Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong

For half a decade after defeating Ghidorah, Godzilla has lived a peaceful existence until he suddenly attacks an APEX facility in Pensacola, Florida. The incident prompts mankind to no longer consider the titan as a human ally, but Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) believes that the attack must have been provoked. She teams up with ex-APEX Cybernetics technician and conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to investigate what is hidden in the confines of the destroyed lab. Meanwhile, Monarch geologist Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) receives the support of APEX Cybernetics CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) to further delve into his Hollow Earth Theory. He wants them to lead King Kong, who now inhabits a domed habitat on Skull Island, to a Hollow Earth entry point so they can retrieve a new power source the world has never seen. Monarch anthropologist Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) is hesitant to help but is convinced by the potential of the discovery. En route to their destination, Godzilla emerges from the deep to challenge King Kong as the last remaining alpha on the planet.

I have not seen Kong: Skull Island, so I don’t really have a clue regarding King Kong’s history in this shared cinematic universe. I did, however, see Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which I enjoyed out of nostalgia. The opening credits provide a good summary of the previous films in the franchise to jog your memory or give you an idea as to what transpired three movies prior, if you haven’t seen some or all of them. Suffice it to say that Godzilla vs. Kong is some sort of a Hollywood cash grab to reconcile arguably two of the film world’s giant monster lores.

I know that King Kong exists, but I am not that familiar with his backstory. The only thing I associate with the giant gorilla is that scene where he takes a beautiful woman hostage atop the Empire State Building. Why he is so damn huge or what his glitch is, I really do not know. Nevertheless, he is indeed one of Hollywood’s undisputable leading giant monsters, and so I understand the appeal of marrying a western and eastern tradition by crafting a giant battle between monsters from both hemispheres.

On the contrary, Godzilla has been part and parcel of the roster of films every Asian kid growing up on this side of the planet has ever seen come out of Japan. Kaiju and giant robots are basically our childhood in the 80’s and the 90’s. Most of Godzilla’s recent Hollywood outings are just adaptations to introduce the monster to western audiences. If you want more, Toho has decades' worth of films waiting for you. We can conclude that Godzilla vs. Kong is Hollywood’s attempt to capitalize on the global box office by pitting two of its biggest monsters in one heck of an onscreen battle royal.

And then the pandemic hit. Even then, the worldwide earnings of this movie have so far exceeded expectations given the current situation. The director has left the door wide open for a sequel by going against the very notion of one alpha left standing that has characterized this movie universe so far. The question is, what else can they offer should the producers decide to give it another go? With only Godzilla and King Kong left and Mecha-Streisand now out of the way, is there anyone else left that these two can butt their heads with?

It would've been glorious had King Kong been present in that tag team fight between Godzilla/Mothra and Ghidora/Rodan, but that ship has sailed. Overall, what most people will appreciate about this film is the level up in CGI. You don’t have to see any of the precedents in the 80’s and 90’s to know how much of a visual treat this has been. As for the story, well, it’s a movie about giant monsters trying to kill each other. Hollow Earth theory aside, you don’t need much mental capacity to enjoy all this chaos. Just leave your brain at the door.

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