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Chilling 'Godzilla' reboot upholds legacy

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image A scene from "Godzilla"

No one can blame Gareth Edwards for admittedly feeling nervous when asked to helm a remake of the biggest monster movie of all time. Sure, the only other film he had directed happened to be 2010's "Monsters." But this time, it was Godzilla.
Well, the latest iteration of the 60-year-
old franchise is in capable hands. Edwards' "Godzilla" is a pleasingly paced 3-D spectacle that pays chilling homage to the artful legacy of the original 1954 film — Ishiro Honda's "Gojira" — while emerging as its own prodigious monster movie.
Created as a symbol of the nuclear threat following America's atomic attacks on Japan in World War II, Godzilla's reappearance suggests the nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. in the Pacific after the war were really meant to hold the radioactive dinosaur back.
This story begins in Japan in 1999 as nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston, edgy in an unbearable wig) investigates questionable seismic activity at the Janjira nuclear power plant.
Fifteen years later, we catch up with Ford (played by a placid but sexy Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and their son.
The tallest of any Godzillas before him, this one stands 355 feet high — about 30 stories — with glistening, scaly skin and dorsal fin spikes down his back. His terrifying yet textured roar shakes the theater.
Aiming for a realistic take on how we might react to an invasion by giant creatures, Edwards makes sure our view of them rarely shifts from the human perspective.
Honoring the eerie music of the original, this film's score by Alexandre Desplat ("Argo") is equally menacing, rich with horns that complement the consistently serious tone of the movie.
A threat to the planet in the '50s version, Godzilla isn't out to take the world down this time. He's here to be its hero and his massive showdown.
While the predictable sequel has not yet been confirmed, one thing is clear: Edwards' version of "Godzilla" remains the ultimate monster movie. The legacy has been upheld.

"Godzilla," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence. Running time: 123 minutes.

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