Godzilla (GODZILLA ゴジラ?, Godzilla Gojira) is a 2014 American science fiction monster film produced by Legendary Pictures, and the twenty-ninth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the first in the Legendary series. The film was released to American theaters on May 16, 2014, and to Japanese theaters on July 25, 2014.
Godzilla was awakened in 1954 by a Russian military submarine accident. Throughout the mid-1950s, the United States and Russian militaries used nuclear weapons in attempts to kill Godzilla and covered them up as atomic tests; thus, his existence was unknown to the public. Godzilla, however, survived every attempt. Film footage shows the preparation and the detonation of a nuclear bomb at Bikini Atoll.
Years later, in 1999, doctor Ishiro Serizawa is called to a mining site in the Philippines along with his assistant, doctor Vivienne Graham. With a small team, he finds a colossal fossilized skeleton and two spores in a large underground cave. One of the spores is found already hatched and a tunnel extends to the surface from its location, followed a large trail that, in turn, extends to the ocean; the other is still unhatched and is taken to Mount Yucca in Nevada, United States, and placed in the nuclear waste repository.
Days later, near Tokyo, Japan, the nuclear power plant at Janjira starts to experience seismic activity. Nuclear physicist and plant supervisor Joseph Brody and his wife, Sandra Brody, make their way to the power plant. Sandra assembles a team to perform a damage check, under Joe's supervision. The power plant is soon breached by an explosion and radiation leak, killing Sandra and her team, leaving Joe and their son, Ford, alone, and bringing the entire area down to ruins. The event is attributed to a large earthquake, and the Janjira area is evacuated and subsequently quarantined.
15 years after the incident, Ford is now an explosive disposal officer for the United States Navy, and is living in San Francisco, California with his wife Elle and son Sam. After returning home, he finds out that Joe was arrested for trespassing in Janjira while looking for an explanation for the catastrophic event years ago. After Ford travels to Japan and bails him out, Joe convinces him to come with him to another trip to Janjira, for Sandra's sake. They soon discover it is not radioactive (as it was supposedly claimed) and, after recovering Joe's old data and finding their old home, they notice the power plant in the distance with its lights on, believing that the plant is being rebuilt. They are soon caught and arrested by security and taken to the power plant.
The power plant now houses a large laboratory for studying a mysterious and strange chrysalis, similar to the one discovered in the Philippines. It is revealed to be the hatchling from the previously-discovered spore and, after breaking out of the chrysalis, the creature wreaks havoc on the lab, killing and injuring many of the personnel. During the chaos, Joe receives critically heavy wounds. After the monster flies away, the military takes Serizawa to the USS Saratoga, who requests that Joe and Ford accompany him on the way, wanting to know what they knew about the situation. Joe later dies from his injuries in the helicopter while en route to the USS Saratoga.
On the Saratoga, Serizawa and Graham are revealed to be part of a secret organization called Monarch. Serizawa reveals that they knew of the creatures beforehand, and explains to Ford what the monster that attacked the plant, now referred to as a M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), is, detailing its ancient origins and that it feeds on radiation and radioactive materials, moving underground and putting itself in a cryptobiotic state when Earth's radiation subsided. Serizawa also explains Godzilla's origins, the numerous failed attempts to kill him with nuclear weaponry and the subsequent cover-up stories. Ford informs Serizawa of what his father knows, explaining that Joe mentioned tracking a form of echolocation within Janjira, leading the team to think that the M.U.T.O. was communicating with something.
Ford is then taken to Honolulu, Hawaii to eventually return to San Francisco. In the midst of a dense forest in Honolulu, a U.S. Navy Special Forces team finds the wrecked remains of a Russian nuclear submarine that, earlier, reported an attack. While there, the winged M.U.T.O. arrives on the island, ripping apart the submarine and feeding on its reactor. After being threatened by the military it sends out an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down all electronics within miles. Meanwhile, Ford is boarding a train, where he witnesses a young boy named Akio being separated from his parents. Ford, holding Akio, assures his parents that he will return their son. After the EMP caused by the M.U.T.O., the train comes to a standstill for a moment before the power returns. Ford and Akio are almost killed by the M.U.T.O., which bites into the tracks and causes the train to derail and hang. On a different side of the city, Godzilla's arrival creates a tsunami which destroys most of Waikiki. The M.U.T.O.'s actions start a chain reaction that leads to mass destruction at Honolulu International Airport, where Godzilla arrives. After a brief fight, the M.U.T.O. flies off with Godzilla pursuing it, and the two monsters are no longer a secret as footage of the brawl airs on the news, which Elle and Sam witness.
