Thursday, May 30, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a big dumb action movie, dumb being the operative word. The full title may as well be Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Humans: Dumbest Fucks on the Planet. Even for a horror movie, the motivations and decision making of every single human character, from child to soldier to politician, are stuptifying. Seriously, you begin to wonder how people this dumb don't drown in the shower or walk directly into traffic. (And some of them are supposed to be scientists?!) In a series that continues to place a large amount of focus on the human storylines adjacent to the creatures, Godzilla: King of the Monsters makes you wonder if the human race is even worth saving.

The movie is also filled with innumerable plotholes, continuity problems, a misunderstanding of distances across the globe and the time to navigate them, timeline problems, and plenty of insane choices from every character presented on screen. The monsters, however, are pretty cool. It's just a shame that the movie only really works when two or more are battling on-screen (which, sadly, takes place during far less of the film's running time than it should).

Set five years after Godzilla, the sequel features writer/director Michael Dougherty throwing in everything but the kitchen sink (with the notable exception of King Kong who is being saved for the next movie). In that time Monarch has discovered multiple "titans" such as Godzilla and built "super-secret" (i.e. incredibly large facilities easily found by satellite) housing the slumbering creatures that apparently the United States Government is incapable of locating. Of all the various Godzilla-related creatures the three-headed Ghidorah is the one most likely to be helped by current CGI. And he looks terrific; the Godzilla villain proves to be one of the best things about the film. Mothra and Rodan also get screentime while other monsters are given simple cameos.

The action kicks off when Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) and his mercenary team infiltrate a Monarch base (see, they aren't that hard to find), kidnapping a scientist (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter (Millie Bobby Brown) along with a new invention that allows humans to connect to the titans using radio waves that can calm or agitate them. Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) recruits the kidnapped scientist's estranged husband (Kyle Chandler) to locate the device as Jonah's men begin to awaken titans around the globe (apparently for the "good" of the planet - yeah, that will end well).

As the monsters get released, Godzilla returns to fight them (only to be stymied by soldiers who unintentionally, or sometimes intentionally, hinder the efforts of the one friendly-ish kaiju from killing the others wrecking the Earth). Throw in plenty of politics, family drama, and our lead human protagonist learning the kind of valuable lesson which can only be found in movies like this just when the world tumbles into chaos, and you are left with a 131 minute mess which is highlighted by the monsters themselves (but little else). For fans seeking out the film, I'd suggest choosing one that serves alcohol. A couple (or twelve) drinks may make the story easier to take. That said, the fan in me is still intrigued by possibilities of next summer's Godzilla vs. Kong.

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