Film Review – GODZILLA VS. KONG (2021)

GODZILLA VS. KONG (2021, USA/Australia/Canada/India, 113m, 12) **½
Action, Sci-Fi
dist. Warner Bros.; pr co. Legendary Entertainment / Warner Bros.; d. Adam Wingard; w. Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein (based on a story by Terry Rossio and Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields); pr. Jon Jashni, Eric McLeod, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull, Alex Garcia, Mary Parent; ph. Ben Seresin (Colour | 2.39:1); m. Junkie XL; ed. Josh Schaeffer; pd. Tom Hammock, Owen Paterson; ad. Richard Hobbs, Dawn Swiderski.
cast: Alexander Skarsgård (Nathan Lind), Millie Bobby Brown (Madison Russell), Rebecca Hall (Ilene Andrews), Brian Tyree Henry (Bernie Hayes), Shun Oguri (Ren Serizawa), Eiza González (Maya Simmons), Julian Dennison (Josh Valentine), Lance Reddick (Guillermin), Kyle Chandler (Mark Russell), Demián Bichir (Walter Simmons), Kaylee Hottle (Jia), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Admiral Wilcox), Ronny Chieng (Jay Wayne), John Pirruccello (Horace), Chris Chalk (Ben), Conlan Casal (Apex Cybernetics Security Guard), Brad McMurray (Apex Cybernetics Security Guard), Benjamin Rigby (Sonar Operator), Nick Turello (Apex Cybernetics Armed Guard), Daniel Nelson (Hayworth).
This giant monster movie mash-up pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong as a group of scientists explore a Hollow Earth theory that may account for the monsters’ existence. The film is a visual and sonic assault on the senses – so much so we become anaesthetised and dulled by the constant action. The technical attributes are admittedly very impressive, and the CGI is top draw. But what little attempts at humanity exist does so in characters that are cardboard and must deliver comic-strip dialogue. Story logic has been left at the door and the viewer is merely left to marvel at the visuals with little else to grab hold of.

Film Review – GODZILLA (2014)

GODZILLA (2014, Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures, USA/Japan, 123 mins, Colour, 2.35:1, Dolby Atmos/SDDS/Datasat, Cert: 12, Sci-Fi Action Thriller) ∗∗∗∗∗
      Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ishiro Serizawa), Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Carson Bolde (Sam Brody), Sally Hawkins (Vivienne Graham), Juliette Binoche (Sandra Brody), David Strathairn (Admiral William Stenz), Richard T. Jones (Captain Russell Hampton), Victor Rasuk (Sergeant Tre Morales), Patrick Sabongui (Lieutenant Commander Marcus Waltz), CJ Adams (Young Ford).
      Producer: Bob Ducsay, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull; Director: Gareth Edwards; Writer: Max Borenstein (Based on a story by Dave Callaham); Director of Photography: Seamus McGarvey; Music: Alexandre Desplat; Film Editor: Bob Ducsay; Production Designer: Owen Paterson; Art Director: Grant Van Der Slagt; Set Decorator: Elizabeth Wilcox; Costume Designer: Sharen Davis.

Godzilla_2014_Blu-ray_DVD_Digital_Download_Ultra_VioletUnlike Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version this is a straight remake of the 1954 Japanese monster movie classic. Here, the world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

The set-up is well paced and promises a much more serious take on the subject. Cranston makes an effective misunderstood professor carrying an earnestness in his performance reminiscent of Harrison Ford. It’s a shame he disappears from the action too early as his character is presented as the focal point of the plot early on. Instead it is Taylor-Johnson, as his soldier son trying to re-unite with his family, who takes centre stage and the film veers into more typical destruction and mayhem. Godzilla is kept off screen for much of the film but some action in Hawaii and then the extended finale in San Francisco, where the creature battles the parasites, provide a showcase for the visual effects team.

Action fans will lap up the second half of the movie, whilst those looking for more intelligent film-making will feel slightly disappointed the production team wastes its promising opening by giving over the second half of the movie to technicians.