Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021)

One of thing most annoying things for me about the pandemic has been the closure of cinemas. Don’t get me wrong, certain films are great to watch at home, and there are quite a few where the location doesn’t matter. But there are some where you NEED to watch them at the cinema. You need the big screen, the darkness, the pageantry of the cinema experience. Some films I was looking forward to, I have watched them at home and still liked them (The Mitchells Vs. The Machines etc). But this? I avoided this at home because I knew I NEEDED to see it at the cinema. I’m not watching these films for the plots and the dialogue, I’m watching them because they’re spectacle, and it’s harder to get immersed in spectacle cinema when you have to change the volume so it can be heard over building work, you are aware of daylight, or there’s a cat clawing at your bedroom door because they’re desperate for attention.

A big worry for me coming into this was how overpowered Godzilla was compared to Kong. The film rectifies this by making it so Kong is older and much larger than the last time we saw him. On the upside that means the sizes match up. On the downside, and I’m not entirely sure if it was deliberate or not, but Kong looks old. This isn’t Kong as Rocky, this is Kong as Rocky in Creed, he looks exhausted.

Now onto the scale, there are a few moments where we truly get to see how massive Kong and Godzilla (referred to in this movie as Titans) really are, you place them alongside humans and it provides an impressive visual. You don’t really get the same effect when they’re next to buildings for some reason. It might be because during these moments they’re filmed from an angle that’s high and wide so you can get the entire fight in. But this means you lose all sense of scale, the Titans become your measurement for height, because the buildings they’re fighting amongst get destroyed so quickly that they’re ineffective for measurement sake. So having them tower over buildings doesn’t make the Titans look big, it makes the building look small. This film DESPERATELY needed more low angle shots of the fights.

Other than that, the fights themselves are actually pretty damn entertaining. You know what you’re getting in a film like this, you’re not going to get a John Wick style action scene, you’re just going to get two mountains smashing into each other, and that’s what you get. I will say this, the punches look like they hurt. It’s not like Transformers where it looks like interchangeable things just banging against each other, you feel the pain every time one of these monsters is hit.

Praise also has to go to the moment where they enter Hollow Earth, which they need a map to find, because going straight down isn’t an option for some reason (although later in the film Godzilla finds it just by fire-digging straight through the floor, so it’s inconsistent). A world where it’s basically the inside of a circle and the world is round, but inverted. So you’re always on the floor and gravity changes depending which side of the ball you’re on. It contains truly impressive visuals and would lend itself to some truly inventive action set pieces, if they spent more time in it. See, that moment is just for about 20 minutes. They genuinely could have got an entire film out of that. There’s no way that was cheap, so it’s baffling to think they spent that much on something so small when it could have been the basis of something much bigger. It does lead to a cool moment of Kong sitting on a throne, but then the film continues. Surely the entire Hollow Earth sub-plot should have been it’s own movie, and then you end the film with Kong sitting on the throne? You don’t throw all of that into the middle of this, it’s an incredibly poor choice from a narrative standpoint. Especially since Godzilla HEAVILY dominates this franchise, this is the 4th movie with him in, but only the second Kong. If they did the second Kong movie set in Hollow Earth, then THAT sets off the events of this film, it would feel more even. And you wouldn’t have so many characters to introduce. The last Kong film was set far in the past, so this features no characters from that. There are two returning Godzilla characters that I can recognise, there might have been more, but the characters from those films have left zero impact on me with the exceptions of the two in this, and 3 others who I think are dead I can’t remember.

That’s not the only negative. Nobody watches these for the human characters, but we spend so much time with them that they should be written well. There are some amusing lines with one of the subplots, but they don’t feel natural. It feels like they wrote the jokes and then did the story to fit them in (it definitely seems like they did that with some of the other scenes too). It never feels natural, is incredibly overwritten, plus having that many comedic moments means you never feel scared. There are two (well, three at the end) giant beings beating the crap out of each other and not caring about the collateral damage to humans. That should be utterly TERRIFYING to the human characters, but they don’t seem that bothered by it. They seem more focused on “but what if the monsters get hurt?”

As you can probably guess, the script is pretty poor. Managing to feel both bloated and rushed at the same time. The hollow earth scenes I mentioned? Guess how they impact the script? It’s how they get the power for Mecha Godzilla. Yup, a good chunk of the film is essentially “we’re picking up a battery”. That takes up a good two thirds of the film. I’m not saying open the film with Mecha Godzilla (oh yeah, that’s the main non-human villain btw, for one scene), but at least have it so it seems like the script is naturally building towards it, hint towards it instead of it just being there.

So in summary: watch this at the cinema, you will only watch it for the visuals anyway. Although I should note, the visuals aren’t always great. During action scenes they look fine, but when people are just talking? The visuals look kind of ugly a lot of the times there. It’s weird.

