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'Godzilla:' What's the verdict?

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By Lisa Respers France

(CNN) -- It's expected to be a monster of a movie this weekend, but what's the buzz on "Godzilla"?

The Gareth Edwards film, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe, has been eagerly anticipated by fans (some of whom still haven't gotten over the 1998 version with Matthew Broderick), and critics are sounding off.

The new "Godzilla" focuses on an engineer (Cranston) determined to solve a yearslong mystery and his frustrated son (Taylor-Johnson), who just wants his dad to let it go. And of course, there are monsters.

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly found that mix of stories to be disjointed, saying the film "feels like two movies Scotch-taped together."

"In one, Bryan Cranston plays a nuclear engineer with a tragic past who's racing to expose the truth about a series of seismic anomalies, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is his estranged soldier son, and Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins are a pair of exposition-spouting scientists trying to keep straight faces while talking about electromagnetic pulses and mankind's hubris," he wrote. "In the other, mammoth CG beasts knock the snot out of one another. Only one of these movies is any good. Thankfully, it's the monster one."

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone seemed to agree.

"It would take an insomniac to wade through all these plot complications without dozing," Travers wrote. "The actors are top-tier, but they over-emote to sell a human drama that never rises above soap opera. Cranston deserves better than a script that confuses hysterics with breaking bad."

The New York Daily News' Joe Neumaier said that "60 years after he first stomped on Tokyo, the big green lizard has been given fresh scales for the rebooted 'Godzilla.' Yet despite a few fiery breaths, there's mostly hot air from a lot of serious actors slumming it."

Drew McWeeny of HitFix found much to praise in the scenes featuring the monster.

"For better or for worse, depending on how you like the end result, Edwards has made a film that stands apart from how pretty much anyone else would have handled this, and I like that he remembered how important 'awe' is to something that hopes to be 'awesome,' " McWeeny wrote.

The Verge's Bryan Bishop said that Edwards delivers as a director.

"Rather than reaching for the low-hanging fruit of wall-to-wall action, Edwards conjures up a mix of slowly escalating tension and visual-effects wizardry," he wrote. "The result may not be the monster movie some audiences are expecting, but it's something better: a summer blockbuster that actually leaves you wanting more."

Speaking of wizardry, here are some fun facts about "Godzilla": The sound design team of Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn used a Rolling Stones tour rig with a 100,000-watt speaker about the size of a city block that they then pumped the monster's sounds through so they could capture recordings in cars, rooftops and other places to get the most realistic echo possible.

But what you think you are hearing with that Godzilla roar may be deceiving. The roar is actually a decibel beyond the human range of hearing, so the design duo used special Japanese microphones to slow the sound so it falls within audience's hearing range.

The-CNN-Wire

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