The monster movie is alive and well and takes a bite out of the Summer Blockbuster season as the latest installment in the Godzilla franchise proves it’s a heavy weight!
It’s apparent that Hollywood is taking baby steps to keep audiences engaged when it comes to its slate of summer movies. This is the time of year when all the studios steadily pursue their most viable franchises to perpetuate big-ticket sales, bring folks in from the maddening heat and fill air-conditioned multiplexes. With home theater system and the wide-screen 4K revolution becoming more and more common, it’s becoming difficult to keep pace with the comfort of one’s own living room. If you’re going to sub the couch for a concession stand, that movie better be big, and I mean really really big!
You can’t get much bigger than Godzilla! Since the classic Japanese movie monster’s reintroduction in the 2014 “reboot” that established the atomically charged giant lizard as a bonafide franchise cash cow. Warner Bros. immediately went to work to craft a cinematic universe that would also encompass another movie monster legend: King Kong. That was achieved with 2017s Kong: Skull Island which firmly puts the two creatures in the crosshairs of the scientific organization called Monarch. The group’s purpose is to protect the rising “Titans” and find a means in which to establish a balance between man and beast.
In Godzilla: King of the Monsters the arrival of the creatures, especially the coming of Godzilla is perceived as the means by which the planet seeks to replenish itself again the scourge of man who has devastated Earth’s resources through centuries of abuse, and war and overpopulation. Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) has developed a means to communicate with the monsters. When the device proves a success, first tested on a giant caterpillar-like creature, it draws the attention of an ecoterrorist group that are intent on releasing all the “Titans”, and one in particular — a three-headed dragon that’s been trapped in ice!
King of the Monsters
The team at Monarch become concerned when Emma along with her daughter Madison (Stranger Things Millie Bobby Brown) are abducted by the terrorist group. Their use of the device that speaks to the monsters has made them restless, particular Godzilla, and when they awaken Ghidorah, freeing the dragon from the ice — all hell breaks loose! Director Michael Dougherty has his work cut out for him, attempting to maintain a level amount of narrative amidst a canvas that is only interested in watching big monsters go at one another, all the while decimating major cities one after another.
As far as blockbusters go, this illustrates in spades what audiences have come to expect about the summer theatrical experience. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is loud, bombastic and visually spectacular. It’s exactly what the title suggests: a disaster movie of titanic proportions. Farmiga isn’t the only big star floating within the devastation. Kyle Chandler plays her husband and Bradley Whitford is another agent of Monarch. Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles from Godzilla confirming the context that this is a proper sequel and headed into “extended cinematic universe” territory.
Purest will appreciate how much the monsters resemble their original incarnations, but through the magic of CGI the technology has moved so quickly and steadily, that these behemoths are far more threatening than any of their previous big screens looks. Be warned that the film is loud — it won’t win any awards for sound design, especially because everything feels like it was EQ’d to shock and awe the audience to the core, and that may be the only way to indulge in a feature of these seismic proportions. The king has arrived and the summer movie blockbuster has just gone nuclear. Godzilla is leaving a mark and taking a bite out of the box office bank!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now playing in theaters, directed by Michael Dougherty and starring Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, and Millie Bobby Brown | Rated PG-13 | Warner Bros. Pictures