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Home / Career / Film Productions
Godzilla
003.jpg Original Release: May 16, 2014
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay by: Max Borenstein
Produced by: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget: $160 million
Box Office
: $529.1 million

Fifteen painful years after the unexplained and devastating incident at Janjira’s nuclear power plant, the guilt-ridden nuclear expert, Joe Brody, is still looking for answers. Obsessed with unearthing the truth, the estranged father reunites with his son–the traumatised U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, Ford–in a desperate effort to decipher a shockingly familiar seismic pattern, as a gargantuan pulsating cocoon is just about ready to transform into something utterly terrifying. But, from the abysmal depths of the vast ocean, emerges another numbing terror–the ultimate Kaiju and the King of Monsters, Godzilla. Is he friend or is he foe? And, above all, can he destroy the all-powerful adversaries that threaten not only San Francisco but the entire humanity?

Cast & Characters

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ishirō Serizawa), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Juliette Binoche (Sandra Brody), Sally Hawkins (Dr. Vivienne Graham), David Strathairn (Admiral William Stenz), Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), T.J. Storm (Godzilla, mo-cap performance), Carson Bolde (Sam Brody).

Production Photos

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Production Notes

On January 7, 2013, it was reported that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had turned down being cast in the film in the fall of 2012. It was reported that Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy, and Caleb Landry Jones comprised the shortlist for lead of the film. On January 10, it was first reported that Legendary Pictures was interested in Aaron Taylor-Johnson for the lead role. It was reported that Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen were also in talks to co-star. Olsen confirmed her involvement at the 2013 BAFTA awards. Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn were then signed on to join Taylor-Johnson, Cranston and Olsen in the film.

In January 2013, Mary Parent joined the project as a producer for Disruption Entertainment, and producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison were dismissed from the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the producers left over creative and financial differences with Legendary Pictures, and Legendary was buying out their producer contracts, a move which led to court. On January 9, Legendary Pictures filed a ‘Complaint for Declaratory Relief’ lawsuit against Lin, Lee and Davison in California State Court to spell out any fees owed to the individuals, who had signed an agreement with Legendary and were working with Legendary on the film’s development. According to the complaint, Legendary had decided in the fall of 2012 to not employ the three as producers on the film and the three were not eligible for any producer fees. The three filed a counter-claim, that the agreement cited by Legendary was not in force and that the original working agreement was breached by Legendary. The three argued that the suit should be decided in open court, not in arbitration, and that Legendary should be responsible for damages for breach of contract. At court, the judge dismissed the arbitration and ordered mediation followed by jury trial if necessary. Legendary appealed the decision and lost the appeal in March 2014, leaving the case in California Superior Court for trial. In June 2015, on the eve of the trial, the parties came to a settlement, terms of which were not disclosed.

At the start of principal photography in March 2013, Legendary formally announced the cast and producers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Alex Garcia, Kenji Okuhira and Patricia Whitcher were formally named as executive producers and Legendary announced the addition of Ken Watanabe to the cast. After filming started, Richard T. Jones and Sally Hawkins were added. From the film set, a photograph of actor Akira Takarada (star of the original Godzilla, including five sequels) with Edwards was released. Takarada had publicly appealed to be part of the production and the photo indicates some sort of role for the Japanese actor in the reboot. In April 2014, Takarada said in an interview that his role was cut from the final version of the film. He had the role of an immigration officer. Edwards later admitted regretting cutting out Takarada’s cameo.

Trivia

  • The Sound Designers used a twelve-foot high, eighteen-foot wide speaker array to blast Godzilla’s roar at one hundred thousand watts, to get a good idea of his vocal power and strength.
  • The United States Marine Corps declined to participate after reviewing the script. The United States Navy cooperated with production.
  • The film contains 960 visual effects shots. The 3-D model of Godzilla, made up of 500,000 polygons, appears in 327 shots. Had the graphics been rendered on a single computer, it would have taken 450 years to render.
  • Toho Studios provided Sound Designer Erik Aadahl with the original 1954 recording of Godzilla’s roar. He upgraded the roar to a more organic, contemporary sound.
  • According to Gareth Edwards, Godzilla’s design is inspired by bears and Komodo dragons. In particular, his face is influenced by the heads of bears, dogs, and eagles. Edwards said the eagle “has a lot of nobility. It made him feel very majestic and noble.”
  • Despite being the title character, Godzilla appears in the film after nearly one hour, and is only in the film for eleven minutes.
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen play husband and wife. They play brother and sister in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
  • Juliette Binoche, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were all Gareth Edwards’s first choice for their respective roles. According to Hawkins, “He comes from the performance first, rather than how it looks. I never expected I would be cast in a film like this – and that’s all thanks to Gareth. His cast is really unusual and interesting, and people you wouldn’t normally see in this type of film, and I hope it makes for a different type of monster film.”
  • Release & Reception

    Godzilla received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 319 reviews, with an average rating of 6.65/10. The site’s critical 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 reviews, the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film an average grade of “B+” on an A+ to F scale.

