The latest Godzilla, is a battle that can be skipped

Director: Michael Dougherty 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, and Zhang Ziyi

By Author  |  Published: 31st May 2019  8:35 pm
King of the Monsters

What started off as a prehistoric sea-monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation (remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?) is now a take on the Darwinian concept – survival of the fittest (luckily not the biggest).

Created by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishirō Honda and Eiji Tsubaraya the character has lived through countless and pointless movies, videogames, tele-series and novels. It was Japan’s answer to the nuclear challenge of the West. A creation to touch the conscience of those behind the bombings. It is weird that a series that began in 1954 with a low-budget Japanese quickie featuring a dude in a rubber suit still survives as primo kaiju escapism. Tragically, it is now a complete joke.

Estranged couple Dr Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and Dr Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) work for Monarch a company that has a history with environmental activists and is tasked with ‘maintaining the Titans’. Together, they develop Orca – a device that helps to communicate with the Titan creatures.

As luck would have it (and most films), Emma and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped by an environmental group to use Orca. While Mark believes humans and the Titan creatures cannot coexist thanks to havoc of Godzilla, Emma vouches for the contrary. Emma with the help of eco-terrorist Colonel Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) unleashes the Titans, including the three-headed King Ghidorah.

She claims that her actions would “level the global playing field”. Now, it is up to Godzilla to defeat the other Titans that leaves the very existence of humanity in a precarious position. The 2014 revamp had a lot of additions to the capability of the lead character – including spitting plasma pulse (a la dragons). It then was a monster movie for the kids in us. This outing is juvenile at best.

Director Michael Dougherty fails to light the fire in the cauldron. There are a few stray moments that make you sit at the edge of your seat. Tragically, every crest is followed by a trough. Legendary’s Monsterverse has Kong vs Godzilla planned for 2020. I fail to see the connection of this outing other than a brief reference. One plus point of the film is that you get to revisit various monsters of kaiju era. You not only have King Ghidorah, you get to witness battles of Godzilla against Rodan, the dragon crossed with a pterodactyl, who here gets updated into a kind of demon hawk. Not to mention Mothra, always the most bizarrely angelic of the kaiju creatures, that starts off as an angry larvae and then metamorphoses into a luminous moth of vengeance. The debate between the Senate and Monarch could have been the best scene of the film. It falls woefully short of required voltage. You don’t need grandeur to win a debate.

The King’s Speech has proven that. This is a star studded film with the likes of O’Shea Jackson Jr, Anthony Ramos, Zhang Zyi and David Strathairn. The names too have little to show as the script lacks substance. What does Godzilla do to rule the world is a question for the morrow. This battle can be skipped.

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