Son Of? Bride Of? Cousin Of? How Many Godzillas Are There, Already? Bob Mondello reviews the latest in a long line of Godzilla movies, this one with Bryan Cranston and other actors who take a back seat to digital tricks as everyone's favorite monster stomps again.


Movie Reviews

Son Of? Bride Of? Cousin Of? How Many Godzillas Are There, Already?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The world has already seen 28 "Godzilla" movies - 29, if you count the Hollywood remake with Matthew Broderick, which a lot of people don't. So, why is another one opening this week? We put that question to critic Bob Mondello, and he said because Godzilla.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: The opening credits find a nifty way to tell you that everything you think you know about this story is suspect. The background is black and white footage is atom bomb tests from the 1940s and '50s, the time Godzilla originally surfaced; the foreground is movie credits. But as soon as they come up, they're redacted: words blacked out, censored, as if to say the audience lacks security clearance. Something has been kept from us. Flash forward to 1999.


MONDELLO: Trouble at a Japanese nuclear facility, apparently from deep underground.


MONDELLO: A seismic disturbance - think of it as a bug in the system - destroys the reactor, and for 15 years nobody will be allowed near it, including the guy, played by Bryan Cranston, who gave that order to shut it down.


MONDELLO: I won't describe what they're hiding, except to say it's not Godzilla, but it is big and feeds on radiation, so if you come at it with nuclear weapons, it thinks you're just serving snacks. Oh, and it emits electromagnetic pulses that knock out all things technological. Nifty critter, about to escape. Fortunately for humanity, the navy is around and ready with an acronym.


MONDELLO: As they follow it, they'll find Godzilla - or rather Godzilla will find them, and swim along with the fleet like a whale among minnows all the way to that tough-luck town, San Francisco, which has only just shaken off the critters from "Pacific Rim." At least you know it'll bounce back.


MONDELLO: Director Edwards got this job after making a creative little indie called "Monsters," on which he had to be creative because his entire budget was less than half a million dollars. Here, his effects budget is more than 200 times that, so it's nice that he's still bothering to be inventive - offering nods to previous Godzilla movies, reflecting real-life environmental concerns and finding very pretty ways to put viewers in the middle of a parachute jump past a snarling, 350-foot critter. That the onscreen folks doing the parachuting aren't interesting - well, we haven't really come to see them. We're here to see the film's leading lizard, who seems just a bit-player in his own movie for the first hour, but in the second gets to chewing the scenery with enough enthusiasm that it almost doesn't matter that it's digital, and therefore, not very nourishing. I'm Bob Mondello.



This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.