REVIEW: GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)

MZNJ_New_review

now playing

bars

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)

Sequel takes place five years after the events of Godzilla 2014 with Godzilla keeping a low profile and being monitored diligently by the Monarch organization. Other creatures, or “Titans” have been discovered across the globe and the military wants them all destroyed, while Monarch believes they represent a balance in nature. Eco-terrorist Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) feels the Titans should all be freed to restore that balance and plans to steal the Orca…a device capable of communicating with, and possibly controlling the monsters…to accomplish this. He kidnaps Orca creator Dr. Emma Russell (Verga Farmiga), her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and her invention and thus sends Monarch and Emma’s estranged husband Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) in hot pursuit. But Jonah gets more than he bargained for, when he uses it to release the three-headed space monster Ghidorah from his icy prison and the beast challenges Godzilla for the title of King of the Monsters. Add in the Queen of the Monsters Mothra and the fire demon Rodan and earth soon becomes a monster sized war zone.

Trick r Treat director Michael Dougherty takes over from Gareth Edwards and seems to have a far better grasp of the material. He also does script duties along with Zach Shields, from a story by they and Max Borenstein. What we get is far closer to a Toho Godzilla film than the 2014 flick and one that is a lot more fun. Sure the plot is a bit goofy, but no goofier than an alien race building a robot Godzilla or a creature created completely from pollution. It’s filled not only with tons of fun references to Godzilla flicks of the past, but we get all the traditional story elements like devious villains, stalwart scientists, brave military types and a smarter than the adults kid. Not only are all the tropes proudly paraded out for those familiar with the series, but it has some of the most spectacular monster battles ever presented, as Godzilla, Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra all converge to duke it out and destroy everything in their paths. The final showdown in the city of Boston is absolutely amazing and Yankee fans might even get a giggle over Godzilla and Ghidorah throwing down in the middle of Fenway Park. It’s also a true popcorn blockbuster, so even those not too familiar with the Big G and his 65 year history, can still enjoy the flick on a purely entertainment spectacle level and monstrously entertaining it is. Not to mention, the film’s final image is something every Godzilla fan has wanted to see from day one. On a technical level, the SPFX are amazing, the monsters are truly titanic and majestic and their destruction is on a totally massive scale. The score by Bear McCreary is far more fitting than Alexandre Desplat’s ho-hum score for Zilla 2014 and delightfully mixes in some of Akira Ifukube’s classic Godzilla themes to add a nice touch of nostalgia to the film.

The cast are good and all of them get the material. They play it seriously…but not too seriously. Leads Farminga, Chandler, Brown and Dance all do well in essaying their roles. Vera Farming as the scientist with a personal reason to get involved, is solid and helps us understand her decisions, even when they are the wrong ones. Chandler is fun as the father and husband trying to get his estranged family back. He’s a good lead and his old fashioned character fits this kind of movie well. Charles Dance is impeccable as ever as the villainous Alan Jonah, who like Thanos, thinks he is doing the right thing by trying to unleash these creatures. Millie Bobby Brown is especially endearing as Madison and in many ways is the emotional center of the flick. The supporting cast are all good, too, especially Ken Watanabe returning as Dr. Ishirō Serizawa and Zhang Ziyi playing Dr. Ilene Chen, a character who pays tribute to a familiar Mothra trope in a very fun and clever way. A good cast that even give some very corny dialogue a little dramatic weight.

Overall, this was a really fun and action packed sequel to a film widely criticized for skimping on the monster action. It has monster battles to spare, but still gives us some people time along with a very Toho-esque storyline. Michael Dougherty keeps the 132 minute flick moving very fast and pays loving tribute to the classic Godzilla flicks in some fun and very clever ways. Stay through the credits for not only an end credits scene, but for some amusing interwoven news items that echo what is to come. A gargantuan blast of a good time!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) King of the Monsters.

 

bars

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS GETS KAIJU CHARACTER POSTERS!

MZNJ_NEW_news

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS GETS KAIJU CHARACTER POSTERS!

**************************************************

**************************************************

A new trailer recently landed for the highly anticipated Godzilla sequel, now we get character posters for all the creatures featured! Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla : King of the Monsters arrives in theaters on May 21st, 2019!

