Director: Adam Wingard
Writers: Terry Rossio(story by), Michael Dougherty(story by), Zach Shields(story by)
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
With hindsight, I’m ultimately grateful that the release of Godzilla vs. Kong was delayed by COVID. In my neck of the woods, quarantines shut down damn near everything for over a year. Not only that, my chosen profession dictated that I worked from home. Countless days of Zoom meetings, isolation and doom-laden TV news tended to make one miserably-long day blur into the next.
What I missed most-of-all was going to the movies, so when restrictions began to loosen and my local independent theater reopened to limited capacity, it was like the clouds had parted. The first film they showed was Godzilla vs. Kong, and what better way to celebrate surviving the darkest year in recent history than taking-in a high-concept spectacle with no other agenda than pure entertainment? Watching these iconic movie monsters square-off on the big screen was a not-only a ton of fun, it was downright cathartic. I don’t know if I’d have felt the same way had it been released as-scheduled back in 2020.
With previous films in Warner Bros’ “MonsterVerse” laying the groundwork – and it certainly helps if you’ve seen them – Godzilla vs. Kong more-than-delivers on the promise of its title. Additionally, it is arguably the most uninhibited film of the franchise, perhaps a reaction to the drab reception of Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Where that film was overlong and took itself a tad too seriously, this one runs a lean, mean 113 minutes and essentially throws caution to the wind, unburdened by the boundaries of plausibility or geographical science (as the middle-act discovery of Hollow Earth demonstrates). And if nothing else, you gotta admire the audacity to resurrect Mechagodzilla, one of the big lizard’s more outlandish adversaries from the Toho era.
There’s a human cast, of course, but like the other installments (save for maybe Skull Island), they are perfunctory, mostly on-hand to provide exposition and context. Besides, it’s highly doubtful anyone pays their two-bits to take-in Millie Bobby Brown’s thespian skills. What matters are the titular titans, who show up early and often, both separately and for two thrilling, massively destructive clashes…and this is before Mechagodzilla even shows up to put their issues with each other in perspective. The special effects are top-notch, which includes instilling Godzilla and Kong with enough personality to render both equally endearing. The narrative even provides a plausible explanation for why they’re now the same size.
We walked out of the theater with big dumb grins on our faces (and our ears ringing just a bit). Godzilla vs. Kong was no out-of-body experience, but certainly the perfect film for the moment, pure escapism at a time most of us need it most.
Though its epic grandeur is somewhat diminished on television, Godzilla vs. Kong is still pretty damned entertaining and looks great on Blu-ray, allowing one to really appreciate the painstaking effort put into monsters’ expressions and the creative production design – especially the neon splendor of Hong Kong and its subsequent destruction. Like the best heavy metal music, this is the kind of film that’s meant to be played loud and the impressive Dolby Atmos track serves it well. Just ask my neighbors.Follow @FreeKittensMG