PG-13 Dir: Michael Dougherty | Warner | 2h 12min
Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll admit right off the bat that I was never a fan big of the 2014 Godzilla. Characters were weak and poorly developed and the action scenes were muddy and out of focus and the filmmakers kept cutting away from our title character. That and the very look of the king himself left a lot to be desired. I did, however, enjoy 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. I’d like to say I enjoyed this latest outing, but it left me rather unmoved. I did enjoy it more than the 2014 version, but that’s not saying much. Ultimately, the film might please longtime fans, but for all others, it might be hard to garner up much enthusiasm for this mess of a film.
It’s been five years since the last film and titans ruled the world. We meet Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) who witnesses the birth of a larva dubbed Mothra. Russell has a device that can alter the mood of titan behavior by emitting frequencies. There’s an attack on the base which leaves Dr. Russell and her daughter, Madison in danger. Emma’s ex-husband, Mark (Kyle Chandler) is brought in to help the situation, but he has a hatred toward Godzilla after a loss of a loved one. Still, he decides to join the team to try and save his family. Essentially, we see that Godzilla isn’t a threat anymore, and the militia work with him to try and stop the titans from taking over.
There’s plenty of action on display here, and some of it can be exciting, but overall, the same problems that plagued the 2014 film return here. It’s simply hard to decipher just what exactly is happening on screen. I’m not a fan of these kind of doomsday like films. The very look of it is dark and muted and I’m simply not a fan. Not to mention the film takes itself a bit too seriously. One of the things I enjoyed so much about 2017’s King Kong: Skull Island was its tone was very light and loose and the characters were clearly enjoying themselves. That, and I just find Kong to be a more entertaining monster. I was mostly checking my watch waiting for this thing to end. I won’t call it terrible, but it did little for me and it’s not something I need to revisit.
Video: How’s it look?
When you’re dealing with three-headed monsters or giant moths, I would imagine one would like the image to be as naturalistic as possible. No? Well, the 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image delivers on every level. The use of practical and CGI effects throughout make this seem more realistic than other films of this nature. It’s like we’re observing the destruction through a peephole (if that makes sense, if not bear with me). The entire film seems to have a darker tone to it. Flesh tones seem warm and natural, but the detail is where this film excels. Though it’s not quite as crystal clear and sharp as I’d have liked, I really have no complaints with how this appears.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I’d wager that when you’ve got a movie that focuses on the destruction of cities with 300 foot monsters battling it out, you’d better have a kick ass audio component to compliment it. And, wouldn’t you know it, that just so happens to be the case here. The Dolby Atmos track is ample and robust from the opening scene to the end. Essentially every speaker’s range is used with great effect – be it the LFE’s as the buildings fall or the surrounds adding those little explosions and tweets in the background. There’s a lot of dialogue in the film, to boot, and the vocals take front and center here. Everything sounds amazing. Simply put, this is an outrageous display of audio and it’s one of those that you turn it up to 11, sit back and enjoy every bit of it.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Monsters 101 – Essentially four smaller (none are more than two minutes long) clips that focus on one of the four main creatures featured in the film.
- Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian
- Mothra: Queen of the Monsters
- Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine
- Rodan: Airborne God of Fire
- Evolution of the Titans – A more in-depth look at each of the four aforementioned creatures. We get a look at how they were constructed and utilized in the film.
- Godzilla 2.0
- Making Mothra
- Creating Ghidorah
- Reimagining Rodan
- Monarch in Action – The fictional company that’s dedicated to giant monsters has a slew of featurettes that showcase some of the different aspects from the film. We get a look at how Mothra is perceived differently than the others as well as some of the other locales featured.
- The Yunnan Temple
- Castle Bravo
- The Antarctic Base
- The Isle de Mara Volcano
- The Undersea Lair
- Featurettes – Some of the non-technical features are lumped in their own category with some brief “lessons” on monsters and a focus on Millie Bobby Brown.
- Millie Bobby Brown – Millie Bobby Brown is, like the Titans, a force of nature. We join her, Michael Dougherty and the cast as they recount the most devilish pranks they played, along with a few embarrassing (and hilarious) moments.
- Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight – The filmmakers and their special effects wizards take a look at the tech that makes Monarch’s missions possible. From the enormous Argo command ship to the tiny submersible, to the Oxygen Destroyer and the ORCA.
- Monsters are Real – Discover how the fear of monsters became hard-wired into our psyches and why, in every culture after thousands of years of civilization, monster myths are not merely fairy tales, but proof reality and still haunt our nightmares.
- Welcome to the Monsterverse – We get a glimpse of the denizens of the Monsterverse as they roar their way from our nightmares to our movie screens. Find out how these monsters are interconnected inn a single shared universe.
- Deleted Scenes – Running just over five minutes, there are two included.
- Marks’ Flashback (Extended Version)
- Boxing Practice, Argument and Radio Room
- Audio Commentary – Director Michael Dougherty, Producer Zach Shields and actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. collaborate for a somewhat disjointed track. Doughtery and Shields are pretty articulate, though Jackson does bring a different vantage point to the track. It’s for diehards only, of course, but better to have than not.
- Theatrical Trailers – Four total.
- Over the Rainbow
- Wonder Rumble
- Concept Art Gallery – We’re treated to nine different “wallpapers” showcasing some of the monsters as well as some scenes from the film.
The Bottom Line
Dark and gloomy and just quite boring, Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t do much for me. This is the kind of film I’d shrug off with a “Meh”, it just kind of exists. I like the notion of Godzilla being a hero to us and helping out, but little else about the film stuck with me. Here’s hoping the forthcoming big showdown between Kong and Godzilla will erase any bad memories of these two latest Godzilla offerings. Skip it.