Spring of Sci-Fi #10
Godzilla: King of the Monsters, released in 2019 and directed by Micahel Dougherty, is unfortunately not good. You would think that a movie featuring Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan would be a fun sci-fi romp, but instead, most of the film deals with Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga’s divorce. I am fine with human drama being the center focus of a Godzilla movie, but it needs to be good human drama. The original 1954 Godzilla deals heavily with human drama and the effect that Godzilla (as a representation of nuclear destruction) has on humanity but this movie’s plot dealing with divorce has no thematic significance to the monster plot of the movie.
Five years after the events of Godzilla 2014, Dr. Emma Russel (Vera Farmiga) is studying the Titan Mothra. She lives with her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) who witnesses the birth of Mothra alongside her mother. After they calm the rampaging Mothra down with the Orca, a device that replicates the sonar frequencies of the Titans, they are kidnapped by Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), a former British Army Officer turned Eco-Terrorist. Madison’s father Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) is brought on by Monarch to help stop the terrorists who are hoping to destroy humanity to reverse the negative effects of the climate. After waking up Ghidorah, it is revealed that Emma is working with the eco-terrorists and is secretly the mastermind behind their plot; she wants to use the Orca to awaken the kaiju.
I have many problems with this movie, and most revolve around the uninteresting and one-dimensional human characters. This movie wants to be a human drama about dysfunctional families, and I honestly don’t understand why. Godzilla from 2014 has uninteresting human characters, but at least Gareth Edwards uses them to emphasize humanity’s insignificance to these beasts (who one could look at as representing natural disasters). The family drama in this movie in no way connects to the monster drama and battles. The character that should be our protagonist is Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe). Ken Watanabe, the actor who plays Dr. Serizawa, even made the connection between natural disasters and the monsters, but the movie doesn’t emphasize that theme. My only issue with this character is his send-off in this movie–SPOILERS AHEAD. Godzilla is defeated by Ghidorah and sinks to the ocean floor to revive himself, this revival could take months or years, time the world does not have, so they plan to nuke Godzilla, reviving him with what originally awoke him in 1954. Dr. Serizawa goes into the cavern and detonates the nuclear bomb, dying to save Godzilla. I’m sorry, but I find it completely strange that this movie uses nuclear bombs to help save the day. This completely disregards the original concept for Godzilla as a comment on nuclear war and destruction. Essentially, nukes save the day, and a Japanese man sacrifices himself with a nuclear bomb to wake the beast that represents the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I wish I could like this movie just for the fights, but that only encompasses maybe 30 to 40 minutes of screen time with nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes devoted to boring human drama. The fights aren’t even the best looking either, marred by shaky cam and weather. I feel like this movie doesn’t even begin to understand what it needs or wants to be. Godzilla 2014 aims to be a drama representing natural disaster; Kong: Skull Island embraces the campiness and is fun to watch; this movie does neither and is a chore to watch. I don’t expect this movie to be the classic that the original Godzilla is, but it could have at least had some fun with its concept.
Rating 1.5/5 (I’m being generous with this rating too)