by Aziz Abbas
Remember the days when you would just go to the cinema for the sake of it and not worry about the price of the ticket or even if the film was critically acclaimed? Remember when the idea of seeing Godzilla on the big screen was something that seemed like a humourous, ‘just for fun’ event? Heck, remember when you could go to the cinema without worrying about a pandemic? Well if those days spark nostalgia for you, think back no more because you have been called back to the cinema for some good times (at least in Australia).
The fourth film in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse series, Godzilla vs. Kong is directed by Adam Wingard and is the sequel to Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island. In his first blockbuster, Wingard teams up with Cinematographer Ben Seresin (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, World War Z) and composer Tom Holkenborg (otherwise known as Junkie XL – with a long list of film scores including Terminator: Dark Fate, Divergent, Mad Max: Fury Road) to create a loud, visually explosive thrill ride that packs a mean punch. As the title suggests, the film essentially revolves around a series of battles between Godzilla and King Kong and those battles are delivered in spades with a seemingly no expense spared CGI budget.
The film opens with a quick rundown of where we have been with the last two films which is helpful to viewers new to the franchise. It has been three years since Godzilla last tormented the world and people are nervous. From here we are introduced to Skull Island, the home of Kong where scientist Dr Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) continues to study him along with her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). On the other side of the world, we have those at Apex Corporation, chaired by Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), who are looking to understand and resolve the Titan troubles of the world.
Simmons meets with Dr Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), who convinces the geologist to travel to Skull Island and relocate Kong to the centre of the earth. Simmons has devised a way to journey to the area known as Hollow Earth to access an energy source similar to the power Godzilla utilises so they might defeat him. As fate would have it, only Kong can show them the way. On the journey, Dr Andrews grows nervous Godzilla will sense Kong’s presence and seek to attack. There can only be one Titan on this planet.
If the plot sounds as though it takes a long time to get started, it does. We’re here to see some monster fighting and if there is a detraction throughout the entirety of this film, it is the time that involves the human stories. Sure, it helps with the context and setting the scene on why Kong is where he is, but like every mother nature tragedy, it is the human interference that creates the problems. There is even a subplot that follows some conspiracy theorists (led by an underwhelming Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)) who seek to discover truths behind Apex’s mission to the centre of the earth. They embark on an unbelievable and preposterous journey where they have unbelievable and preposterous odds of getting the answers they seek. But while the performances of the ensemble range from decent to passable, it is Kong and Godzilla that steal the show.
Wingard and Seresin have diverted a lot of the film’s budget to the CGI and it shows. The entire sequence and depiction of the journey to and through Hollow Earth is quite stunning. The battle scenes that take place over land and water also leave one in awe particularly the climactic battle scene over downtown Hong Kong which provide thrilling lighting and pyrotechnics. The facial and body details of our titular ‘anti-heroes’ are nothing short of exquisite. We can see facial expressions and musculature in great detail which enhances the experience like no other film in the franchise has achieved before. Coupled with powerful sound editing and an equally punchy score, the technical aspects of this film make this one of the must-see cinematic experiences this year.
A gloriously absurd ride that will leave true fans giddily satisfied and the rest of us catching our breath, Godzilla vs. Kong is a visual and aural treat. But it’s not to be taken too seriously. Remember this trip to the cinema is just for fun.
Godzilla vs. Kong is in Australian cinemas now.
Be the first to leave a review.