Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

By sati (harlequinade) Tuesday, June 25, 2019 , , , , , , , , ,
Gareth Edwards' 2014's Godzilla was one of the most forgettable big budget movies I've seen. Nothing memorable came out of it, other than hilarious Honest Trailer highlighting Ken Watanabe's stares and the meme of Bryan Cranston saying "Godzilla, we need to cook" and shot of Godzilla going "bitch". Somehow it got good reviews and made enough money to jump start the Monsterverse.

At WB.

So you knew shit will get dicey fast.

Then we got Kong: Skull Island which was a lot of fun. And now, before Godzilla vs Kong arrives next year, we have Godzilla: King of the Monsters which got really awful reviews and is currently flopping at the box office. Thing is, this movie is a lot better than 2014's Godzilla and is a lot of fun. The critical reception is no surprise since critics are always gonna whine about action genre and 'stupid script' (I'm delightfully surprised John Wick films managed to get such good reviews), but the fact this film, which had such great trailers, isn't making more money is very disappointing.
Is this a stupid movie? Oh, yes. But there's tons of stupid movies out there and that's OK because cinema is not always about sophisticated writing. Sure, it would be awesome if we got complex characters and amazing human drama in monster fight movies too, but it's not like the characters here are THAT terrible. Ken Watanabe, Zyiy Zhang (2x in absolutely hilarious and outrageous salvage job of clumsy editing and writing) and Millie Bobbie Brown all play likable people and Bradley Whitford delivers some awesome comic relief.

Sure, Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler do play boring characters but they are no worse than the ones played by Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen in 2014 movie. There's a lot of confusion and hate over Farmiga's character's actions in this movie but is this really something so insane that deserves all those rants? I really don't think so. A mother who lost a child is capable of a lot of things. Charles Dance is also in the movie, but unfortunately he is criminally underused. He has few awesome line readings here, though, so not all was lost.
The movie should get a lot of credit for making the monsters not only incredible to look at but also giving them personality. It's difficult to make that happen when you are dealing with entirely CGI creations and yet here it works. Ghidorah is terrifying and persistent, Rodan is one shady bitch and Mothra is absolutely adorable. Mothra is also the most stunning out of the monsters and the scene where she spreads her wings for the first time is truly awe-inspiring. And the sounds she makes are so adorable!

Godzilla himself is also far from being just an expressionless CGI miracle and the reactions shots he gives are bound to become memes soon. There's hilarious moment of quick and dramatic zoom on his face after he comes back and his annoyed reactions to Ghidorah are amazing as well. You also sense a lot of ambiguity here, with him protecting humans but probably only because he just hates Ghidorah so damn much. That's another thing - it's incredible that they really managed to make it feel like there is a lot of bad history between these two, after all it's two monsters we are watching, who don't utter any words. Yet there is a palpable feeling of rivalry and bad blood between them.

I think what makes the movie so much fun is that it is not trying to be terribly serious. It is directed by Michael Dougherty (but seriously, what's with the studios giving all those GIGANTIC movies to direct to all those white male indie directors? Seriously? What is it exactly that makes them think they are qualified for that?), whose previous small budget films Trick'r'Treat and Krampus had lots of humor in them. And there's tons of funny things here. Also - this film includes Godzilla chilling in Atlantis, the government shooting an oxygen missile to kill everything in 2 mile radius and Kyle Chandler's character applying his wolves calming techniques to those creatures. Clearly, none of this was made by people who thought they were doing really serious drama so why are critics treating this film as if it was supposed to be?

Hopefully with the reception this movie got WB won't freak out and start changing things around in Godzilla vs Kong because we know how badly things can go when they meddle with movies in post-production. With how awful and bland the movies this summer are, you should give this one a chance. Unlike Dark Phoenix and MiB: International it entertains, it's not boring and it looks and sounds fantastic.
73/100 (2019, USA, 133 min)
Plot: The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Michael Dougherty (screenplay by), Zach Shields (screenplay by)
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown


14 comments:

  1. YESSSSSS! Of course you already know I really loved this movie but you're so right on the box office being a disappointment. It's a movie that deserves MUCH better that it has gotten. I love how it sticks close to its franchise roots not just in terms of the action, but in the writing and the characters. Anxious to see it again.

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    1. It such a shame it flopped. Phoenix and MIB did rightfully so but this was a fun summer flick

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I just couldn't deal with all the shadows. I may watch it again when it hits streaming to see if it looks any better to me. I f it does, I'll probably love because all the other elements I wanted were there.

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    1. In fairness with the amount of low budget trash starring Keanu I saw recently it was easy for this to look spectacular in comparison 😂

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  3. I loved every second of this and can't believe the negative commercial and critical reception it's getting. Is Kaiju appeal overestimated here?

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    1. I dont know, maybe there are just too many big movies now, this probably opened too soon after Endgame which satisfied people's blockbuster needs for a while

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  4. Fun read, it's good to see another positive review for this. I haven't had a chance to watch it, but I do love most Godzilla/kaiju movies! And Trick r' Treat is one of my favourite horror films, so this should be interesting. :)

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    1. It's really fun and not that serious, I refuse to believe people making it thought they were doing some heavy dramatic film :)

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  5. I liked the characters in the first Godzilla movie so much more than these ones, but Chandler never does it for me. He's just a bore to follow.

    My girl Mothra got screwed though. it needed more of her.

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    1. Apparently Mothra always dies in those things, but there are eggs or something so she will be back :D

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  6. I might see it. I disliked Kong Island tho so I'm not sure monster movies are my thing but.. I might watch it.

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  7. Hell. Yes. I am so happy to find another defender of this movie. Of course it was silly and dumb, but it was so much fun too. And I fully agree that it was a far better experience than Godzilla from 2014. I don't think I've had more fun at the movies this year than I did watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And I'm okay with that haha.

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    1. Yes, there's more of us! :D It's such a shame it got slaughtered by critics and in the box office, it was so much fun

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