Godzilla vs Kong
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: (story by) Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields; (screenplay by) Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein
Featuring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Kaylee Hottle, Brian Tyree Henry, Eiza González, Shun Oguri, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler.
Godzilla is attacking seaports again. The military might of the world are preparing for another battle and decide the answer must King Kong who lives in a virtual Kong Island under observation. An ancient rivalry older that civilisation is about to erupt once more as Godzilla and the mighty ape King Kong head for battle whether it is on sea or land. Unbeknown to them, and most of the human’s involved, there is third, as deadly, as mighty, force looking to take the Titans on and perhaps control the fate of planet earth.
Set after the conclusion of the last film, when Godzilla battered the living daylights out of Ghidorah we have another King Kong, Godzilla blockbuster. The whole point of this film, regardless of plot, or actors, is to see these two CGI behemoths pummelling the tar out of each other. So, for all intents and purposes this film completely fulfils its purpose. Godzilla and Kong do batter, punch, kick, fire breath and ram things into each other’s heads all over the place, out at sea, and Hong Kong, which they flatten with some aplomb, in garish, confusing mishmash of roaring, punching, kicking and deafening roaring action.
The actors do not far so well. The story is a bare sketch the sole purpose to get the monsters to fight. For a film, that I guess must really be trying to appeal to younger children at the most the child actors are at the forefront the human action. They do not beat the monsters on screen, but they do beat the adult actors into the background. With preposterous silliness to play with the three main youngsters acquit themselves very well. Millie Bobby Brown is already an established and fine actor so we know that any scenes are going to be fun and believable, equally Julian Dennison since his breakout role in Hunt for the Wilderpeople carries the role of comedy sidekick skilfully and with the ease that some much older and more experienced actors could learn from. Entirely deaf Kaylee Hottle is the newbie and is quite enchanting. The children are the resourceful heroes of the day and should at least get their contemporaries in the audience whooping with joy as unbelievable as their shenanigans are.
This leaves us with the adults, good actors too, but they are very much trailing behind 300-foot monsters, super-kids, explosions and collapsing buildings. Lumbered with not much characterisation, nails on blackboard dialogue they do their best and leap and jump and look concerned through the running time.
The CGI and effects are good, you can see where the money has been spent although it is for me, once again, noise and light salad, much less than the sum of its parts.
All in all, as a monsters fighting film this is good. Anything else and the weaknesses show. I know that Godzilla vs Kong has many fans old and young alike but purely from my point of view once again we are taking a trip to the continent of Non-Plussed-Land. As my grand daughter said after Skull Island why did they CGI Kong to look like a man in a suit and here we are clearly following the original series and not King Kong, either 1930s or Peter Jackson variants. I just prefer my giant apes not 300 feet tall and to resemble a real ape but that is just me.
Some points to note.
1. Kong was constantly called a monkey throughout the film. Is this a deliberate wind-up by the filmmakers, if it is, not funny, if not that’s probably worse, ignorance.
2. The exceptionally beautiful Eiza González gets killed again, the last film I saw her in was Baby Driver.
3. Over the course of these three films in this monster universe how many people are killed? Honestly it must be millions and the cost or rebuilding would bankrupt the world.
I know it is a silly monster film, I know we are not supposed to take it seriously, but these are the things that just get into under my skin and stay there. I think about them when I am watching the film.
If you like monsters lathering the bejesuses out of each other this is the film for you, if you like some sort of logical storyline to go with this battle, maybe not so much.