Godzilla: King of The Monsters Review — Charmless, humourless and emotionless

The advancement in CGI technology means that film-makers can generate pretty much anything they want, including dozens of colossal monsters that destroy entire cities. But no one seems to have stopped to ask whether they should. On the basis of this film, the answer would be no. The irony of hyper-realistic monsters is that, if not handled correctly, it is harder to suspend disbelief. And here they are mishandled spectacularly, with massive fight scenes that are entirely lacking tension, poorly choreographed, blurry and difficult to follow. Not to mention CGI footage of entire cities being destroyed in seconds that is so obviously fake it belongs in a video game and not a 200 million dollar blockbuster.

The plot itself is absurdly stupid, even for a Godzilla film, as eco-terrorists hijack MONARCH’s ORCA program (which communicates with the monsters through their ‘bio-frequency’) to unleash the ‘Titans’ on the world. Their plan is to allow the ‘Titans’ to restore the natural order and save the planet from the dastardly, terrible humans, namely by killing most of them. But these eco-terrorists have misjudged the three headed dragon, Monster Zero (later revealed as King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s archnemesis), and his capacity for world annihilation. Enter Godzilla to save humanity. 

Photo: Warner Bros

Once the ‘Titans’ are unleashed upon the world, their destruction is so wanton and widespread that it becomes impossible to care. Aside from the occasional passing TV news report, there is no time or focus placed on the millions of people whose lives are either lost or forever changed by the destruction of the world’s metropolises. By the end, millions, possibly billions, of people are dead and I couldn’t give a damn.

Photo: Warner Bros

The script is so full of cliché that it’s genuinely difficult to understand how this ever left a writer’s room. Practically every scene that isn’t a battle sequence is plot exposition posing as bad dialogue aboard a high-tech flying aircraft carrier or submarine. Not one but two of the main characters die in *heroic* acts of self-sacrifice, one of them after an entirely unjustified and undeserved redemption arc.

Kyle Chandler frequently decides to whisper very quietly because that’s obviously how you make things dramatic and ominous. Bradley Whitford is there purely as comic relief to fill the void of an otherwise humourless spectacle, although whether the jokes were funny or I chuckled purely because I love Bradley Whitford is still unclear.

Charles Dance and Vera Farmiga in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). Photo: Warner Bros

And despite the entire dramatic enterprise of the film being how terrible it was to unleash the ‘Titans’ upon the world, the end credits deliver a message of a world thriving and regenerating from the wanton destruction. A cliché Hollywood message of hope which only ends up negating the premise of the entire film and makes the eco-terrorist Jonah Alan, played by the ever-menacing Charles Dance, look like the visionary saviour of the planet. It’s a pity even his magnificent presence couldn’t save this film. 

Godzilla: King of The Monsters (2019) Rating: 3/10