Thursday, April 1, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong

Directed by Adam Wingard.
2021, Rated PG-13, 113 minutes.
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Kaylee Hottle, Brian Tyree Henry, Julian Dennison, Eiza Gonzalez, Shun Oguri, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler.

     We descend upon Kong as he's waking from a good night's sleep. Shortly thereafter, we find out that Kong is under the watchful eye of Dr. Andrews (Hall) and the good-ish people at Monarch. Somehow, they've constructed a dome over Skull Island. They're trying to protect because they're worried Godzilla will come after him as the only other alpha among the titans. Just to let you know the threat is real, Godzilla shows up n Florida and wrecks some shit. We also meet some humans - a few quirky good guys, and some moustache twirling bad ones. Meanwhile, Kong has to be moved because of reasons. While he's being transported, sure enough, Godzilla shows up, and all hell breaks loose.

    No one goes into Godzilla vs. Kong expecting a dissertation on the human spirit. I want lots of fights between giant monsters. 2014's Godzilla purposely avoided them in favor of a boring story about people I didn't give a damn about. The same sort of people populate Godzilla: King of the Monsters. However, the powers that be upped the monster count exponentially and gave us plenty of battles between them. Unfortunately, they also decided to shoot most of it at night, with the titans, all darkly colored, off in the distance, and shroud them in fog and rain. I swear it looks every bit like they pulled a black sheet over the camera and dared you to make out what was happening. Kong: Skull Island got it right, and so does this movie. A number of fights take place in broad daylight with plenty of close-ups of the action. The ones that happen at night are well lit and well shot. The destruction of man-made structures by oversized combatants is an amazing sight to behold. This gives us a number of instantly iconic moments

    Like the first Godzilla flicks in this Monsterverse, Godzilla vs. Kong is overly concerned with human beings. The script does all sorts of backflips to keep them involved. Not much of it makes any sense. They're just half-baked contrivances to either get us to the next fight, or give the humans a reason to help out. It seems to want us to care about these people, but fails at that task. Millie Bobby Brown returns from King of the Monsters. However, she's too old to be cute enough for us to automatically be attached to. To counter that, we get Jia (Hottle), a little girl who is the last living native of Skull Island...and she's deaf. Yeah, not an obvious ploy for empathy at all. As for Brown, she has inherited a pair of plucky sidekicks with whom she trades monster theories and almost witty banter. Since they specialize in being in the wrong place, we have no use for them. The rest of the characters take turns getting us to actively root for their murder. What saves them is that, at every turn, they make a decision that will obviously set our two main attractions on a collision course. For that, I am grateful. 

    Lately, I've been known to pontificate for a few more paragraphs, but this isn't a film made for in-depth examination. Any review of it should focus squarely on how well it achieves its implicitly understood goal: provide escapism through mayhem caused by humongous beasts. If that means the humans in it have to be dumb as rocks despite allegedly being among Earth's best and brightest, fine by me. If it means literally digging so deep you wind up in China, no problem. I just want you to make those monster fights awesome, and that's what director Adan Wingard and friends accomplish. It never wants to be anything other than what it is: a big stupid action flick. At being that, it does an amazing job.


Click below for more Monsterverse reviews.

Godzilla (2014)

Kong: Skull Island (Rambling Film)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters


4 comments:

  1. Now this is a movie I would totally want to see mainly because of the idea of Godzilla vs. King Kong on a big screen. Yet, I'm stuck at home dealing with fucking pollen of all things and I'm less than 2 weeks from being vaccinated from this fucking pandemic.

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    1. Pollen sucks. I would love to have seen this on the big screen, but I'm not brave enough to venture out to theaters, yet. I watched it at home on HBO Max. My TV is probably too big for my small living room, so it worked out okay.

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  2. Well said, Dell! I do wish they could fine-tune the human story in these movies a bit but we're all here mainly for the monsters so as long as that part is done right, I'll be happy. Hoping to watch this myself over the weekend :)

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  3. I didn't expect good character development here but the sound mixing was bad on HBO Max that you could barely hear the dialog, maybe it was intentional? Ahahaha. "It never wants to be anything other than what it is: a big stupid action flick" Yep exactly, so I enjoyed it for what it is.

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