It took three attempts, but I finally stayed awake through
Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong
be fair, these days, it doesn’t take much to put me out, given the degree of
fatigue with which I regularly end far too many of my days.
Attempt number one: as soon as G vs. K
came available on
, I opened an account and cranked up the movie. A long day it had been, and
though I really
wanted to soldier through it, the endeavor was doomed
from the start. Attempt number two: easily the most fun of the three, this one
took place at the
Eden Drive-In Theater
. I must say, Godzilla and drive-ins have gone hand-in-hand since I was just
a wee little kaiju nerd, and this experience proved largely delightful.
Largely, I say, though not wholly. Constant rain ended up marring the viewing,
as did — again — a willing spirit but desperately tired flesh. However...
finally... on attempt number three (again on HBOMax), mind and body managed to
Spoilers here, there may be.
As with its predecessor,
Godzilla - King of the Monsters
, G vs. K
eschews anything like engaging storyline and characters
in favor of CGI spectacle. While one could hardly expect anything different
these days, the endlessly-cynical-yet-ever-hopeful movie buff in me still
feels a tad slighted. “But it’s a giant monster movie,” I hear you cry. “You
go to see monsters, monsters, monsters, and it’s ridiculous to expect anything
more.” Well, no, it isn’t, any more than it’s ridiculous to expect more than a
CGI extravaganza in any
movie, be it superhero, action-adventure,
science-fiction/fantasy/horror, comedy, or pure drama. But movies play to
their perceived audience, and the perception is clearly that a monster movie
needs little more than a big-ass budget, a few recognizable names, and a
houseful of kitchen sinks to hit the mark.
So be it. On those terms, G vs. K isn’t exactly a waste of time.
Legendary’s version of Godzilla turns in a more entertaining performance than
he did in either of his previous two films, and he even boasts a marginally
better design. Now, our big guy is still a weirdly proportioned walking
mountain, with a tiny head and bloated physique; however, this go-round, his
proportions appear a tad better balanced, and his posture and movements convey
a distinctly reptilian menace. Not since Shin Godzilla has an
incarnation of Big G emitted more high-powered light rays and fried more shit
from exceptional distances. I do love the fact that this film treats us to an
honest-to-Godzilla rampage that reduces a lot of city-shaped
pixels to rubble-shaped pixels. I suppose I could even go so far as to credit
many of the Godzilla scenes with keeping me awake longer than I might have
otherwise managed, even if the story had been more engaging.
Kong, who looks pretty much like he did in
Kong: Skull Island, only bigger, spends a
lot of time airborne. Leaping, flying, floating, and — in a worthy nod to
King Kong vs. Godzilla — traveling by
way of a balloon airlift. Another (slightly) pleasant surprise is that Kong’s
interactions with young Jia, a deaf-mute girl who is able to
communicate with him via sign language, take up a relatively tiny portion of
the film’s running time. From the trailers I had seen, I had feared this
potentially saccharine trope might overwhelm the film’s other, slightly less
saccharine tropes. It did not. Jia, who is played by deaf actress
Kaylee Hottle, is treated respectfully, and of all the kids ever to
appear in a giant monster movie, I might categorize Jia as the least annoying
ever. I suppose that is something.
Hallo, how are you, nice day.
Eiza Gonzalez as Maia Simmonds
The human cast? Ah, the human cast. Not much happening here. Not due to lack
of talent, just a lack of material. Alexander Skarsgaard plays the
boyishly charming Dr. Nathan Lind, who leads an expedition into the
hollow Earth (established in the previous film) to find a nebulous power
source that exists there as well as to take Kong “home.” He has to take Kong
home because, if he doesn’t, Godzilla, as a rival apex predator, will be
duty-bound to whoop up on him. Rebecca Hall plays Kong expert
Ilene Andrews, whose primary job — apart from being Jia’s mother — is
to remind us every few minutes that Kong bows to no one (“no one” meaning
Godzilla). Naturally, Millie Bobby Brown returns as
Madison Russell to spout conspiracy theories, offer the occasional
snarky line, and walk everywhere with a rapid, purposeful stride. For our
requisite lovable, conspiracy theory–driven protagonist, we have
Bernie Hayes, played by Brian Tyree Henry. On his own,
Henry comes across as engaging enough, though he is unable to conjure up an
ounce of chemistry with any of the other players — a criticism that could be
leveled at the entire cast, actually. Young Julian Dennison, as nerdy Josh Valentine, rounds out our eccentric group of
The do-gooders are trying to find out what Godzilla has against technological
giant Apex Industries, run by smarmy Walter Simmonds, played by
Demián Bichir. I give nothing away by saying he’s not a good guy. Nor
is his daughter, Maia, played by Eiza Gonzalez, whose specialty
is slinging insults fast and hard. Move over, Boris and Natasha.
Alexander Skarsgaard as Dr. Nathan Lind, Rebecca Hall as Ilene Andrews,
Kaylee Hottle as Jia Andrews
Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine, Millie Bobby Brown as Madison
Russell, Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes
Demián Bichir as Walter Simmonds
The reward for sitting through the occasional character interaction is to
finally witness what Apex Industries hath wrought. At first, I can’t say I was
much taken with it, but it does actually seem to be growing on me. At worst,
it offers an effective visual reminiscent of the scene of Lt. Goro Gondo’s
demise in Toho’s Godzilla vs. Biollante
(1989). If that description means anything to you, my hat comes off.
Hallo, how are you, nice day.