GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)
Starring Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Joe Morton, CCH Pounder, Anthony Ramos, Elizabeth Ludlow, Jonathan Howard, Randall P. Havens, Lyle Brocato and Jimmy Gonzales.
Screenplay by Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields.
Directed by Michael Dougherty.
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. 132 minutes. Rated R.
Technically, the Godzilla series has come a long way since the days when you had guys in monster suits stomping over a tiny model of Tokyo. The computer-generated special effects of Godzilla: King of the Monsters are pretty incredible. (There was only one scene where it was obvious that they were destroying a model rather than real buildings.)
So why is it that the movies were a lot more fun with the campy guys trudging around in the costumes stepping on mini buildings?
Probably because, no matter how many times they bring Godzilla back (and they have over and over and over and over in the last six decades) these giant monsters are old, campy ideas. You try to play it somewhat straight, as if this is real end-of-the-world life-or-death situations, it just seems sort of silly.
While occasionally Godzilla: King of the Monsters seems to have its tongue in its humongous cheek, for the most part it seems to be taking itself rather seriously – which is death for a giant monster movie. Godzilla and his monster brethren – Mothra, Rodan, Ghidora (and a few others that pop up) – lay waste to several strangely barely-populated cities, including Boston and San Francisco.
In the meantime, two groups of scientists – one good and one evil – run around the world and watch the creatures with awe as they try unsuccessfully to stop the rampant monster-on-monster violence.
Of course, two of those scientists (Kyle Gardner and Vera Farmiga) are a broken up married couple – an earlier Godzilla attack killed their young son. Now, their teenaged daughter (Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things) spends the movie trying to get her parents back together, helping them to communicate with the monsters (how did a 15-year-old get security clearance?), and putting herself into dangerous situations that she has to be saved from before the monsters take her out for good.
I suppose there is more of a story here somewhere, but honestly Godzilla: King of the Monsters is mostly two hours and 15 minutes of monster death matches. Which let’s face it, it probably what someone going to see a movie called Godzilla: King of the Monsters is looking for.
Too bad it gets kind of dull after a while. There are only so many exploding buildings and breath lasers and monsters walking through high-rise buildings that one can sit through before it all starts looking the same.
It doesn’t help that the dialogue is unintentionally funny more often than it is comic by design. Bradley Whitford and O’Shea Jackson Jr. give it their all to be the comic relief – sometimes successfully, but more often they are hamstrung by the cheesy script. Thomas Middleditch, who was undoubtedly brought in to bring a lighter pulse to the action, just looks lost in this chaotic mess.
However, I did learn one surprising thing from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Apparently, giant monsters know how to bow. Who knew?
Also, big props for the person who decided to put a cover of Blue Öyster Cült’s bombastic hard rock anthem “Godzilla” over the end credits.
Look, you know what you’re getting when you walk into Godzilla: King of the Monsters. If you enjoy films like this, chances are good that you’ll buy into this one as well. It looks amazing, the action is pretty wall to wall, and the story doesn’t slow down long enough for you to ponder the inconsistencies of the plot.
Laying it out there – if you like Godzilla movies, you’ll probably like this one, even though it is more serious than most. Sometimes all you are looking for in a movie is wall to wall destruction. If you ever wondered what it would look like if Michael Bay made a Godzilla movie, this is probably as close as you are going to get.
If you’re looking for something with a little more substance, chances are you wouldn’t be at Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 31, 2019.