Godzilla is a 2014 American science fiction monster film directed by Gareth Edwards and it is the first installment in Legendary's MonsterVerse. It is the second American reboot of the Godzilla film franchise and retells the origins of Godzilla in contemporary times as a "terrifying force of nature". The film is set mostly in the present day, fifteen years after the unearthing of two chrysalises in a mine in the Philippines. From the pods come two giant radiation-eating creatures, known as "MUTOs", which cause great damage in Japan, Hawaii and the western United States. Their awakening also stirs a much larger and more destructive, ancient alpha predator known as "Godzilla", whose existence has been kept secret by the U.S. government since 1954. It stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston. The screenplay is credited to Max Borenstein but includes contributions from David Callaham, David S. Goyer, Drew Pearce, and Frank Darabont.
The film is a co-production between Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, with the latter also distributing the film worldwide, except in Japan where it was distributed by Toho. It is the second Godzilla film to be completely filmed and produced by an American studio, the first being the 1998 film of the same name. The project initially began in 2004 and was originally intended to be an IMAX short film titled, Godzilla 3D: To the Max, to be directed by Yoshimitsu Banno, director of Godzilla vs. Hedorah. After several years in development, the production was transferred to Legendary for development as a feature film. Producers Kenji Okuhira, Brian Rogers and director Banno were retained by Legendary. Shortly before filming began, several producers were dismissed from the production and a court case is ongoing between themselves and Legendary. Principal photography took place in the United States and Canada in 2013. Godzilla was released worldwide in 2D, 3D and IMAX on May 15, 2014; in North America on May 16; with releases in China on June 13 and Japan on July 25, 2014. Critical reception for the film has been positive, with some praising the film for its slow pace and dramatic build-up, while others criticized the underwritten script, thinly developed characters, the insufficient amount of screen-time the title character, Godzilla, has in the film and the fact that the film, despite its eponymous title, does not focus primarily on Godzilla. However, Gareth Edwards' direction and the film's visual effects, music, creature designs, and Bryan Cranston's performance were critically acclaimed.Critics and fans have also praised director Edwards for honoring the spirit and legacy of the Godzilla character and franchise. Godzilla was an immediate box office success upon its release, earning $93.2 million in North America and roughly $200 million worldwide on its opening weekend. The film would finish with a worldwide total of $528 million at the end of its theatrical run. At the 41st Saturn Awards, the film received two nominations for both Best Science-Fiction Release and for Best Music (for Desplat).
The film's success has prompted Legendary to proceed with sequels with director Gareth Edwards attached to direct a planned trilogy with the first sequel targeted for a June 8, 2018 release.
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
In 1954, a nuclear bomb is detonated at the moment a giant creature emerges from the ocean. In 1999, Project Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham investigate a colossal skeleton unearthed in a collapsed mine in the Philippines. They find two spores; one dormant and one hatched that made a trail into the sea. In Japan, the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant experiences unusual seismic activity and Supervisor Joe Brody sends his wife Sandra and a team of technicians into the reactor. A tremor breaches the reactor, leaving Sandra and her team unable to escape while the plant collapses.
Fifteen years later, Joe's son Ford, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer, returns from a tour of duty to his family in San Francisco but has to immediately depart for Japan after Joe is detained for trespassing in the Janjira quarantine zone. Determined to reveal the disaster's true cause, Joe persuades Ford to accompany him to their old home within the zone to retrieve vital data. They successfully retrieve the data but are captured and taken to a secret facility within the plant's ruins. Inside, a giant winged creature emerges from containment and escapes, destroying the facility. Joe is severely wounded and later dies. The incident is reported around the world as a major earthquake.
Serizawa, Graham and Ford join a U.S. Navy task force led by Admiral William Stenz to search for the creature, dubbed "MUTO" (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). The scientists reveal how a 1954 deep sea expedition triggered the appearance of Godzilla, a prehistoric alpha predator; how 50's nuclear tests were really attempts to kill him; that Project Monarch was formed secretly to study Godzilla; and that the MUTO caused the Janjira meltdown. Ford reveals that Joe had monitored echolocation signals that indicated the MUTO was communicating with something.
The MUTO lands at Hawaii, where it destroys a Russian nuclear submarine. Godzilla arrives, causing a tsunami in Honolulu and briefly engages the MUTO in battle, before it flees. Meanwhile, a second, larger, and wingless MUTO emerges in Nevada and devastates Las Vegas. The scientists deduce that the second MUTO is female, the two were communicating and will meet to breed in San Francisco. Over the scientists' objections, Stenz approves a plan to use nuclear warheads to lure and destroy the monsters. Ford joins a team delivering the warheads by train. The female MUTO attacks the train and devours the warheads. The remaining warhead is airlifted to the city and is activated after the military fails to stop Godzilla at the Golden Gate Bridge. The MUTOs capture the warhead and form a nest in the Chinatown area.
While Godzilla and the MUTOs battle, a strike team, including Ford, enters the city by HALO jump to find and disarm the warhead. Unable to access the timer, they put the warhead on a boat for disposal at sea while Ford destroys the MUTO nest. The MUTOs initially get the upper hand, but Godzilla eventually emerges victorious, but collapses on the shore from exhaustion. Ford, as the only survivor of his strike team, is rescued as the bomb detonates at sea and reunites with his family at an emergency shelter. Godzilla, thought to be dead, suddenly awakens and returns to sea with the crowd cheering for him and the media hailing him as "King of the Monsters - savior of our city?".
