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Restoring faith in adaptations pt2: Godzilla: King of Monsters Cannoli Send a noteboard - 07/06/2019 02:37:03 AM

My brothers and I, when we were kids, watched every single Godzilla movie in our local video store. (video stores were like small versions of Blockbuster, until Blockbuster happened and destroyed them all {Blockbuster was like Netflix DVD, but in stores, rather than the internet, before Netflix destroyed them [Netflix DVD was the original incarnation of Netflix, but instead of streaming, they mailed you a hard copy of the media] } ) Our favorites were not Godzilla or Godzilla 1985, much less that turd for which Matthew Broderick was punished by being forced to have a wife who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker. We loved the movies where Godzilla fought Gigan or King Ghidorah or Mothra or Mecha-godzilla. That's why I loved the 2014 remake. No one cares about the people trying to avoid getting stepped on by Godzilla. We want to see Godzilla fight other giant monsters (I'm not going to call them "kaiju". If the Japanese want us to use their word, they should have completed their takeover of America in the 1980s like our politicians & pundits promised they would). The kid who liked Godzilla's victory dance after driving off Ghidorah, grew into an adult (technically) who loved watching Godzilla spit fire down the neck of the Muto he defeated.

And this movie is more of the same. Except the whole thing. They aren't playing coy with us, trying to be all "Stephen Spielberg not showing the shark until the end" like they did to the detriment of the last movie. The premise is that other monsters, called Titans, are coming up from hibernation and breaking free of the containment that Monarch had put around them, and they submit to an alpha monster, in this case, Godzilla, who is more or less live-and-let-live as far as people are concerned. But Ghidorah, sometimes known as King Ghidorah, is one of the monsters, now revived from his ancient slumber (to the annoyance of us fans of the original films featuring Ghidorah) and is contesting Godzilla for leadership of the monsters. Ken Wantabe and Sally Hawkins are back as the Monarch scientists who explain all of this to us, with David Straithairn as the admiral in charge of the military units tasked with Titan fighting, and that horrible millennial guy from the Verizon commercials as a sort of spokesman or PR man.

Actually, I've seen him in two genre movies now, and they were both pretty good. Unlike Hawkins, whom I cannot watch in a movie like this without recalling that she had sex with the Creature From the Black Lagoon, and suspect her interest in Godzilla is somehow more than scientific. Bradly Whitford is the snarky one of the Monarch group, because he's the only one who speaks fluent American. Aisha Hinds, the bald black lady, is a military officer. And the whole human component of the story works pretty well. They do the talking for monsters who can't, they try to come up with a technical means to contribute their mite to the scale, after, of course, first debating whether or not they should be stopping Godzilla. Except the other monster is always worse. This group, however, seems capable of learning.

Replacing the Maximov twins and their kid, are Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga as a divorced scientist couple, with a daughter, played by the girl from Stranger Things. Charles Dance is the closest thing to a human -sized villain and when they make an Honest Trailer for this, his name in the credits should be Thanos Lannister. Because that's his thing. Charles Dance's thing, on the other hand, is being nicer to little girls than you would expect his character to be.

And there are the monsters. Mostly it's Godzilla and Ghidorah, who has three heads, wings and two spiked tails and breathes fiery lightning. Or electrical fire. Mothra makes an appearance in both larval form, and later adult form, both spitting webs and Mothra given an energy power, sort of. Rodan is also in it, and he has a fire-lava thing going on, in addition to the destructive winds generated by his wings. They make several references to King Kong, but aside from some archive footage from Skull Island, he's not in it, nor are modern iterations of any of those characters. There are also a couple of background Titans, none of whom are immediately recognizable to me. I didn't see any sign of Gigan (hook hands and buzzsaw belly) or Anguirus (Bowser) or Megalon (drill hands & bug eyes).

Beyond monster-fighting action, the movie comes up with a viable premise for their existence and combat, stuff for the humans to do, and even manages to stave off the usual nit-picky after-the-fact dissections about the Real outcome of having giant monsters running around the planet.

There was plenty of monster fighting, and while a disproportionate amount of time was spent on the human stuff, it wasn't too much, their interactions were good, and the monsters were better. They even managed NOT to mess up Ghidorah's backstory, and instead, work him into their overall plot.

There's a post-credit scene that sets up a sequel, although during the credits, we get a scrap book sort of thing of peripheral and epilogue type material that has another blatantly obvious sequel hook. Either way, go see it, because this is one extended universe I don't want to see failing. Maybe Universal can fix their horror EU by making a prequel with Samuel Jackson (and Brie Larson if you really HAVE to). It's worked for all the good ones so far.

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Restoring faith in adaptations pt2: Godzilla: King of Monsters - 07/06/2019 02:37:03 AM 87 Views

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