GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS review by Ronnie Malik – titans clash in a messy sequel

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS review by Ronnie Malik – titans clash in a messy sequel

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Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Anthony Ramos, Elizabeth Ludlow, Jonathan Howard, CCH Pounder, Joe Morton

Rating: C-

The trailers for GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS gave just enough of a tease to create excitement for moviegoers to put this film on their must-see list for summer of 2019. The apocalyptic visuals gave hints of what might be an exciting modern take for a new and improved monster movie, and one that might just have a good story at its heart. But, as many know, trailers can be very deceiving.

The sequel to 2014’s GODZILLA picks up 5 years later as survivors from the destruction of San Francisco are still piecing back together their lives, and Godzilla is nowhere to be found. Deep in the mountains of China, scientist Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) lives with her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and works for an underground organization called Monarch. Emma, along with her colleagues, is working to protect creatures thousands of years old that have been hibernating deep beneath the earth. The Doctor develops a machine that sends out bio-acoustics in an effort to communicate and control creatures, now known as The Titans, which are hidden all over the world. The idea is to co-exist with natures miracles that were once thought extinct. The experiment is short lived because terrorist Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) breaks into the facility, kidnaps Emma and Madison, and steals the machine.

We eventually discover that Emma is actually working with Jonah. She is following through on her delusion that to create order in the world The Titans must be resurrected to destroy the world as we now know it. Her logic is that mankind is not going to leave anything for future generations if the world is left in the hands of humanity. The only way to ensure the planet’s survival is to allow the pre-historic creatures to destroy it and then a new world will emerge. We find Emma and her team in the Antarctic working to bring to life a three headed dragon known as King Ghidora aka Monster Zero.

Meanwhile, Emma’s estranged husband Mark (Kyle Chandler), also a scientist of the unexplained, joins the Monarch organization in an effort to save his kidnapped daughter and put a stop to the insane idea of unleashing uncontrollable beasts on the world. No big surprise – the Monarch team are tracking Godzilla and discover that he is on his way to the Antarctic. Wondering why Godzilla just happens to be heading straight for the location of Monster Zero? Well this is explained away via some mythological mumbo-jumbo dating back to ancient times. Turns out that Monster Zero is Godzilla’s nemesis and can take his place as the alpha of all The Titans. The king of all monsters knows he must kill the lightning-spewing dragon if he is to stay in power and to keep the world order.

This latest monster movie is far from an action extravaganza and much more like an utter disaster. It is an obnoxiously loud clunky film of darkly lit CGI monsters beating the crap out of each other over and over again while the little humans look on in horror. There is virtually no story to grab on to and the action sequences become extremely repetitive as well as boring and any anticipation for an exciting monster flick is completely lost. Some of the worst campy dialogue ever to hit the big screen is painful to endure and one can only pray that it will all end soon. There are many failed attempts at humor as one liners meant to make audiences laugh only succeed in falling completely flat. There are plot twists that are often hard to follow and leave more confusion than clarity on what is actually taking place. The fight scenes are manic and fuzzy making it difficult to see what the monsters are actually doing so there is no visual satisfaction for fans of the franchise.

There is a family drama in the backdrop that is not very believable especially since the actors playing the parents have little chemistry in the film. The only saving grace is that break out Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown manages to make her young conflicted teenage character work despite the bad dialogue. There are too many cast members to count and with the camera jumping from person to person, none of the actors are able to give us anything substantial.

There is no other way to say it – GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is just awful and is a clear example of how special effects alone are not enough to make a good movie. And the bad filmmaking is not necessarily going to stop with this installment. We are due for GODZILLA VS. KONG in March of 2020 and after seeing this latest take on the Godzilla tale there is little to no hope of the franchise redeeming itself unless filmmakers pay close attention to audience reactions, and critic reviews, and perhaps miraculously surprise us with something amazing next year.


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