To say I was looking forward to this film from the day it was announced would be a grave understatement. I’ve been waiting since about the age of 7 or 8 for this film, really. I mean, the old school Godzilla movies are great for kids, but as I got older, the Hesei Godzilla films of the 1990’s got even better. And the Millenium Godzilla films better still.
But I still wanted a Godzilla movie that had some money behind it. I wanted to see more realistic effects. The 1998 Godzilla film was downright awful. they got a couple things right – I was excited to see it and when Godzilla trashed the ship early on, and when he came ashore – that was cool at the time. But such a disappointment ultimately. And then Gareth Edwards 2014 Godzilla film – THAT was going to be exciting! AMAZING, even! And then Godzilla was hardly in it. Sure, it was Godzilla the way he was meant to look and be used. But the creative choice of how it was shot just didn’t jive with the way a Godzilla film should be: MORE GODZILLA.
And here we are with Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And I think director Michael Dougherty got it right. All of the things that the 2014 Godzilla film got wrong are done right here. MORE Godzilla, MORE monsters. MORE grappling beasts. Yay!
Gareth Edwards Godzilla in 2014 was shot the way he shot his first film, Monsters. It was a human drama with monsters in various scenes. There was less of them which made those scenes more impactful. But you can’t shoot a Godzilla film that way because GODZILLA IS THE STAR OF THE FILM. You HAVE to give him the screen time he deserves. I get what they were trying to do, but that creative choice was not right for Godzilla. SO, Michael Dougherty went directly to the source material – the Toho films.
I mean, come on, Toho has 65 years of source material to cull. Why not use it? Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters is structured exactly like any number of Japanese Godzilla films. And the script, by Dougherty, Zach Shields, and Max Borenstein, hits every wonderful, familiar beat. They load this script with all of the things that have been in the Toho films, which I won’t spoil for you here. But if you’re a Godzilla fan, you’ll recognize much of what you see and you’ll be delighted.
And as promised, not only do we get Godzilla, but also Mothra, Rodan, and the mighty King Ghidorah. And the battles are exciting and action-packed. AND there are more of them than in the 2014 Godzilla. There is generally MORE monster action here, thankfully. But honestly, there is no such thing as a kaiju film with too much monster action. I can always use more!
I’ve seen critics out there that are saying this film has lots of monster action and not enough human character development. I disagree. There is a solid cast here- particularly an amazing Millie Bobby Brown – and they get all the attention they need. Kyle Chandler is great, as is Ken Watanabe, and Bradley Whitford adds some occasional funny lines for levity. If you are a kaiju fan, and love the Toho Godzilla movies, you will love this. It’s everything those movies are – but with superior effects.
One of the great things about the CG here, all of the monsters have weight. Godzilla is on screen enough now that you can sense his mass. And Ghidorah’s three heads, his long necks, feel like a massive den of snakes. He is truly terrifying. Mothra here gets a kick ass update, and I can assure you, Rodan has never been cooler.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the American Godzilla movie we hoped we would get with the 2014 Godzilla film and didn’t quite get. I’ll be seeing this again for sure. And I saw this in 2D IMAX – and it was SO worth it!
And one should make note of the musical score by Bear McCreary. it’s amazing – he even uses a couple of the original themes written by composer Akira Ifukube, who composed the music for the original Gojira (1954). It is SO awesome.
Ok, so I don’t sound TOO biased as a Godzilla fan, I will say that there were a few little things that I had problems with, but they were not big things. Such as , in the trailer they say there are 17 monsters. Ok, maybe, but you won’t see all of them. AND, director Michael Dougherty had said that there were going to be a few monsters that were completely new, never seen before. This is true, but one of them was rather vexing.
Again, small things, not affecting my enjoyment of the film. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a win for me. A big four kittenhand win. See this on the BIG screen- IMAX even – it’s worth every penny.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, thinking the summer is all downhill in the theaters after this. Well, I DID see the latest Hobbs and Shaw trailer and it looks awesome.