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Video Reviews

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Cast
Matthew Broderick, Maria Pitillo, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Bodhi Elfman
Director
Roland Emmerich
Distributor
Sony Pictures
Reviewer
Bob Smithouser
Godzilla

Godzilla

Last summer, young moviegoers got their first teasing glimpse of Godzilla when previews featured the beast's foot crashing through a museum ceiling and pulverizing a dinosaur skeleton. Audiences loved it. They cheered for more. In the year that followed, a marketing campaign trading on hype and secrecy raised expectations even higher using the oft-repeated slogan "Size Does Matter." So, what happened when Godzilla finally roared onto a record 7,363 movie screens?

Despite a first-week box-office take of more than $60 million, the radioactive lizard has endured a critical drubbing. Entertainment Weekly declared that Godzilla "lumbers more than it thrills." Another reviewer gave it just one out of four stars, citing its "derivative grade-school-level story" (nuclear reptile visits New York City and trashes the place before a handful of heroes accomplish what the inept military can't). And although such bad word-of-mouth has spread like chickenpox, Sony's Jeff Blake has stated that exit polls are "absolutely through the roof for the kids." It would seem that jaw-dropping special effects are sufficient to impress young sci-fi buffs.

That being the case, parents should know the film's pros and cons before allowing children to check it out. The biggest problem for Christian families will be the language. No f-words or s-words, but crude slang is punctuated by at least six profane uses of the Lord's name.

As for violence, the human casualties that do occur are handled quite discreetly for a PG-13 release. No blood and gore. In fact, Godzilla shows more restraint than last summer's dino movie, The Lost World. Who can families thank for this display of self-regulation? Roland Emmerich's mother. Godzilla's director/co-writer/producer told USA Today that his mom had expressed displeasure with the graphic violence in one of his earlier films. According to Emmerich, "She said, 'You ought to do a nice movie.'" Who says moms can't impact Hollywood?

There are moments when Godzilla is a fun—if extremely shallow and implausible—popcorn flick. And as PG-13 actioners go, throttles back on objectionable content. But the abuse of God's name will be enough to earn it a thumbs down in many homes. Size may matter, but some things matter more.

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