By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”; Director: Michael Dougherty; Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, David Strathaim; Rating: **
The best visual in the entire film is the last shot before the end-credits. It is picture perfect, impressive and iconic. That image stays with you while the rest of the narrative blurs as you leave the theatre.
King of the Monsters, the third Godzilla film to be produced in Hollywood. It is a sequel to the 2014 film Godzilla and is also the thirty-fifth in the Godzilla Franchise. Wrapped as a techno-thriller, the series is supposed to be a fabled nightmare, but alas what we get here, is a worn-out edition of the pounding-sound packed, action drama that fails to excite.
The story is complex and the plot convoluted. The narrative focuses on the struggles of the Russell family. Five years after the destruction of San Fancisco, where they lost their son Andrew, mum Emma (Vera Farmiga) and dad Mark (Kyle Chandler) are estranged. Their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) lives with Emma in an Outpost in the Rainforest Jungles of China.
Emma, now works as a Paleobiologist for a crypto-zoological corporation called Monarch. They track down and study Titans, giant God-like monsters that once dominated the Earth.
Colonel Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) an ex-army mercenary with terrorism on his mind, sort of kidnaps Emma and Madison while stealing the sound generator called an Orca. What follows, is the awakening of the sleeping monsters, destruction of cities and carnage. That’s not all, the clash of the Titans is the high-light of the narrative.
Appearing alongside the reptilian Godzilla on this occasion are several of his long-term associates, including the pterosaur Rodin, the giant moth Mothra, the ‘Queen of the Monsters and a natural ally of Godzilla, and the three-headed dragon King Ghidorah. All of these originated in the productions of Japan’s Toho studios, doing battles for decades in varying combinations in an example of a shared, “cinematic universe” long before it became a stock Hollywood marketing ploy.
So while we get some good, fast-paced, monster action sequences, we rarely understand the backgrounds and responsibilities of the supporting characters. While the first half concentrates more on human interactions, the second part is full of battles between the monsters. But the bottom line is, who cares what is happening on-screen while the monsters fight and people die.
Overall, the exciting factor of the film is crushed with the perfunctory staging despite brilliant technical efforts. (Agency)