Saturday, June 1, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters


Crypto-zoological organization Monarch intensifies its search for Monster Zero, an ancient three-headed Titan more popularly known by the name King Ghidorah. Led by their leader Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), they intercept renegade paleo-biologist Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) in China, where the two successfully test a Titan awakening device called Orca on Mothra, yet another ancient Titan in the form of a gigantic larva. The organization thaws the three-headed monster in Antarctica which leads to the emancipation of other Titans all over the planet including dragon Rodan in Mexico. Their goal is to rid Earth of its greatest threat: Mankind. Threatened by the emergence of a new alpha, Godzilla resurfaces and faces off with his new rival for dominance, with Mothra now a giant moth by his side. King Ghidorah, on the other hand, teams up with Rodan. Caught in the battle of ultra-sized beasts out to dominate a planet that was once theirs, Emma’s ex-husband Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) must act quick to save not just his family, but also the whole world from the impending peril.

If you ever grew up on this side of the planet then you must have had your fair share of Japanese pop TV culture, anywhere from giant robots to Kaiju that constantly threaten our very existence. Hollywood eventually caught up via Power Rangers before eventually adapting Godzilla to Hollywood with mixed audience feedback. Now they are planning their own shared cinematic universe where these plus-sized monsters can interact and fight one another to the death. It’s supersized brainless fun!

Well at least that’s how it felt like in the 90’s. Any kid would have watched anything that involved massive destruction just to kill time during those technological caveman days of old. Nowadays, it’s hard to impress children, let alone steal their short attention spans from their mobile gadgets. Perhaps this is the reason why Godzilla: King of the Monsters has had some sort of lukewarm reception at the box office. Most of the audience showing up are doing so not because of interest, but rather out of nostalgia.

This is not to say that kids will not enjoy this film. It’s still your shock-and-awe summer popcorn flick after all. Appreciation from this demographic tends to be shallow, though, but at least they get to experience a CGI-heavy version of these narratives that could only be imagined back then. Remember when Godzilla looked like a stuntman in a Barney costume thrashing miniature houses and landscapes that were just not believable? Here, the graphics are superb. The keen attention to the smallest of details is plain awesome.

But then again, nothing is perfect. While wowing us with special effects, the movie falls short in terms of storyline and plot development. As expected, the post-credits scene further builds up the anticipation for the battle between Godzilla and King Kong, both of which have already had their own solo outings in Hollywood in the last few years. As such, you already know that Godzilla will not really die here. He still needs to be present in the ultimate crossover between him and Hollywood’s giant gorilla after all.

All in all, we can be forgiving, having grown up with these creatures anyway. If anything, we can still thank Hollywood for bringing these larger than life creatures to life, and convincingly so. It makes you marvel on the progress of film as a medium through the years. As for the storyline, well what can we really expect from such a genre, right? At the end of the day we are better off appreciating such attempt based on aesthetic value. In that regard, Godzilla: King of the Monsters reigns supreme indeed.

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