2010’s In Film Day 9 (2019+2020)

Something a bit different today. I’ll be doing the end of year roundup at the end of the month. I’ll also be doing the end of year awards too, as such I’m going to talk about the films I saw in 2019 quite a lot in the next few weeks. So if I talk about them here then I feel that will be too much repetition in a short time. So I’ve decided to approach this differently, I’m going to talk about films I didn’t see, whether my missing it was intentional, and whether I’m going to see them at any point. Because I feel that might be a short blog, I’m also adding films from 2020 that I’m looking forward to. Enjoy.

January

2019 – The Favourite

This won SOO many plaudits and awards, and that’s why I didn’t watch it. I felt if I came out and didn’t like it, and then publicly said so, a lot of people will think less of me. I probably will like it, and I will watch it at some point when I don’t have to review it, but I felt like I didn’t want to be the only person who disliked a popular film (oddly enough, I felt fine disliking Once Upon A Time In Hollywood).

2020 – 1917

Damn this is a tough month. There is SO much good stuff. Uncut Gems, David Copperfield, A Beautiful Day In This Neighbourhood, The Lighthouse. It’s a packed schedule, most of which probably won’t be shown at my local cinema because reasons. This is the film I’m most intrigued by though. I was going to avoid it because I’m so bored with war films. Then I heard this was presented like it was one long shot, and I was instantly sold. I like to reward creativity in cinema, so I have to see this.

February

2019 – Boy Erased

A film about a gay teen being forced to undergo conversion therapy. The only reason I didn’t see this is because it wasn’t shown at my local cinema. Very annoyed by that and I will watch it at some point. I thought I had seen it but then realised I watched the OTHER really bleak and depressing Lucas Hedges film.

2020 – Sonic

Will it be shit? Will it be okay? Will it be great? It will definitely be one of the first two, but either way it’s going to be a lot of fun to write about.

March

2019 – Dumbo

Unlike Boy Erased, the cinema did play this, a lot. I purposely avoided it. I don’t really remember too much from the original Dumbo, I remember enough to make weird references to it, but not enough to feel an emotional connection to it. So I had no desire to watch a live-action version. Plus, live-action Disney remakes are something I’m trying to avoid on principle, on the principle they’re unoriginal and stifling creativity in cinema.

2020 – A Quiet Place Part 2

I’m really interested to see whether this will fuck up my love for the first one. I’m hoping it won’t and I am genuinely interested to see where they go with it. It does seem to have quite a few flashbacks too, which could be nice.

April

2019 – Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

I didn’t see this because I didn’t know it existed. I wish I did and watched it now as I get a feeling my review would have been a lot of fun to write. It looks like it’s either going to be schlocky fun, or just terrible. Either way, would have been fun to write about.

2020 – The New Mutants*

That has a star next to it because, let’s face it, it’s probably going to get delayed again. Film in 2017 and not released until now, which is always a good sign for a movie. It can’t be worse than Dark Phoenix though, can it?

May

2019 – Aladdin

Again, purposely avoided this one. I sometimes feel like the only person who didn’t really care about the animated Aladdin movie (or The Lion King for that matter), so I definitely wasn’t going to see a live-action one. I saw a section from it where Will Smith sings the Prince Ali song, and it just made me more determined to not watch this film. It was too visually slow. I maintain they should have had a film crew with more experience in Bollywood cinema, even if it was only just for that scene, to give it the vibrancy and life that it needed. It just seems so plodding and dull.

2020 – Artemis Fowl

I fear this. I love the books and all indications show they haven’t really paid attention to them. For one thing, they’ve got Commander Root played by Judi Dench. Now I LOVE Judi Dench, but it ruins one of the story arcs from the book which is that Holly Short is the first female LEPrecon officer, if Root has already been there then it ruins not only that arc, but also their dynamic. I will admit though, the director is the right choice, as is Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums.

June

2019 – In FabricA

Didn’t even know this film existed until I was looking through the launchingfilms.com page for films released in 2019. I’ll share with you the synopsis: IN FABRIC is a horror-comedy in which an enchanted dress wreaks havoc on the lives of those who wear it. Why do I not already own this on DVD? I now have to see this at some point.

2020 – Candyman

It’s Candyman written by Jordan Peele, you damn right I’m going to see this.

July

2019 – The Lion King

Wait, that was this year too? Damn Disney with the remakes. This film came out about 6 months ago now, it had Beyonce in it, yet I haven’t heard anybody talk about it. The live-action version has made no impact on popular culture.

2020 – Morbius

This seems like a vampire horror movie set in the MCU. I am all for that. The MCU needs to get more diverse and have different genres. It has been unable to do that until now because all the films needed to be linked, you needed to watch them all to fully get Endgame. Hopefully, now that’s finished they can be separate and they can take more risks.

August

2019 – Playmobil

Again, this could have been a vitriolic masterpiece review. But I would have felt a bit weird being the only childless adult in the cinema watching this. Plus at this point I realised I really needed to stop watching bad films, I had seen enough (this was after Dark Phoenix and Hellboy, but before Wolf, so it was going to get worse).

2020 – Bill And Ted Face The Music

I need this. I need this so much. I loved the first two movies and I really hope this lives up to the hype.

September

2019 – Ready Or Not

Now, this annoyed me. It came out just after the worst film I’ve ever seen, a film that was so bad it put me off cinema for a short while. As such I missed the REALLY brief window that this film was at the cinema. Shame as it looked good, and I’ve heard great things about it. Who knows, maybe if I saw at the cinema I would have realised it wasn’t actually Margot Robbie in it.

2020 – The King’s Man

I’m curious about this. A lot of the fun about spy movies are futuristic gadgets, so I’m curious how this is going to work. The trailer didn’t leave me as excited as it should have done. I have faith though, it could be amazing. No matter what, I’m looking forward to it.

October

2019 – Gemini Man

Hahahaha yeah I wasn’t going to see this. It looked stupid, and not fun enough to make up for it. My favourite thing about this film? The poster for it had the cast at the top, which was just Will Smith. But to show that he was playing two roles (well, three) they had his name twice. So it was “Will Smith Will Smith”, which is a grammatically correct sentence enquiring whether Smith can will someone else called Smith to do something

2020 – Death On The Nile

A surprisingly packed month really. You’ve got this, the Halloween sequel, and the remake of The Witches. This is the one I want most though, I loved Murder On The Orient Express. I loved the direction, I loved the performance, so I REALLY want more, and I’m so glad it’s happening.

November

2019 – Last Christmas

I was going to see this, then I had a realisation that I think I knew the ending. I looked it up and it turned out I was right. That instantly turned my feelings on the film from “warm christmas feeling” to outright cynicism.

2020 – Godzilla Vs. Kong

Mainly as I’m not entirely sure how this is going to work. The last Godzilla movie made him really overpowered, so I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to make Kong his equal. Interested to find out.

December

2019 – Cats

This is the only film I’ve heard of that required a day one patch. If the studio doesn’t care about quality, then I don’t give a shit about watching it. And it wasn’t just “small ironing out of issues”, it was this:

22610716-7823501-image-a-54_1577149021479

That is unforgivable. There is no excuse for releasing the film in that state.

2020 – Coming 2 America

I’m going to need to rewatch the first film before this, but it could be weird. The only film that beats out Bill And Ted for “sequel in 2020 we’ve been waiting the longest for”. I get the feeling people will either love this, or it will bomb HARD. Either way, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a trailer.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)

The best way to describe this film: effective. It did what it needed to. You go to it to see giant monsters hit each other, and that’s what you get. And those parts are good. The monsters themselves look fantastic, mostly. There’s a few where they look a bit too much like they belong in a PS2 video game. Also one of them looks like it’s kinda sexualised, which for a giant monster is kind of weird. Now, the humans. A complaint of the first Godzilla film was that the people weren’t that interesting (outside of Bryan Cranston who died early on), and this film definitely improves on that. Millie Bobby Brown’s character, in particular, is a delight and will make you feel all the emotions, the rest? Not so much. That’s probably because there’s so many of them so you don’t really get to connect with many of them. And the ones you do connect with are, well there’s no kind way of saying this, kind of dumb. Not only do the characters doing shitty things do them for stupid reasons, but the people opposed to them miss out on giving them a really obvious armour-piercing response (partly because if they did I don’t think the writers could have given them a good response). But yeah, a lot of the characters aren’t needed. Sally Hawkin’s character, in particular, seems like a complete waste of her talents. Did they not see Shape Of Water? She’s really really good, guys, and you have her in for about 2 minutes. And it’s not even done in a way like Psycho where it’s shocking to kill of an established actor to set off an “anything can happen” tone because her death is incredibly underwhelming to the point where I can’t actually remember it happening.

It’s not all bad though, the action scenes are actually well-defined so you can tell what’s happening, it doesn’t just look like an incomprehensible mess. That’s always the hard part, Transformers is a great example of really incomprehensible action scenes. To be honest, though I think part of that is because it’s live action and I feel the new version of The Lion King could have similar problems. In animation, each character (well the main ones anyway) are visually unique in terms of colour schemes and stylised looks. Yet when it becomes live-action you kind of lose that in the name of “realism”. There was a concern that could happen here, that it would all just look like blobs and fur randomly hitting each other. Thankfully that’s not the case, the monsters are all visually unique, and amazingly they all have personalities too. They’re not mindless things with an appetite for destruction, slashing through cities in a November rain.

This film is A LOT bigger than the previous one, everything is amped up. Which brings me up to the big downside; what happens next. The next film is Godzilla Vs. Kong. But in this film, Godzilla is a fire-breathing giant. There’s no contest, Godzilla is too overpowered by comparison. I can’t see how they’re going to make it seem like a fair fight, it’s like having Mike Tyson vs. Stephen Hawking in a boxing match, after Hawking died.