Serizawa reports that Godzilla appeared because he heard an echolocation signal and is hunting the M.U.T.O.. They later question why the M.U.T.O. would send out a signal, and soon realize that the other spore is still active and later find out that it has hatched. The resulting hatchling, much larger in size than the first, is then found to have broken out of the repository and started attacking Las Vegas, Nevada. The team concludes that the larger M.U.T.O. is female whereas the winged one is a male and that they plan on nesting in San Francisco. Stenz approves an idea that involves attracting the monsters to a nuclear warhead and detonating it in the ocean, hoping to destroy all three monsters. Serizawa disapproves, claiming that Godzilla could be the only thing that could stop the M.U.T.O.s.
Ford, now on the mainland, journeys on a military train with a group of soldiers to get Elle and Sam out of San Francisco. The train, containing two ICBMs which were hoped to be strong enough to kill the three monsters, is destroyed by the female eight-legged M.U.T.O., who was resting on a nearby cliffside, and Ford is found the next morning, left as the only survivor. One of the warheads is consumed by the creature, while the other warhead is flown by helicopter to San Francisco. The male M.U.T.O. arrives shortly after and steals the warhead immediately after it is armed to detonate.
At this time, citizens in San Francisco are being evacuated on school buses. Elle leaves Sam with a trusted friend while she stays behind to help around in the hospital. The buses then make their way out of the city through the Golden Gate bridge, where it is blocked off and is surrounded by the military. Godzilla resurfaces near the bridge, where the NAVY opens fire in an attempt to prevent him from entering the city, despite the protests of the soldiers on the bridge due to the presence of civilians. The commotion caused by both the military and Godzilla results in the destruction of the bridge, killing and injuring many people and only leaving two buses intact. Realizing that Godzilla may be the only thing capable of stopping the M.U.T.O.s, the military allow him to proceed into the city.
The M.U.T.O.s meet in downtown San Francisco and start building their nest after a short mating ritual. The male M.U.T.O. is attacked by Godzilla and another conflict ensues. Ford is ordered to go on a HALO drop with a team in order to retrieve the warhead from the M.U.T.O. nest and turn it off so it does not detonate in the city's center. After parachuting into the city they quickly locate the nest. The female M.U.T.O. goes to assist the male against Godzilla, giving the team the perfect time to locate the warhead. After finding it and getting out of the nest, Ford stays and, using a damaged fuel truck, destroys the nest of eggs before the baby M.U.T.O.s could hatch. This attracts the female M.U.T.O.'s attention, and inadvertently saves Godzilla, who was being overwhelmed by the M.U.T.O.'s. The female M.U.T.O.'s leaves the male alone with Godzilla and rushes to her nest where she spots Ford. Ford is nearly killed, however he is saved by Godzilla, who knocks her back with two blasts of his atomic breath, thus returning the favor (it is unknown if he does this on purpose or inadvertently). Before Godzilla can finish her off, the male M.U.T.O tries to attack him again, but Godzilla manages to kill the male by using his tail to slam it into the 44 Montgomery building using his tail. The building then collapses, pinning Godzilla underneath a pile of rubble and dust.
