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.

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.

Musings On Marvel: Day 12 (Ant-Man)

Director: Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man)

Budget: $130million

Box Office: $519million

  • “If only you protected Janet with the same ferocity” That line only exists to get along plot details.
  • “I’m not going back, I’ve got a daughter to take care off” the same daughter you had BEFORE you went to prison? Or is it “well, she needed changing then, now she can look after herself”
  • Is he being shamed for working at a Baskin Robbins? Yeah, how dare he have a job to support his family. Shame! Shame! This is a big issue actually, certain jobs are seen as demeaning but people need to do them. People make fun of the server at McDonalds yet go in at 1am demanding that same person provide them with a burger.Jobs need doing, and these jobs need to be done by people. Don’t act all high and mighty like certain jobs aren’t “good enough” for people. You don’t want to do a job because you see it as demeaning? Then starve to f*cking death. Now, tis is different obviously from “this job makes me work 12 hours a day with no breaks and they pay me in stinging nettles”. That’s management being dicks, in which case, yeah, gain superpowers, sneak into manager’s house, pick them up and drop them in an active volcano.
  • Things I’ve spotted in the Baskin Robbins bosses office: an employee of the month sign above the sink, a microwave that isn’t plugged in, a rubber chicken, a wicker ball, a metal bucket.
  • “An Ant-Man” Hey! That’s the title of the movie.
  • Did nobody think to title them “small soldiers”?
  • “the ultimate combat advantage” wouldn’t it be more advantageous to be 10 times larger? There’s no good hitting people if nobody knows what’s hitting them as they won’t quit. You make them larger and entire armies will see it and give up.
  • That bunny is terrifying.
  • “He’s so ugly, I love him” My girlfriend says the exact same thing.
  • “you’re her hero”, how? She’s 5, he’s been in prison 3 years. Even if she could remember him she wouldn’t have enough to build him up to hero status.
  • This guy peed without shutting the bathroom door. He deserves to die.
  • This is a perfectly viable weapon that again is never used. I mean, he has a handheld weapon that can kill someone with no mess. No blood or anything, so no evidence. You literally flush the evidence down the toilet. That alone is a great weapon.
  • I have a feeling this montage of finding out about the “job” seems like one of the parts written by Edgar Wright.
  • This reference to Titanic also seems like Edgar Wright, it also seems exactly like the kind of thing I do: random pop culture references in middle of scenes which have no need for them. I would argue that point but I once put a critique of Love Actually in a scene which was basically a massive argument.
  • That door falling down still created a hell of a lot of noise.
  • If he is the size of an ant, surely that guy would still notice him in the bath? Would you not notice an ant in the bath?
  • This guy who’s entire dialogue is “what the hell” is comedian Garrett Morris who had the first appearance of Ant-Man in Saturday Night Live.
  • “set up a five block perimeter” for a petty theft? Are you kidding? He’s not exactly caused harm to people so that’s not a good use of resources.
  • This escape thing is fine, but you know what else would have made sense? Michael Douglas parking his car nearby with the window open so he could just go in there.
  • I know someone who saw this film and thought “just step on the Bullet Ants, how painful can they be?” Well, to answer that, bullshit. Bullet Ants are terrifying. It’s called a Bullet Ant because its sting feels like being shot. The Schmidt Pain Index is a real thing, and this is really high on it. Also, they shriek at you before attacking, because that’s not scary. Certain tribes use them as an initiation into manhood. They weave sleeves with hundreds of this things in, the stings facing inwards. They then wear them and get stung to holy hell. That’s not an exaggeration, this causes the arms to become useless for a few days, and cause spasms through the entire body. So THAT’S why you don’t just f*cking step on them.
  • So you control ants and make them put sugar in your tea? That’s just lazy.
  • The bald guy from House Of Cards is a dick to tiny sheep
  • “I think we should call the Avengers” So do I! In fact, I’d call them for everything. Changing my light bulbs, fixing my internet, getting the person in the queue in front of me to just MOVE FORWARD ALREADY!
  • “this is not some cute technology like the Iron Man Suit” Unnecessary shot!
  • “Plus they’re too busy dropping cities out of the sky” That was Ultron and you know it, dick.
  • Why ants? I’m serious, it’s never explained why he specifically can converse only with ants? Surely there’s other small things he could talk to, grasshoppers, lice, aphids, spiders. You’ve had this research for decades and figured out how to talk to ants, yet you have no incentive to push it forward to other species? Is it because it was called Ant-Man and you really hate not going with themes?
  • Where are the rest of the Avengers? Have they all gone home for the holidays and left one guy as the security?
  • Ant-Man punches Falcon too much. Literally all he needs to do is get his visual apparatus off, then he won’t be able to see him so he can just sneak in easier.
  • Next time you might want to start with “I got the thing” instead of leaving it until it’s suitably dramatic.
  • “I fought an Avenger and didn’t die”. Well, technically you fought an Avenger. But Falcon’s only an Avenger in the same way as Barcardi Breezers are alcoholic beverages. Technically right, but nobody counts it.
  • “this is the work of gypsies” That’s racist!
  • There is never a good reason to whistle “It’s A Small World”. Ever.
  • Can you even hit an ant with a bullet? Wouldn’t physics push the ant of the way?
  • Are those guys being attacked by Bullet Ants? If so it would be a lot more than “ow, slight pain”, they’d cry.
  • Hank Pym dies whilst I was writing that last one, I think.
  • Oh wait, he’s standing up.
  • Ok this is one of the best uses of music in Marvel movies, plus it’s The Cure.
  • Why is this guy so focused on killing Paul Rudd? Couldn’t he just move on with his life and sell the weapon and still get shit loads of money? This just seems like a distraction.
  • Where did those ants come from?
  • Ah, the old “throwing trains at the enemy trick”. So cliche, you know that’s exactly how the Roundheads beat the Cavaliers in 1651.
  • Can ants survive getting that big? Wouldn’t their exoskeleton collapse or something? It’s like how King Kong wouldn’t be able to run, or barely move.
  • “that’s a messed up looking dog”. Surely you can tell it’s an ant? I mean, it would be weird for us to see an ant that size, but we don’t have superheroes in this world. They do. Everybody could wake up and find their feet have been replaced by Big Macs and it still wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the universe.
  • Imagine watching this whilst really stoned or under heavy medication. That would make a brilliant blog series actually: Medicated Musings. Exactly like these blogs, but recorded whilst either high or drunk.
  • She’s feeding that thing under the table. Does she want ants? Because that’s how you get ants.
  • And the post credits scene is a teaser for Avengers 3. I mean, Captain America: Civil War.