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Some roles are yet to be named or specified.
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Lieutenant Ford
- Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody 
- Elizabeth Olsen as Ford's girlfriend 
- Ken Watanabe
- Juliette Binoche
- David Strathairn as "The Major"
- Richard T. Jones as a military figure "The Colonel" 
- Victor Rasuk
- Akira Takarada (unspecified role)
- Sally Hawkins as a scientist 
- Yuki Morita as Akio 
- CJ Adams as Ford's stepbrother 
- Jared Keeso as Jump Master
- Patrick Sabongui as Sergeant Marcus Waltz
- Al Sapienza as Huddleston
- Brian Markinson as Whalen
- T.J. Storm as Godzilla (mo-cap), (uncredited)
After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho announced that it would not produce any films featuring the Godzilla character for ten years. Toho demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla films to stage water scenes. TriStar Pictures, which had made the 1998 GODZILLA film and held the rights to American Godzilla movies, had let their rights expire in 2003 and the character that starred in that film was subsequently renamed "Zilla" by Toho.
Director Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, secured the rights from Toho to make an IMAX 3D short film production, tentatively titled Godzilla 3D to the Max, based on a remake of the Godzilla vs. Hedorah story. Banno and producer Kenji Okuhira then added American 3D cinematographer and visual effects supervisor Peter Anderson to the project. Also through Anderson, Kerner Optical came on board to produce the 3D film. In 2007, American producer Brian Rogers met with Banno and was added to the project. However, Banno was unable to find backers to produce the Imax film. Rogers approached Legendary Pictures in 2009, and the project was changed to produce a feature film instead.
In August 2009, rumors surfaced that Legendary was in talks with Toho to produce a new American Godzilla film to be released in 2012, and on March 29, 2010, it was officially confirmed that Legendary had acquired the rights to Godzilla. Legendary announced it would reboot the franchise with Warner Bros. co-producing and co-financing. Legendary announced it would make the new film closer in style to the original 1954 film rather than the 1998 film and its "iguana-like creature". According to Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, (sic) "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop culturally relevant for as long as it has." Film producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni were added to the project to work with Rogers, Banno and Okuhira.
At the 3D Summit conference held in September 2010 at Universal Studios, producer Brian Rogers confirmed a planned date of 2012. The reboot is a live-action project featuring a fully computer-generated Godzilla. Godzilla will fight at least one or two monsters, rather than simply the military as seen in Emmerich's 1998 remake. Rogers also confirmed that the two Godzilla head designs that were floating around the Internet and rumored to have been designed by Legendary and sent to Toho for approval were fake, and were just simply fan-made. He also went on to say that he and Legendary Pictures wished to revive Godzilla in the same fashion Legendary revived Batman.
In October 2010, a new script was commissioned and David Callaham (script writer of The Expendables) was named to write it. In the same month it was also rumoured that Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) was approached to direct the movie, which del Toro later denied. In January 2011, Legendary named British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, director of the 2010 film Monsters to direct the film. Edwards stated then that he was concentrating on a few ideas, including working on a script with Timur Bekmambetov (Apollo 18, Night Watch, Wanted, and 9). In an interview publicizing the DVD release of his film Monsters, Edwards stated (sic) "this will definitely have a very different feel than the 1998 film and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because I'm a fan as well." "Without addressing anything specific, everyone knows how important is to get it right."
After Callaham, four more persons worked on the screenplay during the film's development. When Edwards' signing was announced, it was also announced that Callaham's first draft would be rewritten by another writer. In July 2011, David S. Goyer was attached to do the rewrite of the film's screenplay. Goyer only worked a few weeks on the script and did not get a screenwriter credit. In November 2011, Max Borenstein was hired to continue work on the script. In October 2012, Legendary announced that writer Drew Pearce would polish the script, making the principal characters older to suit the actors that Legendary intends to cast. In January 2013, Frank Darabont (writer-director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic, The Walking Dead), was added to write the final/shooting script.
The film remained in development into 2012, missing the planned release date. Edwards worked on his vision for the film at a stage at the Warner Brothers lot. Mark N Tompkins and the art department developed Godzilla models, artwork and pre-visualizations of the action scenes of the movie. From the lot, Edward directed a short teaser video, shown to Legendary executives and later shown at the San Diego Comic-con in July 2012. Two images from the video were eventually released to the internet.
The film grossed $9.3 million in North America at early Thursday screenings, one of the best-late night openings for a non-sequel, and $93.2 for the entire weekend, making it the fifth highest opening weekend IN 2014.
The film received positive reviews and holds a rating of 76% "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes based on 323 reviews with an average score of 6.65/10. The site's consensus states: "With just enough human drama to anchor the sweeping spectacle of giant monsters smashing everything in sight, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla satisfyingly restores the franchise's fire-breathing glory." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average based on selected critic reviews, the film has a score of 62 (indicating "generally favorable reviews") based on 48 reviews. CinemaScore reported that cinemagoers gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale.