Well, this is an interesting franchise that’s been started. Godzilla from 2014 was a very bad movie, however Kong: Skull Island was a cinematic highlight for me, so now we have the sequel to Godzilla that will lead to the two iconic monsters clashing. It does away with Gareth Edwards and brings in Michael Dougherty, how does all this fair?
Our entrance into this movie is a young girl named Maddison (Millie Bobby Brown), whose mother Emma (Vera Farmiga) is a scientist that is studying an enormous larva, suddenly renegade soldiers burst into their facility to awaken or steal the larva, it hatches and Maddison and Emma are taken. Cutting then to Maddison’s father Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) who’s also a scientist (that’s convenient!) is brought in by Monarch, the high-tech organization that specializes in dealing with these giant monsters or kaiju.
Of course, it isn’t long before the main player shows up, Godzilla himself. When you are dealing with one of the most iconic pop culture figures, a cultural landmark and who is essentially a force of nature within your movie you’d better do them justice. He isn’t redesigned from the 2014 version though he has apparently grown a few extra feet making him a nice even four hundred feet high. He has a simple silhouette that makes him instantly distinguishable and when we get close we can see loads of little details that I’m sure the C.G.I. team worked very hard on. He is mostly filmed from low angles and moves very slow adding gravity to him. This is an honorable and appropriate presentation of him.
Along with Godzilla, we are also treated with a few other classic monsters from the lore. We have Mothra who is (as the name would imply) a large moth-like creature who’s always been humanity’s defender, Rodan a giant pterodactyl essentially, and finally, there is Ghidorah Godzillas most popular and staple arch-nemesis, a dragon with three heads and able to breathe lightning.
The focus of this movie is in the right place. We are here for the monsters, they are what are on the poster and who the movie is named after. Really we need the humans to inject some, well humanity and to string along the fights and their actions, maybe even give the good ones a helping hand or a point in the right direction. focus on the monsters, with humans along for the ride.
There are some choices that are made, which I always fail to understand that for you to take a movies subject matter seriously, you need to have predominantly dark colors with a bleaker image throughout. I do understand that an element of Kaiju movies are about dealing with a natural disaster but even then you have a giant lizard that shoots out fire, it is only so serious you can take that before the filmmakers look like the silly one for trying to convince us this is serious. This movie much more earnestly embraces it’s fantastical and overblown concept and gives us vivid colors for each of the main kaiju, Godzilla is blue, Ghidora is yellow and Rhodan is red. This works to make the image onscreen vibrant but also when the monsters clash so do the colors and so you can much more easily register who is who.
Again in the last movie they adopted a documentary feel to the camera work, this isn’t a found footage movie so why they decided to frame these two giant monsters biting and clawing each other in such a low-grade way still strikes me as a poor choice. This movie goes in the opposite direction again, deciding to be very Hollywood with their depictions, they frame the monsters with epic majesty. Low angles and well-composed.
If you are to see this movie see it on the big screen. Every movie should be seen on the big screen, there isn’t a movie that benefits from a smaller screen less sharp and reduced sound, but this is a special case. This movie is about big images and sounds, in order for you to absorb the scale of these mighty creatures and hear all the music and sound effects the movie theater is the place to see it. I would hope that’s where you are seeing most of your movies but if not then do and if you plan to see this one, make sure it’s on the biggest screen you can find.
Another nice touch is that they use the classic monster theme’s from the original series of movies. Now if you watched the movie and were unfamiliar with the classic series then it wouldn’t mean anything to you, that’s ok. But fans always like to be rewarded and recognized in some way and this is a way of doing it. Plus they are just good, distinctive tracks so why not utilize them?
This is not a deep movie. I can’t really tell you what this is about below its surface. Plus there are plot elements that either don’t make any sense or are just left dangling in the wind by the time the movies over. But it is entertaining and it took every bad creative decision from the previous movie, turned left and now we have a much more enjoyable, easier to see movie.
So what we have is a movie that’s the third part of this cinematic franchise and doesn’t require you to see the previous two, these movies are generous with not being heavily continuity focused. It is a great improvement over Godzilla though it lacks the panache and memorabilia of Kong. Though in terms of paying respect and doing justice to these monsters it does indeed do its job. you won’t need to see the previous two movies in this franchise, nor any other Kaiju movie and it could indeed turn you into a fan.