Godzilla 2014. This isn't Amtrak.

Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathaim, Richard T. Jones and Victor Rasuk
Director: Gareth Edwards
Scriptwriter: Max Barenstein
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers Pictures
Rated PG-13
Running Length: 120 minutes
Ah, gosh, one of my favorites is on the screen after quite an absence. You don't have to see him in IMAX or 3 D to get the ambience of your friendly, neighborhood gigantic lizard, but it is nice if you have the extra cash. Otherwise, Godzilla has plenty of thrills for those who remember the former Godzilla films and for newcomers who want to see a walking behemoth with a roar louder than the Super Bowl and feet that sports shoe makers would love to have a contract for. The old story had Godzilla being discovered in the Pacific Ocean, grown enormously presumably from nuclear radiation and then bombed out of existence.  Ha. If General Hospital can resurrect their villains, so can movie makers, and as one soldier states while helping to transport a nuclear device through a narrow mountain pass, “This isn't Amtrak.”
The story begins 15 years ago with Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) married to Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and they are scientists checking out electromagnetic pulses off the coast of Japan, near a nuclear reactor. Bit by bit, we see that “something” may be out there and it isn't an octopus, but then the reactor blows, there is a tsunami and we fast forward to now when Cranston is still tracking “something”  and his son, Ford  (Aaron Taylor-Johnson,) a bomb specialist. Aaron is married to Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and they have a son. Ford is called on duty for a small job (read enormous job here) and soon the electromagnetic pulses begin again, Ford sees a huge cavern that holds a skeleton the size of three football fields and there was an egg that is (gasp) missing! Soon there are three monsters to fight, a male and female mutation of something like a Praying Mantis who feed on radiation and Godzilla, who is their natural enemy. As scientist Ishiro (Ken Watanabe) says, “Let them fight themselves.” Thus, the natural order of things will be in balance, like feng shui, but by then Honolulu, Las Vegas and San Francisco are practically decimated. The flying thing emits an electromagnetic pulse that sends planes falling from the sky, so fighter plans are useless, as noticed by Admiral Stenz (David Strathaim.) So, here comes the fight, which is in haze and smoke and fire, something like Pacific Rim of 2013, in which men were inside large robots controlling them in haze, smoke and fire.
Acting is fairly well done, especially by Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche, whose short scenes give us a lingering love story. The rest of the actors just have to stand and stare. What comes through is the inventive story that shows these creatures were here way before man and lived from natural radiation, which greatly diminished as the earth evolved. People knew about them through the ages and there were crude drawings, but now there are instruments to measure things and track them. Camera angles are creative and more than once, they put the audience behind a glass or pillar, peeking out as a large shadow goes by. This can be scarier than meeting Mothra on a hilltop. Alexander Desplat’s soundtrack is a combination of anticipation and John Carpenter’s music from The Thing of 1982, in which one selection, “Eternity,” sounds like the soft ticking of a clock, symbolizing that some things never really die.
This Godzilla film isn't perfect---traffic jam, school bus with problems, children separated from parents, what’s-that-behind-you, what-is-going-under-the-bridge and pets---but it manages to get through those situations OK. The storyline carried Godzilla along and having other monsters gave a reason for a fight. If you have a pet iguana and you catch him looking at you from the order of his eye, remember, be nice, as somewhere he could have a big cousin who doesn't walk on a leash.
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner
For another film review of a strange invasion see below: 
Battle For Los Angeles