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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)

Much ado about nothing.
 
Well, I finally saw GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019), and my life would have been in no way diminished if I had skipped it altogether. ( refused to pay to see it in the theater.) At least it got me through most of today's dialysis session.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who will cream their jeans over anything with the Godzilla name attached to it, and that audience was more than likely satisfied by this bloated, needlessly overlong, bland studio gewgaw that amounted to the cinematic equivalent of jangling dangled keys in front of an infant, and they are welcome to it. It's a CGI orgy and pretty much nothing more. The characters, if you can even call them that, did not engage me in the slightest, and that's really saying something when you consider that Charles Dance plays the antagonist. (The film tragically squanders his talents.) And though the characters in the Japanese run can largely be described as annoying, corny, or silly, at least they had personalities that made them memorable and entertaining. Also, they were fun. (Some prefect examples: Astronauts Glenn and Fuji, Miss Namikawa, and the polar opposite of silly, boring, and unmemorable, Dr. Serizawa.)

As for the monsters, I liked what they did with Mothra, and Rodan's battle with the Mexican air force was spectacular, but I didn't give a shit about either Godzilla nor King Ghidorah.
It was like watching clones of dear old friends trying to pass themselves off as the real thing. You see, for me the Toho monsters just do not work when handled outside of their native culture and specific context. In the better films of his Japanese franchise, Godzilla was originally envisioned as the embodiment of the horror of the atomic bomb as commented upon by a people who experienced it firsthand — TWICE — and he was later retconned to be the living vengeance of those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is extremely heavy stuff that lends the character true gravitas and terror. Removed from that context, all you have is a big lizard. Also gone is any trace of the personality displayed in the homegrown Godzilla films, and that personality, be it when he's an outright walking natural disaster or when he's something of a superhero, Godzilla had an identifiable character and swagger that is utterly absent in his American iteration, an aspect that I say stems from the American studio's fundamental lack of understanding of the character at his most basic. Sure, the special effects were among the best that money can buy, but they were in service of a dull, un-involving narrative that's as hollow as an ice cream cone minus a scoop.

Anyway, I'm glad that I had the good sense to avoid this during its theatrical run, as, to me, it would have been a waste of twenty bucks. It was every bit the empty corporate product that I expected, and now I fear the same may be the case with GODZILLA VS KONG. Thanks to how much I enjoyed KONG: SKULL ISLAND, I will see GODZILLA VS KONG, but the bar of my expectations is firmly set lower that a slug's ballsack. If it's actually good, I will totally support it, but if it sucks and it's boring, I'll bail on all further American Godzilla entries.

1 comment:

Temmere said...

Personally I have moral problems with the whole Godzilla Vs Kong thing. In a Godzilla movie, Godzilla is the baddest motherfucker on the planet. In a King Kong movie, Kong is the baddest motherfucker on the planet. Those two together just fundamentally do not work. I have no doubt that it will be a typical they-fight-until-they-team-up-against-the-real-villain setup (maybe a clone of Gidorah?), so they won't actually settle the argument, but that doesn't reassure me.