Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Written By: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah (the movie’s joke, not mine)
Run Time: 2 Hours and 12 Minutes
Release Date: May 31st, 2019
My god, the battle with the critics has been brutal on this one!
‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ has, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, sparked quite the battle. Some argue that it is a terrible movie, as it shoves the story and human characters aside for a spectacle. Others argue that there isn’t anything wrong with a film basking in visuals, and that a lackluster story is acceptable. But which of these sides is correct? Story, or spectacle?
Both are right. Its called having an opinion. If someone disagrees with yours, then shove off and let them have it. They’re not going to be able to take yours away. Now, with that said, let me spend a whole thousand-word essay telling you why this movie makes my dick rock hard.
Story: Yes, Its Not Great
Lets be honest. This movie isn’t winning any awards for ground-breaking writing. In all actuality, the plot only exists to have a reason for giant monsters to beat the shit out of each other. Which, if you ask me, is just fine.
Years after the events of ‘Godzilla (2014)‘, Titans have become common knowledge. Monsters like Godzilla are cropping up all over the world, and the world is beginning to panic. Luckily, Dr. Emma Russell may have a solution, as she’s invented a machine capable of domesticating the creatures, and she puts it to use on the freshly born Mothra. However, when a terrorist group kidnaps her and her daughter and take the device, it proves to be a catastrophic nightmare. With it, and a few bombs, they free a frozen giant: Monster Zero, AKA: Ghidorah. Now Godzilla and Ghidorah must battle for dominance, with the help of Mothra and Rodan respectively. But will humanity be able to survive the claim for the throne? Or will the bid for King of the Monsters leave the Earth inhabitable?
This story is the biggest problem. None of the characters are exceptionally deep or interesting. Any growth or development they may have is hugely rushed, often restricted to only a few scenes. None of the human characters have any real impact on the story, save for Serizawa (who is used to some clever effect, when you remember what the original Serizawa character did in the first film) and Millie Bobby Brown’s character. If you cut everyone else out, you’d lose very little. They only serve to set things up for the next giant monster fight.
Now, not to say that the story is brainless. There are a ton of fun hints and nods to prior movies in the Godzilla franchise. For example, they use one of the background characters to nod towards the Mothra Twins, and they even bring back an iconic weapon (of the non giant-monster variety) to be used in the fight! I’d try to count all the references, but I’d be here for several hours if I even tried!
I’d say I’ll be sure to do that next week, but I’d need to watch the movie another seven to twelve times to get them all. So don’t count on it.
Presentation: A Treat for the Eyes and Ears
Hang on, I need to get my jaw back in place. It just keeps dropping, I don’t know why.
Movies are primarily a visual medium. How they present themselves is incredibly important. And in terms of presentation, KOTM is downright flawless!
Lets start with the music. This is easily the best OST in any Godzilla movie! It takes the classic themes of each monster and revamps them into modern hype tunes! The Godzilla theme gets an extra bit of choir singing to increase the excitement! The Mothra theme returns, bringing a beautiful and calming track with each appearance. I need this OST, and I need it now!
Not only is the classic music preserved, but so are the sound effects! If you listen close, you can hear the old chirping of Ghidorah and his wings, the old Mothra cries, and yes: they bring back the classic Godzilla roar along with the Legendary version. In terms of audio, this movie is downright perfect!
Then there are the monsters themselves! Not only is the CGI on all of them absolutely incredible, but the camera work does a perfect job of selling their incredible size! We see how the monster fights look from a human perspective, which is makes the fights all the more thrilling!
The excellent cinematography doesn’t just go to monster fights. There are a ton of incredibly impressive and creative shots sprinkled all throughout the movie. My personal favorite being the shot of Ghidorah on the mountain with the cross in the foreground. The imagery is simple, but it is pretty effective! Plus, seeing my golden dragon boy towering like that is just so fucking cool!
What can I say? I’m a simple man.
Acting and Script: Mostly Good
This is where things get rough again.
Most of the actors in this movie do a fantastic job. The only one that bothers me is Kyle Chandler’s; he seems to have phoned in his performance, as if he didn’t care for the material. Which is kind of a problem, considering that he’s the main character!
The script isn’t as solid as most of the performances. The dialogue ranges from ‘bleh’ to downright terrible. Honestly, I can’t remember a single line that didn’t make me wish the characters would shut up.
Look, the story has proven to be a mediocre excuse for giant monsters fighting. Just get to that, okay?
In terms of spectacle, this movie is an absolute blast! But if you’re looking for a well-written and interesting story, this is not the movie for you.
If you are a Godzilla fan, absolutely go see this movie! If you don’t care about a mediocre plot and you want to watch awesome Kaiju fights, then go check it out! If you aren’t in for either, then give this one a pass.
But hey! Maybe things will be better next year! We get to see Kong fight for the throne!