Friday, December 31, 2021

#2,686. Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) - Godzilla / Kong Mini-Marathon


Promising a battle for the ages, Godzilla Vs. Kong continues the trend set in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters: cringe-inducing dialogue, a ridiculous story, and kick-ass battle sequences that somehow make the shortcomings worthwhile.

After laying low for three years, Godzilla suddenly resurfaces in Pensacola, Florida, where he attacks and destroys a facility owned by Apex Cybernetics. Fearing that the mighty Titan may have turned on mankind, Apex CEO and founder Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) enlists the help of Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), a geologist who developed the “Hollow Earth” theory, which asserts that the Titans originated in a vast underground world located miles below the earth’s surface. It’s Simmons hope that a new power source, one strong enough to defeat Godzilla, exists in the Hollow Earth realm, and he convinces Dr. Lind to lead an expedition into this unexplored realm.

Looking for a titan to guide them to this lost world, Dr. Lind contacts Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a Monarch scientist who, along with her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), has spent years studying the mighty Kong in an artificial habitat. Dr. Andrews agrees to “lend” Kong to Apex, all the while fearing that Godzilla, Kong’s natural enemy, may track them down before they reach their destination.

As Apex is busy pinning its hopes on Kong, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), daughter of Monarch’s deputy director of special projects Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), believes that Godzilla must have had a reason for attacking the Apex facility. Along with her friend Josh (Julian Dennison) and Apex employee / conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), Madison infiltrates the Apex organization and makes a startling discovery, one that could potentially lead to the total annihilation of Godzilla, Kong, and all the titans.

In spite of the hackneyed storyline (I’m not a scientist, but even I know that some of the “science” thrown around in this movie is preposterous) and a few obvious characters (Bichir’s Walter Simmons is your typical, mustache-twirling villain), Godzilla vs, Kong does offer viewers a bit more than two giant monsters duking it out. Having played a major role in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Millie Bobby Brown is once again solid as Madison, who is convinced Godzilla was provoked into attacking Apex, and Brian Tyree Henry damn near steals the show as Bernie, whose wild theories may not be as far-fetched as he makes them sound.

As for “Team Kong, Rebecca Hall does a fine job as Kong’s caretaker, but the film’s most endearing character is Jia, played by young deaf actress Kaylee Hottle, who, despite having never acted before, has moments that will tug at your heartstrings in a big way (Jia is able to communicate with Kong via sign language, and their relationship is easily the most potent in the entire film).

Ultimately, though, the only two characters that matter in Godzilla vs. Kong are the titans themselves, and the special effects used to bring these mighty creatures to life are awe-inspiring. Godzilla starts things off with a bang by attacking the Apex plant in Pensacola, and the various scenes with Kong, especially his journey into Hollow Earth, are simply amazing. It’s their epic battles, however, that make Godzilla vs, Kong such a fun ride. Their encounter at sea, during which Godzilla attacks a ship transporting Kong to Antarctica (where the doorway into Hollow Earth is believed to be) is a thrill-a-minute, as is the fight between the two that reduces Hong Kong to rubble, an epic final act that also features the appearance of a third giant monster!

The budget for Kong vs, Godzilla was a reported $160 million, and while it’s safe to say that very little of that money went into polishing the script, it was the perfect amount to create jaw-dropping effects, which this movie has in spades.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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