Friday, May 31, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Review

Hollywood produced Godzilla films are not exactly a solid bet for quality. Granted there have been only two prior attempts, but the less said about the 1998 version, the better, and the 2014 version, while praised in some regard, is still very divisive amongst audiences. It’s hard to have faith in American adaptations of the Japanese icon when it has never been rewarded, and still hasn’t been with Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species-thought to be mere myths-rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.

From a technical standpoint, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a perfect example of spectacle over anything else. The designs of the monsters are all magnificent, from the looming terror of Ghidorah to the sheer size of Godzilla, the filmmakers did not skimp on the scale of it all. Throw in some more excellent sound design, and at minimum, the film is a huge, overblown, blockbuster that would fit right at home in the era of 90’s disaster films.

However, while those films became crowd pleasers by utilizing human actors to bring some levity to the whole situation, Godzilla: King of the Monsters completely misses the mark on the human side. Now, to be fair, few come to a Godzilla movie for the human characters, but if a majority of the narrative involves them, they at least need to be interesting to watch.

Instead, we get Bradley Whitford delivering multiple lines of awful dialogue that are supposed to be funny (they aren’t) and a half-baked plot about some villainous humans wanting to rebalance the world.

And it isn’t as if the film is a complete miss, just a whole lot of missed potential. Like stated before, the film reeks of a 90’s disaster film that’s too afraid to be given that designation. Everything is either self-serious, or trying too hard to be funny, and the film never finds the right balance of cheesiness to actually work.

It’s a film with a giant lizard fighting a three headed dragon with the aid of a giant moth, it needs to be a little cheesy.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters may not be a good film, but the spectacle is undeniable. For those wanting to see gigantic monsters fight, then this film will provide, it just doesn’t really provide anything outside of that. There is very little to care about in a film that can’t decide if it wants to be an allegory for man’s destruction or a big, dumb action film, and the results are muddy at best. There are worse ways to spend a few hours at the theater, but don’t expect any semblance of storytelling amidst the chaos.

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