Dir: Adam Wingard
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler.
Finally – after years of waiting, we have this magnificent showdown. Just as importantly, we have a winner and the answer to the age old question – who would win?
Story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields. Terry wrote the original Shrek, and Zach wrote Godzilla, King of the Monsters – so we had two really good writers on board who are familiar with Godzilla and monsters, and it worked out great.
This movie stays true to the legends. Godzilla is who he is and Kong is who he is. Both of their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies are in full display here, so this is good. Usually in a movie you end up saying, “a Jedi can’t do that” or “have they even seen a Superman movie?”
Here the writers know their characters, and they play on them extremely well. Introduced in this movie is Hollow Earth – Kong’s new home – and it is exciting. A brave new world that mimics Skull Island but far more adventurous and gorgeous and this movie makes you fall in love with the place. I wish I had a Hollow Earth to go to once in a while. That place looks beautiful and exciting.
There was some crazy sci-fi stuff that doesn’t really need explaining, you just go with it, because it’s needed and it’s fun. Otherwise everything else pretty much plays out beautifully.
The visual effects here are great – and I think we are getting spoiled with how good they have become. We expect great visual effects and we always seem to get them, so that’s not really an awe factor anymore. Probably The Avengers caught us all up to speed and we now come to expect them and be comforted by them.
The awe inspiring thing in this movie – though the visuals are great – is the score and the sound design. Erik Aadahl is sound designer here, and his work is magnificent. Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) did the music and it too, is attention grabbing. Tom has done Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Batman v Superman, so he is used to these kind of movies. However in this film – it seems like director Adam Wingard told them to go completely over the top, and he did. The music and sound design shakes you in your seat and the larger than life visuals drop your jaw. It’s a great one-two combo punch that keeps you in your seat and eyes on the screen.
I won’t go too much into story here, because it is what the title says it is and little more. Of course mankind gets in the way of the mega battle and you have your good people helping and your rich people hurting the situation.
This film doesn’t stray too far from the big title match – the monsters meet a few times, so you do get plenty of fight for your buck. Which is good – I thought I’d get just the last 20 minutes of fighting – but the two title stars appear quite a bit and have plenty of screen time, which is really all we ever wanted.
Being the visual effects up to par, and a good score, my main takeaway from this is that the film did not shy away from its stars, nor from its main plot – there is plenty of Godzilla and plenty of Kong in this film, which makes me like it.
What is funny though is the trailer for the new horror movie “Spiral” from The Saw series – starring Chris Rock. Now Chris Rock was executive producer in this – so you know he wanted this pretty bad. “If i could only get into a horror film” he probably kept saying to himself. Well he is now – and he tries to play it straight but all I kept hearing was his jokes. He was talking just like he talks in his stand up specials and you can’t help but ask yourself – what’s the punchline?
I’m afraid Chris Rock is his own punchline in this career mis-step. People in the theater were laughing at him, when they were supposed to be taking him seriously. An occupational hazard perhaps – who knows. And yes, I did see this movie in the theater with other people sitting around me. You could say I risked my life for Godzilla. Lord knows he’s done the same for me throughout the decades. Just repaying the favor, big fella.
Thanks for joining me here every Thursday, at placetobenation. See ya next week. – paul bernardo