T-Rex and have it mindlessly rampage New York City, in this film Godzilla is a misunderstood beast with a heart of gold—besides there are two new monsters in town.
There are two new kaiju
Trailers for the new Godzilla film teased the appearance of two additional monsters in addition to the return of marquee monster. Sadly, neither one of the monsters are part of the original set of kaiju that appeared in the long-running franchise. But these two beasts put up a good fight that’ll have fans cheering at the screen.
The movie plays on real life disasters
While the original Godzilla was an allegory for the hydrogen bomb, the new film plays on fears of two real disasters: Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Both offer timely connections while hitting close to home with the visual destructions of Tokyo and Honolulu.
Ford is one tortured man
Spoiler Alert: Ford, played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson, is a character that loses both his parents and possibly his current family to the monster. If there’s one person who should be more angry than he is it is Ford. He’s surprisingly not but then again, the movie is more about Godzilla than it is about his personal struggle.
Godzilla comes packed with Oscar power
Unlike the 1998 version, which starred Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno, the new film comes packed with some serious acting cred. In total, the film stars 4 Oscar winners and nominees, including Ken Watanabe (nominee – The Last Samurai), Juliette Binoche (winner – The English Patient), Sally Hawkins (nominee – Blue Jasmine) and David Strathairn (nominee – Good Night, Good Luck). Indie darling, Elizabeth Olsen, and Emmy-winner, Bryan Cranston join the actors.
Honolulu, Las Vegas and San Francisco join the long list of cities destroyed by the Godzilla franchise
This is an American film after all.
Watch as Aaron Taylor-John, Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe determine which city has been destroyed in a Godzilla film.
[Photos: Warner Bros.]