    Alex Pappademas of Grantland called the film “the first truly joyous popcorn action movie of the season” and praised Edwards’ restrained direction, stating, “I admired Edwards’s restraint, a quality I’m not accustomed to admiring in $160 million summer action movies.” Richard Roeper stated, “Edwards and his team produce consistently stunning visuals”, but admitted that he “would have liked to see more of Godzilla” but stated that the film is “leaps and bounds ahead of the 1998 bomb” and awarded the film a B+ rating.

    Tom Russo of the Boston Globe felt the film “is an uneven spectacle that can’t sustain its solid first-half character moments” but did state the film “can also flash a surprising, often clever sense of legacy, and is intermittently capable of thrilling us” and praised the film’s special effects, stating, “Crafted with motion-capture technology and an aesthetic eye toward tradition, Godzilla is convincingly rendered here, making for some genuinely electrifying moments” but did feel that the third act’s battle was “overkill” and that the principal characters were lackluster, stating the film “needs performances that ground it — and they’re just not coming from Taylor-Johnson, Watanabe, and the rest of the thespian soldiers and flabbergasted biologists who dominate the second hour” and concluded by stating, “Godzilla, Watanabe breathlessly hypothesizes, ‘is here to restore balance.’ The film could do with a little of that itself, thrills notwithstanding.”

    Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice stated “Gareth Edwards’s new desecration of his (Godzilla) legend should make him (Godzilla) want to eat Hollywood for lunch”, feeling that the film “hits all the wrong beats” but did praise Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston’s performances, stating, “Their few brief scenes, particularly Cranston’s, make for the best dramatic moments in the movie” and also praised Alexandre Desplat’s score and the scenes involving Godzilla but stated “it’s just one tiny beat in an otherwise way-too-big movie that, weirdly, doesn’t give us enough of the one big guy we showed up to see in the first place” and concluded by stating, “Godzilla is one of those generic, omnipresent blockbusters that’s undone by the very spectacle it strives to dazzle us with: Everything is so gargantuan, so momentous, that nothing has any weight.”

    A. O. Scott of the New York Times stated the film “is at once bloated and efficient, executed with tremendous discipline and intelligence and conceived with not too much of either” and found that “it surpasses Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Hollywood version” and praised the film’s aftermath destruction scenes, stating, “the vistas of trampled cityscapes are frequently more memorable and always more haunting than the chaotic scenes of smashing and flooding that clutter the film’s climax” but felt the characterization was “thin” and the performances were “squandered” but felt that the “soul” of the film “dwells with the monsters”. Matt Zoller Seitz highly praised the film’s direction and craftsmanship, giving it three and a half out of four stars and stating that “Godzilla represents some sort of high water mark (pun intended) in Hollywood’s nearly forty year crusade to turn once-disreputable genre films into pop art that demands our contemplation, if only because of the wit and skill that its army of technicians lavished on each frame. The long shots of kaiju grappling in ruined cities are gloomily magnificent, like oil paintings of Biblical miracles.”

    Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film three and a half stars, finding that the film “makes up” for the 1998 version and praised Edwards, stating, “The director thinks visually, which sounds redundant until you realize how many monster movies are flat, effects-dependent factory jobs. Edwards knows how to use great heights for great effect.” Phillips also praised the film’s build-up, stating, “director Gareth Edwards lays the expository groundwork nicely and hands the audience what it craves in the second half” and defended the amount of screen-time Godzilla received, stating, “Is there enough Godzilla in Godzilla? Folks, there is. There is just enough.” David Blaustein of ABC News Radio called the film “very good, but not great”, criticizing the film for not having enough screen-time for Godzilla, stating, “There’s not enough Godzilla. When the monster’s away, the movie drags. It’s clear what Edwards and company are trying to do here. i.e. less is more. The issue is, this Godzilla is so much fun to watch, we never want it leave the screen and when he/she/it’s not there, it’s a letdown.” Regardless, Blaustein stated that the film’s finale, “more or less, makes it all worth the wait”, and awarded the film three-and-a-half stars out of five.

    Matt Zoller Seitz, in his positive review of the film, observed how “[i]t’s less interested in a giant monster’s rampage than in what it might feel like to be a tiny human watching it close up, or far away, or on TV. It is not about Godzilla or the beasts he fights …. it’s a combination epic horror film and parable of nature in revolt, filled with odd ellipses and surprising but appropriate storytelling choices, such as an early monster duel that plays out mainly on CNN.” In regards to the film’s shallow characters, “the film is inclined to see them as representatives of an endangered species rather than complex individuals”. He also noted in the film “a touch of Terrence Malick’s Transcendentalist humility in how the director lavishes attention on meadows and forests and rolling waves”, with the film’s final shot evoking The Thin Red Line (1998).

    Japanese critics and journalists have praised the film for putting “more of an effort to honor the spirit and visual style of the Japanese series” but criticized the film for “complicating the anti-war, anti-nuclear sensibility” and “lack of nerve on the part of the filmmakers to say anything substantial about nuclear weapons or nuclear energy”. However, Godzilla illustrator Yuji Kaida called the film “a real kaijū eiga (monster movie) that honored the original in that Godzilla was presented as a force beyond human understanding that maintained the Earth’s natural balance”.

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