**************************************************

source: Instagram

bars

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH-GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2012)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

gmk_poster1

bars

GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH-GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2001)

With continual talk of Legendary’s upcoming Godzilla reboot, I thought I’d take a look back at one of the more interesting entries in this decades long running series.

Normally I would not consider most of the Godzilla films horror, except for maybe the 1954 original…but even that seems more like science fiction. If any Godzilla film could be categorized as horror, this 2001 stand alone entry in the long running series definitely would. GMK portrays Godzilla not only as a radioactive monster, but a vengeful demon whose rage is driven by the angry spirits of all the dead killed in the Pacific during WW2. A creature who enjoys killing and does so often. At one point he actually appears to find and finally kill a young woman who survived one of it’s earlier attacks. With demonic white eyes and elongated fangs he is truly a soulless monster and we watch as he slaughters innocent civilians and his guardian monster foes, equally with no mercy. Even in the original classic from 1954 he was treated as a destructive force like a hurricane or earthquake, but director Shusuke Kaneko (director of the awesome Gamera series of the 90s) brings us a Godzilla who is pure evil, one of the most savage and vicious Godzillas ever.

The story presents a Japan that hasn’t seen Godzilla since 1954, but it’s body was never found and the island nation has been forever vigilant watching for signs of the creature’s return…and with the disappearance of a nuclear sub, that return may have come. As Japan braces for the worst, other monsters appear, too. Yuri, (Chiharu Niiyama) a reporter for a paranormal show, begins to investigate and finds that Godzilla’a return to terrorize Japan has been foreseen and the only hope is from three guardian monsters, Mothra, Baragon and King Ghidorah…the first time in the series that the three headed gold dragon is a good guy…who will rise to defend the land. Caught in the middle of Godzilla’s path of destruction and his inevitable showdown with the monster guardians, is not only Yuri, who tries to cover the nightmare unfolding, but her military father Taizo (Ryūdō Uzaki) who has to somehow stop the rampaging leviathan from flattening his beloved homeland.

Kaneko gives this Godzilla flick a more supernatural tone and a more mythic background. To simplify, Kaneko’s Godzilla is a demon evoked by mankind’s evils and his three opponents are monster deities come to save the Japanese people from the demonic force created from their own misdeeds. The SPFX in this entry are quite good with CGI used to enhance the FX sequences and not become them. Godzilla and his foes are still men in suits or animatronics, except for a few shots, one with a resurrected King Ghidorah being obvious CGI. The battle sequences are fast paced with the early-on battle between Godzilla and Baragon being especially intense and vicious. The much smaller Baragon tenaciously attacking the far larger and stronger Godzilla, like a gigantic reptilian pit bull, is one of the film’s best sequences. Sadly, that is one thing that I consider one of the film’s missteps. Godzilla is so much larger than his opponents, there seems to be no hope that they can win. True, he is the bad guy here and sure needs to appear unstoppable, but he comes across as a big bully and his opponents never seem to have much of a chance. We know from the start that if he is to be stopped, it will be by some other means. Still, the battles are spectacular and Kaneko’s visual style is striking here as always. A shot of Mothra attacking Godzilla while her wings are on fire is a perfect example of Kaneko’s command of his camera lens. The human characters are well acted and are likable and Kaneko’s Japan is a more down to earth Japan than we are used to seeing in Godzilla films. There are no laser cannons, or giant robots to come to Japan’s defense, just traditional military hardware and that makes it far more dramatic to see how little they have to work with when facing the radioactive fury that Godzilla unleashes on Japan. The film is further enhanced by a great electronic score by Gamera composer Kow Otani which moodily suits the story and visuals.

All in all, GMK is a unique stand alone entry in the Godzilla series that is very entertaining and gives a talented filmmaker a chance to give the classic character a fresh perspective. Not everything works. His opponents are a little too outmatched from the start, King Ghidorah is one of the worst incarnations of the character in terms of it’s design with it’s short necks and floppy wings and the Mothra marionette lacks the usual fur and thus looks a bit plastic. Otherwise the FX are top notch for this type of flick and we are given one of the most fierce incarnations of Godzilla since he first waded on shore in 1954.  Definitely one of the better of the Millennium series Godzilla films that ended in 2004 with the final Japanese entry, Godzilla Final Wars.

Rated 3 (out of 4) battling behemoths!

GMK_rating

**************************************************

bars