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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how it is.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  This time out, I'm doing Godzilla: King of the Monsters.  This is originally in my notes at September 7, 2019.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is pure giant monster porn.  As one of my favourite movie web series recently pointed out, "If you thought the first film was skimpy on the giant monster action, then watch as the sequel wildly overcompensates!"  But, my usual complaint remains:  I understand that having the giant monster fights at night in the rain helps to keep the computer animation cheaper and easier...but just once, couldn't they fight in the broad daylight so we can see what's going on? 

It's been five years since Godzilla defended San Fransisco from the giant monster called a Muto.  Now that the giant monsters -- dubbed Titans -- are on the world stage and public knowledge, the debate is on as to what to do with them, and whose jurisdiction they fall under.  Should they fall under the jurisdiction of Monarch, the shadowy organization that's studied them for years, or the military, with orders to exterminate them with extreme prejudice? 

Caught in the middle, we have the Russel family.  They lost their young son in Godzilla's battle in San Fransisco.  Husband and father Mark walked away from Monarch, choosing to study wolves in the Pacific Northwest.  Mother Emma stayed with Monarch, and their daughter Madison stayed with her.  Emma has been working to finish her and Mark's project...a device called the Orca, which would allow communication, and maybe even control, over the Titans. 

Emma seems to have perfected the Orca, and successfully uses it to subdue another Titan that has awakened...a giant moth that ancient legends call Mothra.  But their success is short-lived, as a group of Eco-terroists invade the Monarch facility, kidnapping Emma and Madison, and taking the Orca.  Monarch has no choice but to call Mark back in to help track them down. 

And thus the chase is on, as first stop is a Monarch facility in Antarctica, monitoring a dormant Titan they've dubbed Monster Zero...later revealed to be Ghidora.  The eco-terrorists successfully awaken Ghidora, leading to our first brawl with Godzilla.  And here's where we get our big plot twist.  Turns out Emma...is actually in league with the eco-terrorists, and has come to believe in their philosophy.  They believe that the Titans can be used to restore the natural balance, much like how fires are used to rejuvenate forests.  And unleashing Ghidora is like...a controlled burn. 

But it turns out Ghidora can't be controlled, and being an alpha, soon begins rallying the other Titans around him, beginning with the pterodactyl Rodan.  And more giant monster fights before it all ends in a battle royale between Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidora that levels most of Boston. 

You come to these movies to see the giant monsters fight, and that's exactly what you get.  It is fun to watch these giant monsters just go to town.  Sadly, the big four are the only ones that Toho let the American filmmakers use, so they fill out the ranks with some new giant monsters.  There's one that looks like a cross between a woolly mammoth and a gorilla that could be fun in a sequel. 

What makes the film a little awkward for me is how they're trying to build a cinematic universe.  It started with Godzilla in 2014, and continued with Kong: Skull Island.  You can tell that adding Kong into the mix was a bit of an afterthought, as Monarch felt kind of shoehorned in in Skull Island, and here, several Skull Island concepts -- such as the Earth being hollow and the giant monsters living there -- feel equally forced in.  Apparently, one character was meant to be the same as a character in Skull Island but I never picked up on it. 

But still, I had a blast.  Sadly, this cinematic universe looks to be winding down, as King of the Monsters under-performed at the box office.  Unless the next one, Godzilla vs. Kong, due out in the spring of 2020, sets the world on fire, we may be watching a cinematic universe in decline.  Too bad, though, because it's a fun one. 

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