The team gets to the bay and realizes they cannot disarm the warhead, and devise a plan to sail it out into the ocean, far enough to not endanger the population. While loading it onto a boat, the female M.U.T.O. recovers from her injuries, attacks the crew and kills all except Ford. Ford starts to drive the boat, but he is confronted by the female. Wounded and exhausted, he attempts to hold her back with his sidearm. However, Godzilla returns and grabs the M.U.T.O. by her neck. After a brief struggle, Godzilla directs a charged atomic ray into her throat, which causes her neck to explode, ultimately decapitating and killing her. Exhausted, Godzilla throws her head in the water and collapses on the city's shoreline. Ford drives the boat out to sea and is rescued by helicopter before the warhead detonates.
The next day, during the aftermath of the chaos, he is reunited with Sam and Elle. Godzilla is presumed dead until he wakes up in the morning. The media acknowledges Godzilla's actions, hailing him as "King of the Monsters" and debating on his role as the city's possible "savior." Godzilla lets out a final roar before returning to the ocean to lay dormant once again.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Godzilla received the biggest opening day box office results of 2014 when it came out, scoring $38,525,000 on Friday, May 16. The was expected to gather $100 million by May 19, and ended up surpassing it slightly with $103 million. By next Friday, on May 24, Godzilla only received $8.8 million. By the end of the four-day weekend that started on May 25, the movie had collected $38.4 million due to strong marketing, and fell down to $3.3 million the rest of the week and to $12 million on the May-June weekend.
When Godzilla opened in China on June, it received $10.9 million for the biggest opening day of 2014.
Godzilla's opening weekend box office total for Japan was ¥1,657,853,474, or $16,283,798.
By August 3, 2014, Godzilla's worldwide earnings had surpassed half a billion dollars.
Godzilla has received generally positive reviews by critics and fans alike. Mose Persico of CTV says it's "a film not to be missed," Scott Carty of ABC TV deems it "epic for all the right reasons," Shawn Edwards of FOX TV calls it "the most incredible movie of the year," and Nancy Jay of Daybreak USA says it's "an instant classic." IGN gave it 9.0 out of 10.
The movie has also received its fair share of criticism, however. Most of the complaints revolve around the fact that Godzilla gets very little screen time, less screen time than the M.U.T.O.s in fact, and that the battles don't take up much of the movie's running time. In addition, some critics found Ford Brody to be bland and generic, and criticized marketing for leading people to believe that Joe Brody was going to be the main character, though Bryan Cranston's performance has received universal praise.
The first award Godzilla receives, or rather Legendary Pictures receives for Godzilla, will be the Japan Cool Content Contribution award, or J3C, on September 13 at the Consulate General's residence. The award was crated to recognize creatives who popularize Japanese media for worldwide audiences, which the box-office successful Godzilla did. Alex Garcia will attend and accept the award on Legendary's behalf.
Warner Bros. DVD + Digital HD (2014)
Warner Bros. Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD (2014)
Warner Bros. 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD (2014)
Warner Bros. (2014)
Gareth Edwards stated that he wanted Godzilla to work as a standalone film with a definitive ending, and opposed suggestions that the ending should leave the film open for a sequel. While Edwards wasn't against the possibility of future sequels, his main concern was delivering a satisfying experience with the current film; "I want a story that begins and ends, and you leave on a high. That's all we cared about when we were making this; just this film. If this film is good, the others can come, but let’s just pay attention to this and not get sidetracked by other things."
On May 18th, 2014, after its successful opening weekend, a sequel was officially given the green light from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. Edwards has been confirmed to be directing the sequel but it is unknown if any of the previous cast will be returning. In a previous interview with Gareth Edwards, he said that if the film were to have a sequel that he would like to do a Destroy All Monsters-like film.
A piece of "Classified Monarch Footage," a teaser for Godzilla 2, was shown in Comic-Con 2014. According to eye-witnesses, it looked like it was put together in the 1960s, with audio of John F. Kennedy talking about threats and dangers. Text comes on the screen saying that there was one more secret: "There were others." A pterodactyl-like shadow and "CODENAME: RODAN." An extreme close-up of a giant moth creature and "CODENAME: MOTHRA." Then a silhouette and quick cuts around a dragon-like shape figure and "CODENAME: GHIDORAH." Finally, "THREAT ASSESSMENT: CONFLICT INEVITABLE," followed by "LET THEM FIGHT."
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