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Movie corner: ‘Godzilla’ muddles along

By HOWARD McQUITTER II

oldschoolmovies.wordpress.com

howardmcquitter68@gmail.com

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019) 

** of 5

Warner Bros.

San Francisco, a city that’s become one of exorbitancy in recent years, where homelessness is all too common and billionaire corporations line the skyline like ducks in a row, five years ago had to rebuild the city costing billions of dollars and several thousand lives because of one humongous lizard called Godzilla.  He roamed through the city doing as much damage as an earhquake or a tsunami. With all the military might against the beast he left the city on his own terms. Godzilla years earlier would attack Japan leaving so much havoc the scientists there spent every ounce of their brain power to come up with a way to kill Godzilla. 

Thanks to director Ishiro Hondo, who created the Godzilla (Gojira in Japanese) in 1954, in black and white – though, not to be outdone, other Japanese directors made Godzilla movies adding some monsters like Morthra, Rodan and Ghidorah. (I’ve been a fan of Godzilla, a creature growing out-of-proportion because of nuclear tests by the U.S. and U.S.S.R. [now known as Russia].) 

I cannot endorse Michael Doougherty’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” if for no other reason than some of its main character, such as the Russell family Mark (Kyle Chandler), Dr. Emma (Vera Farmiga) and their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) feel unduly superficial getting in the way of the experienced military at times. As dysfunctional as these three are I have to cut Emma  and Madison some slack because they are kidnapped for the untried formula ORCA, the thing that’s suppose to communicate with themonsters, not just Godzilla but Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah ( the three- headed dragon). Over cable TV we see other humongous monsters going on their own in other countries on other continents causing destruction. But where do these other monsters other than Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah end up?

Where Gareth Edwards’  “Godzilla” (2014) made much more sense and more inviting with a more solid plot, Dougherty’s version muddled along even though a few scenes are quite good – the movie doesn’t hold up.

Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Carson Bolde (his character died in the 2014 movie) and Juliette Binoche are missing  in Dougherty’s version and that maybe telling. 

Japan is spared from Dougherty’s “Godzilla” and that’s a good thing. I saw a trailer for” Shin Godzilla”, from Japan which looks amazing featuring the oversized lizard with lots more weapons to fight the top military answers.

In fact, “Shin Godzilla” is so real it’s the scarcest “Godzilla” on record.

Cast: Vera Farmiga (Dr. Emma), Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ishiro), Sally Hawkins  (Dr. Vivienne Graham), Kyle Chandler (Mark Russell), Millie Bobby Brown (Madison Russell), Bradley Whitford (Dr. Stanton), Thomas Middleditch (Sam Coleman), Charles Dance (Alan Jonah), O’ Shea Jackson, Jr. (Chief Warrant Officer Barnes), Aisha Hinds (Elizabeth Ludlow), Ziyi Zhang (Dr. Chen),Anthony Ramos (Staff Sergeant Martinez).Director: Michael Dougherty.

Running time: 131 minutes.

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