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Film Review: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a Visual Feast, as Long as You Don’t Think About It

(photo: AgWoolridge / Wikimedia )

This is an installment of a regular thisistheBronX film/TV review series by Bronx film reviewer and writer Adam McPartlan. Check back every Friday for Adam’s film reviews.

FILM REVIEW – by Adam McPartlan

June 14, 2019

Gozilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to 2014’s reboot of the monster series, delivers what many fans of the franchise felt Godzilla lacked: monster fights. In an effort to recapture the spirit of the iconic movies, those in charge revived some of the greatest monsters from the original franchise: Rodin, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. But even with all of these old-time references, is this movie worth watching?

The movie opens in 2014 after Godzilla rampaged across San Francisco, with a family looking for their son in the rubble. Five years later, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) is working with the corporation Monarch to keep the other monsters, known as Titans, induced in hibernation. Still, their efforts do not stop Mothra from hatching into a caterpillar, but Russell’s invention allows her to communicate with Mothra and stop her from killing everyone. After Mothra is calmed, an eco-terrorist group attacks the base in an attempt to release the titan so it can reclaim its spot at the top of the food chain, and kidnaps Russell and her daughter (Millie Bobby Brown). The terrorists then release King Ghidorah in Antarctica, causing Godzilla to appear and fight the three-headed dragon for supremacy over the other titans.

If you’re going to watch any Godzilla movie that isn’t the 2014 version, you are not going to be greeted with great writing, developed (human) characters, or any kind of (human) drama. If you are looking for that in this film, it’s like trying to star-gaze in Times Square: you’re going to the wrong place and you should give up. Do not try to make any kind of sense of the writing; that will cause you more pain than some of the lines these actors are forced to deliver. What hurt me the most, though, was watching Coach Eric Taylor and Joshua Lyman try their hardest to make the script work in their favor, only to fail miserably. Out of the entire cast, only Brown’s acting was worth listening to.

If you want to enjoy the movie, here’s how. Check your brain at the door, try not to listen to anything (except the music and sound effects), and enjoy the view. The fight sequences that made the franchise worth anything to begin with return to their former glory, and far surpass anything seen in the franchise previously. If anything lacks in the visuals department, Godzilla looks somewhat underwhelming in comparison to the other primary monsters. Aside from when his spine lit up and he used his atomic breath (and his thermonuclear moment at the end), the appearance of Godzilla is far from intimidating. That said, Godzilla’s roar is pitch perfect, and even serves to scare the audience at one point. On the other hand, King Ghidorah is given quite a few menacing moments throughout the movie. One in particular during his fights (yes, plural) with Godzilla, came when he bit a transformer in an effort to power-up, and electricity shot off his wings in every direction.

If this movie gets an Oscar nomination or win in the visual effects department, though, it will be because of the appearance of Mothra, Queen of the Monsters. When she hatches from her chrysalis and takes flight, it is truly an awe-inspiring shot that the commercials do not do justice. Later, she appears almost ethereal when she comes to the aid of Godzilla. She also joins the fight, the only monster other than Godzilla unaffected by Ghidorah’s “alpha call,” taking on Rodin. SPOILER ALERT She is also given a beautiful death in which she sacrifices herself for Godzilla, and uses her life force to revive and power-up Godzilla enough to literally melt the dragon into oblivion. END SPOILER

The writing and acting is nothing but a cringe-fest, and it honestly took a lot of effort to check-out mentally. But when you focus your eyes and unfocus your brain, you’re given a real treat of a movie. As far as I’m concerned, the visuals, sound effects, music, and especially Mothra and King Ghidorah were the best parts of the movie, and well worth the price of admission.

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Adam McPartlan is a graduate student in the Sports Broadcasting Program at Sacred Heart University. He’s a life-long Bronxite with a deep love of film, television, and writing.

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