October 2019
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

DIRECTOR: Michael Dougherty

CAST: Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Zhang Ziyi, Thomas Middleditch, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, O’Shea Jackson, Aisha Hinds, David Strathairn


I desperately wanted to love this movie. As a child of Godzilla movies, with virtually the entire film series and various action figures of Godzilla and friends (and enemies) in my possession, and as a fan of Gareth Edwards’ lukewarmly-received 2014 film (though I acknowledge it has issues), I followed along with the marketing with hype and attention. Lukewarm-to-negative critical reviews gave me pause, but I’d never really expected a Godzilla movie to be critically-acclaimed. To many critics, these movies are just too inherently silly, and at least outside of his native Japan, Godzilla is really more of a cult following. On the one hand, King of the Monsters does feel pretty much like an old-school Godzilla movie (with all the good and bad that that implies). Alas, it hasn’t gone above and beyond, content to follow in the same basic formula of virtually every other Godzilla movie, giant monsters smacking each other around and levelling buildings, sandwiched in between a ridiculous convoluted plot that primarily exists as a flimsy skeleton to string the monster mashes together and populated by goofy and/or one-dimensional humans scurrying around with inane “drama”. Balancing big monster action with human drama is a tricky act, and Hollywood hasn’t figured it out yet.

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Godzilla (2014)

godzilla (1)DIRECTOR: Gareth Edwards

CAST: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche


In 2010, a fledgling Welsh filmmaker named Gareth Edwards made his directorial debut with a monster movie simply-titled Monsters with a cast of unknowns and a budget of less than $20,000. Hindered by budget constraints from being heavy on monster action, Edwards instead focused on story and characters. The critical acclaim lavished on his low-key indie debut led to him coming rapidly up in the world when he was entrusted with helming the reboot of the King of the Monsters himself: Godzilla. Unlike Roland Emmerich’s deservedly much-maligned “Godzilla In Name Only” 1998 bastardization, Edwards has obviously tailor-made his Godzilla as a love letter to fans of the “classic” film series, but a few flaws make it an imperfect one. Continue reading