MOVIE REVIEW – GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla comes in hot and bothered, overwhelimg you with epiaction set pieces albeit with a thin plot.
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Set a few years after the world realizes they live in a world dominated by giant monsters, the race is on to find a solution before extinction. The military, of course, wants to nuke everything in sight…which is frankly not a bad idea. The scientists nobly look for a way of co-existing with these titans that could squish them without a second thought.
Enter Paleobiologist Dr. Emma Russell [Vera Farmiga], a scientist who developed the Orca, a device that could potentially communicate with the MUTOs. Before it can fully be tested, their underground facility is overrun by an eco-terrorist [Charles Dance] who kidnaps her and her daughter Madison [Millie Bobby Brown]. His aim is to restore the ‘natural’ order since humans have been ruining the planet anyway. Dr. Mark Russell [Kyle Chandler], Emma’s estranged ex-husband, who also helped develop the Orca, is then contacted to help locate the device and his wife and daughter thereby prevent utter disaster.
One of the downsides of the previous Godzilla movie was that it had too much of a story. Godzilla shows up an hour into the movie and isn’t fully revealed ripping that atomic breath until the tail end of it. For a summer blockbuster whose hook was a 350-foot monster, it was a bit of a copout. This time though, the production team learned from their mistake. As soon as the opening credits roll, the tremendous roar of Gojira hits – preparing you for the intense ride ahead.
The action set pieces are epic scale and deliver in spades. Watching it on a premium screen like IMAX is a good idea. And this being a, forgive the pun, clash of titans, the monsters truly throw down. From the three-headed Targaryen dragon crossed with a Hydra experiment [Ghidorah] to the titanic winged volcano birthed [Rodan], the fights are in your face and completely decimate all in their path. The visual effects are incredible, down to the fine details on Godzilla’s absolute unit of a body. Gojira has really come a long way since the very first Japanese Godzilla film by [Ishirō Honda]. By the way, Godzilla is recognized as the longest-running film franchise in history with about 35 films.
Sadly, the human element this time is what falters the movie. Probably in an attempt to steer away from too much talking, the story this time is thinned out and given a weird family theme. It doesn’t augur well with the tone of the film and at times seems completely unnecessary. This is also troubling since it gets to a point when the action is a bit much and you’ll need a break. Yet, what you find is a laughably thin dialog that just makes you wish Gojira could stomp the scene out of existence. The only saving grace is Dr. Ishirō Serizawa[Ken Watanabe], Gojira’s biggest stan. He is absolute gold when delivering his lines, however ridiculous they may sound. His immortal utterance ‘let them fight’ single-handedly made the previous Godzilla completely worth it.
Godzilla works best as a disaster/monster film about ancient monsters that were awakened and now seek to dominate the planet. The prospect of the next sequel being a collision course with King Kong is exactly what you need. The smaller story details need to be cut down but also fine-tuned so as not to be too distracting from the main spectacle – Godzilla’s atomic breathe firing at an even bigger monster breathing down fire and brimstone simultaneously.