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Godzilla vs. Kong
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Adam Wingard
scr Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein
prd Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Brian Rogers, Mary Paren, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeodt
with Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza Gonzalez, Kaylee Hottle, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Demian Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
release US 31.Mar.21,
21/Australia Warner 1h53
Is it streaming?
There's a flailing, chaotic quality to the plot of this massive clash of the titans, as tiny humans run around getting up to all manner of pointless nonsense. Director Adam Wingard finds some witty touches in the interaction between people who think they're in charge, but this is all about the monsters. The enormous effects sequences are the most exciting parts of this film, elaborately overwrought for maximum impact.
While animal expert Ilene (Hall) worries that Kong's artificial Skull Island habitat can't contain him, Godzilla attacks the Florida headquarters of Apex Cybernetics. This can't be a coincidence, insists podcaster Bernie (Henry), inspiring Godzilla-friendly schoolgirl Maddie (Brown) and her friend Josh (Dennison) to head into the fray. Meanwhile, Apex boss Walt (Bichir) and his tech chief Ren (Oguri) consult writer Nathan (Skarsgard) for help finding a mega-weapon. And Nathan turns to Ilene with a possible solution. All of these people eventually end up in Hong Kong for an epic face-off between Godzilla and Kong.
The script is peppered with corny declarative lines ("Kong bows to no one!") and contrived melodrama (Ilene's adorable deaf-mute daughter, Hottle's Jia, is Kong's best pal). Most roles are thankless, most notably Walt's demanding daughter Maya (Gonzalez), who meddles in Nathan's cockamamie plan, which involves heading to the inverted Hollow Earth under Antarctica. And of course the real villains are arrogant men and women who think they can play God.
The ensemble of gifted actors mainly just hang on for the ride, delivering offhanded dialog with enjoyable spark while struggling through the convoluted exposition. Each is clearly allocated as either a caring good guy or greedy bad one, sealing their fate. And their mini-dramas seem downright silly as they try in vain to upstage the mammoth beasts that share their scenes. Inventively, the creatures have the whiff of men in rubber suits, which makes their destructive battles more entertaining.
Frankly, the plot feels like it was made up by a 10-year-old playing with a set of monster action figures levelling cities that are made of Lego. There are also some interesting angles, such as making Kong a sentient being from an ancient civilisation. Otherwise the film is overpacked with wacky technology and murky action sequences that are difficult to make sense of. At least the climactic decimation of Hong Kong has a terrific neon glow, plus some rollercoaster whizzery. And added Mechagodzilla just for some extra messy fun.
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© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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