Godzilla: as Good as Jaws?

Mostly good reviews for this beast of a revival

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted May 16, 2014 9:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Godzilla franchise enters its seventh decade and there's plenty of building-smashing to go around. But does the beast also have a sensitive side? Director Gareth Edwards shows there's more to the monster in this latest Godzilla flick, starring Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen. How does he do? Critics are mostly pleased; the film currently has a 74% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Andrew O'Hehir has high praise for it. "It's a bracing tonic for the bored palate of the mainstream moviegoer, and one of the most intriguing big-budget breakthrough films since Steven Spielberg made Jaws," he writes for Salon, adding that it has "tremendous visual daring, magnificent special-effects work, and surprising moral gravity."
  • Betsy Sharkey at the Los Angeles Times isn't quite as big a fan. While she admires a "21st century Godzilla, eco-conscious with 3D side effects that are monstrous in all the right ways," Edwards lets "too many people problems and ... other monsters" get in the way of the star of the show—the big beast people came to see. "Ironically this big, lumbering movie could have used more, not less."

  • Edwards' goal in resurrecting the Godzilla franchise appears to be a "return to the creature's sober, serious roots," Ian Buckwalter writes for NPR. He succeeds in balancing "character and meaningful story" with spectacle, and keeps Godzilla in the shadows until necessary. "This is exactly what big summer movies ought to aspire to: never short on dazzle, but unafraid to let us catch our breath once it's been taken away."
  • As for Colin Covert at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he argues "the new Godzilla is the best Godzilla since the first Godzilla," though admittedly, that's "a large degree of faint praise." He adds that "the film is technically remarkable" but "too often mumbles and repeats itself. Its attention to the human details is wobbly at best ... this Godzilla leaves a shallow footprint."

This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows a scene from Godzilla.
This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows a scene from "Godzilla."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)
This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Aaron Taylor-Johnson, left, and Elizabeth Olsen in a scene from Godzilla.
This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Aaron Taylor-Johnson, left, and Elizabeth Olsen in a scene from "Godzilla."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Kimberley French)
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A trailer for the latest Godzilla.   (YouTube)

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