CAST: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliet Binoche, Ken Watanabe

DIRECTOR: Gareth Edwards

Godzilla has one of the richest cinematic legacies of any character in movie history. The original film, born out of an agitated post-nuclear Japan, was not meant to be fun, but rather a reckoning, the sins of the past manifested, the personification of great tragedy and terrible loss. As the films continued, however, they lost their sadness, they lost their innate terror, and Godzilla was co-opted. Now, he fought for the people. Somehow, he was their hero. And there was no shortage of evil monsters to battle.

The fire-breathing legend has laid dormant for a few years now, due to diminishing returns from the Toho films in Japan and the disastrous 1998 American version that completely violated the essence of the character. Edwards brings a fresh take, however: his debut film Monsters focused on the disaster zone and urban decay left behind in the wake of a horrific alien invasion. Monsters was ultimately a smaller film, one dealing with an interpersonal relationship within the rubble. Godzilla should be, and probably will be, a bit more.

And early signs suggest a level of horror not seen as far as the monster, last seen rampaging throughout Japan in Godzilla: Final Wars. The character is usually captured in man-in-suit chintziness amidst low budget sets, which is why seeing him in the hands of Roland Emmerich showed promise. But Emmerich focused only on showy money shots, the beast's proportions constantly changing from shot-to-shot, before a truly disappointing character reveal. Edwards' Godzilla, meanwhile, is a preposterous size, and the action shots from the trailer suggest a level of devastation and disaster unseen in any film. This is a Godzilla that does not shrink away, this is a Godzilla that will mess you up. This is also a Godzilla, FYI, without a Puff Daddy music video tie-in. Thank goodness for small favors.

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