Thursday, March 21, 2024


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 15 of 2024 (No. 1959) by Leroy Douresseaux

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Running time: 132 minutes (2 hours, 12 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language
DIRECTOR:  Michael Dougherty
WRITERS:  Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields; from a story by Max Borenstein and Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields (based on characters owned by Toho Co., Ltd.)
PRODUCERS:  Jon Jashni, Alex Garcia, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, and Thomas Tull
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Lawrence Sher (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Bob Ducsay, Roger Barton, and Richard Pearson
COMPOSER:  Bear McCreary


Starring:  Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., David Strathairn, Anthony Ramos, Elizabeth Faith Ludlow, CCH Pounder, and Joe Morton

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a 2019 monster movie and action film directed by Michael Dougherty.  Produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, this film is the third entry in the “MonsterVerse” film series, which began with Godzilla (2014).  Godzilla: King of the Monsters pits the monster-monitoring agency, Monarch, against a legendary monster, and the only hope for the world is the missing Godzilla.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters opens five years after the events depicted in Godzilla (2014).  The world is now aware of the existence of giant monsters called “Titans.”  Monarch is the U.S. government agency that monitors and studies the Titans (which it once called “MUTOs” or “massive unidentified terrestrial organisms).  It has bases (bunkers) around the world where its scientists struggle to find a way in which humanity and the Titans can share the planet.

In a bunker located in the Rainforest of Xishuangbanna in China's Yunnan Province, Monarch scientist Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) has developed a device, called “ORCA,” that can emit frequencies that can attract Titans or alter their behavior.  However, her research has attracted the attention of Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), a former British military officer turned eco-terrorist, who wants control of ORCA.  He kidnaps Emma and her daughter, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown).

Monarch scientists, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), approach Emma's estranged husband and Madison's father, Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), to help track down Emma, Jonah, and ORCA.  However, Jonah has already forced Emma to use ORCA to awaken the legendary “Monster Zero,” the three-headed dragon known as King Ghidorah.  Now, Serizawa must convince the U.S. government and military that the only Titan capable of stopping Ghidorah is “Gojira,” a.k.a. “Godzilla.”  But where is Godzilla?  Also, where do newly awakened Titans, “Mothra” and “Rodan,” stand in this battle royale of monsters?

The “MonsterVerse” is an American multimedia franchise that includes movies; a streaming live-action television series (Apple TV+) and a streaming animated series (Netflix); books and comic books; and video games.  It is a shared fictional universe that includes the character, “Godzilla” and other characters owned and created by the Japanese entertainment company, Toho Co., Ltd.  The MonsterVerse is a reboot of Toho's Godzilla franchise.  It is also a reboot of the King Kong franchise, which is based on the character, “King Kong,” that was created by actor and filmmaker, Merian C. Cooper (1893-1973).

The fifth film in the MonsterVerse series, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, is due to be released sometime in March 2023, so I have decided to watch and review the previous four films:  Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters (which is the subject of this review), and Godzilla vs. Kong (2021).

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the ultimate giant monster smack-down.  With the wizardry of digital VFX and supernatural CGI, King of the Monsters is a monster mash infused with visual splendor.  This movie is non-stop action, practically from the start.  It is so much an action movie that if you could cut it, King of the Monsters would bleed fire and brimstone.  To add the craziness, each new monster reveal is mind-blowing and even mind-bending...

...but after about 75 minutes, Godzilla: King of the Monsters wore me down.  The writers and actors have fashioned a cast that has almost twenty characters with dramatic potential.  The Russell family subplot about the loss the son, Andrew, is only used to sell dysfunctional family contrivances, which is a shame.  The monster movie theatrics get bigger and bigger with each minute of this story, but the drama and story shrink with each minute until they are flimsy like wet toilet paper.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is as exciting as any other blockbuster.  Few, if any, monster movies will ever be as epic as it is when it comes to big monster fights.  Few monster movies will ever be as gorgeous as it is in terms of cinematography, special effects, production values, and visuals.  This is “cinema of sensations” writ large and out of control, and that's a shame.  Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a monster of a movie, but I wish its human element was just as awesome.

[This film has one scene after the end credits.]

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Thursday, March 21, 2024

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