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Review: Godzilla (2014) — The Big Guy Plays Hide and Seek in Epic Monster Smackdown

Godzilla-banner

The 30th Godzilla film opens in 1999, with an apparent earthquake triggering a meltdown at a nuclear plant near Tokyo, Japan, killing the wife of technician Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston). Flash to present day, where Brody and his estranged son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) reunite after many years. During that time, the elder Brody has become an obsessed conspiracy theorist as a result of the tragedy which took his wife, and what he uncovers sets in motion the events which lead to the return of Godzilla, as well as a couple of other nasty kaiju known as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Godzilla is turned loose to hunt the MUTO, but can he take them out before they reproduce?

The King of Monsters is back after a ten year absence, but instead of beginning a new era under the careful eye of long-term Japanese production company Toho, the keys to the franchise have been passed on to Hollywood. 1998 was the first and last time that a Godzilla film was produced outside Japan, and I think we can all remember how that turned out:

The horror...

The horror…

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Review: Pacific Rim (2013) — A Big-Budget Movie Worth Getting Excited Over

Pacific Rim

This is a world where humanity is deep in a years long war with giant monsters, known as Kaiju; creatures that have emerged from deep beneath the ocean and have begun attacking major cities. These Kaiju have necessitated the design of unique weapons: enormous robots known as Jaegers, simultaneously controlled by two pilots, psychically linked to each other as well as the gigantic mechs, an act known as ‘drifting’. With mankind’s resources tapped, and the annihilation of the human race imminent, a washed-up Jeager pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested rookie (Rinko Kikuchi) find themselves in a desperate last stand against the Kaiju, with the ultimate fate of the world at stake.

More believable than the Australian accents.

The first thing I can say about Pacific Rim is that it is a breath of fresh air among a sea of clunky, cynical, and dark blockbusters. In the world of irony-laced, mega-budget films, this is a film which relishes in its humanity and humility; it has a general sense of altruism which makes seeing big movies like these such an exciting experience. Director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Cronos) has created pure spectacle, free of self-reference and cheeky nods.

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