Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Image is property of Warner Bros and Legendary

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Film Review

Cast: 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

Directors: Michael Dougherty

Synopsis: Since the emergence of Godzilla, the monster organisation Monarch has uncovered several other titans hidden in locations around the world, and a battle ensues between man and titan for global supremacy…

Review: It was the major aspect of 2014’s Godzilla that left hardcore fans of the King of the Kaiju so disappointed. Namely that for a film called Godzilla, he was but a minor spectator for the most part. Though when he did atomically roar his way into the proceedings, it was marvellous movie Monster magic. Hence, for the third film in the MonsterVerse, after a trip to Skull Island, the King is back and there are quite a few new monsters who are challenging for his throne.

In the aftermath of the Godzilla VS MUTO battle that laid waste to San Francisco, humanity has found themselves recovering from the devastation and preparing themselves for the eventuality of Godzilla resurfacing. We see this primarily through the perspective of the Russell family, with Emma ( Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Brown), who’s torn between her mum and her father (Chandler). Simultaneously, the Monster organisation Monarch, has been working to discover the locations of other gargantuan monsters that are in hidden locations on the planet, posing the very real risk of these titans being unleashed upon our world.

Definitely not a fan of the man upstairs it would seem…

As entertaining as it would be to just watch two uninterrupted hours of Godzilla scrapping it out with other monsters, a core component of these monsters movies is the accompanying human element. The previous film had a compelling human element that started off brightly, but was ultimately horrendously squandered. Here there is potential to recapture that promise, but in spite of a staggeringly large collection of human characters, very few really stand out. Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison and the emotion that her family is dealing with shows the most intrigue, and the ever reliable Charles Dance delivers some compelling moments. Yet for the most part, all these characters are basically just exposition mouthpieces to move the story along.

Though admittedly they are the secondary characters, it would have helped enormously if the script could have given these actors more, and in some cases better material to work with. The script leaves an awful lot to be desired as there’s no development on the vast majority of them, and nearly all of the attempts to cracks some jokes rarely get the laughter muscles moving. The bigger problem though is that there are far too many characters all vying for screen time, and it really bogs down the over-arching story, which could definitely have done with some refining.

However, the big selling point of these films is the throw-downs between Godzilla and the other titans. Director Michael Dougherty ensures that anyone who was left frustrated by the lack of Godzilla will not be disappointed this time around. These scenes are what these films are really about, giant monster mayhem, and it’s all edge-of-your-seat stuff. The epic scraps especially between Godzilla and his fellow titans are edge-of-your seat entertainment.  The design and CGI for these monsters is fantastic, and King Ghidorah makes for an extremely compelling villain.

Yet, in spite of the three films that the MonsterVerse has provided us, it simply hasn’t quite managed to capture that perfect balance between crafting compelling human characters, and the enthralling movie monster carnage. Though it definitely has, for the most part, got the latter right so far. It’s clear from what we have seen that all of the elements of the perfect monster movie are there within their reach. With the fourth film set to stomp onto the big screen, one can hope they can perfect that formula and unleash the mother of monster movies that pleases man and titan alike.

The scraps between Godzilla and his fellow monsters are glorious, but the film is hampered by mostly bland human characters and a shaky script that prevent this monster melee from soaring to great heights. 

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Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Godzilla (2014)

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All image rights belong to Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros

Godzilla – Film Review 

Cast:  Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanbe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, David Straitharn, Juliete Binoche

Director: Gareth Edwards

Synopsis: A retelling of the story of the world’s most famous monster. As an accident at a Japanese power plant leads to the discovery that mankind has been hiding some rather large secrets that represent a huge threat to humanity.

Review: When looking at the various incarnations of huge monsters that are ingrained in popular culture, Godzilla is for many people, one of the biggest and best that has ever been brought to the big screen. Ever since the original 1954 creature stomped into existence, we have seen cities get destroyed by large monsters right throught cinematic history. Godzilla has gone through several incarnations since and with the disappointment of the 1998 version, director Gareth Edwards would have probably felt the pressure to deliver the Godzilla movie that the fans want to see.

In this respect, the director of Monsters has hit the mark as we have a new version of the iconic monster that seems like it is hoping to be a throwback to the 1954 film, and bring a very realistic take on the King of the Monsters. A version that should atone from the horrors of the 1998 incarnation of the legendary character.  At the same time, the focus of the film is largely on the humans. The focus is what would be the consequences if a giant monster rose out of the ocean and threatened our very existence. It is a battle to stop these monsters from destroying everything the human race has ever known.

As the film’s focus is on the human struggle, we have our lead characters Ford Brody (Taylor-Johnson)with his wife Elle (Olsen)   and Ford’s father Joe (Cranston). The latter of which is convinced that humanity is holding some gargantuan secrets. Although he is not in the film a lot, when he is on screen, the Breaking Bad star is on superb form. He is a scene stealer, in particular with one of the very first scenes in the film, his emotion really shines through. While, his son Ford was almost emotionless and stoic at times. While the Ford family look for the answers to their past. In another corner,  we have an alliance of scientists and military, led by Ken Watanbe and David Straitharn, working together in order to try and understand the rather large problem and the best way to deal with it. Overall the human cast, without doubt, a talented group of actors, do a great job in portraying the horrific problem that has arisen.

With the focus being on the humans, Godzilla does not have a large amount of screen time in the film, and in that respect, some may walk away disappointed. However when he is on the screen, it is fantastic to watch. Edwards and his team certainly intended to create their  version one that honoured the original. The battle scenes with Godzilla are enthralling to watch and on several occasions there is the iconic Godzilla roar. These titanic duels are going down and buildings are being reduced to rubble. This new incarnation of the legendary Toho monster, truly is something to behold. There are plenty of other enthralling action scenes to get the heart pumping. That being said, with some scenes, it is set to show a clash of monsters that we paid to see. Instead it montages through the action, which may leave the audience somewhat disappointed. It would not be unreasonable to see lots of scenes with Godzilla battling and seeing cities get torn apart, but these are rare in number.

Despite the lack of screen time that Godzilla has, Gareth Edwards made a solid film that does give the iconic character the film that it deserves. The camera work  and directing, are both excellent. Equally as epic, is the score by Alexandre Desplat. The visual look of Godzilla is also superb and while the fight scenes you really wanted to see are few and far between, it is a strong, realistic take on what would happen from the perspective of mankind, if monsters suddenly rose out of the ocean and began to destroy humanity.

While there’s not as much Godzilla screen time as you might expect, with strong human characters and some fantastic action scenes, there is enough in this take on the King of the Monsters that should leave viewers roaring with delight.

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