Godzilla II

What is the movie about? :: Five years have passed after the incidents of the 2014 movie. Godzilla had defeated the creatures mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), saving Earth’s cities and making its way back to the ocean – the questions about a monster saving the city were going to be there as always, and still there is no clear indication of a future co-existence in peace between the two species. Meanwhile at present, Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) works for an organization called Monarch which is tracking, studying and trying to understand Titans, the almost immortal giant monsters which had dominated Earth millions of years ago. Along with her daughter Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown),she is kidnapped by Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) while witnessing the birth of a giant larva which is to become a Titan later, named Mothra.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and other from Monarch approach Dr Mark Russel (Kyle Chandler), Emma’s ex-husband so that they can find her and find a device, the ORCA developed by her, which is capable of talking through frequencies that only Titans can hear. It is revealed that Emma and Jonah intend to free a Titan locked in ice codenamed Monster Zero. Monarch, despite chasing them all the way to an outpost in Antartica, is unable to defeat Jonah, while Emma frees and awakens Monster Zero, a three headed monster with wings and running electrical currents through its body. Releasing lightning from its body and traveling inside hurricane created by itself, the monster goes on to try and become the apex predator, while Godzilla feels the effect of a bio-chemical weapon, going into hibernation only to awaken many years later.

And what more is to happen? :: But now the situation demands the presence of Godzilla. Monster Zero is revealed to be Ghidorah, an ancient alien known to have fallen from the stars, one who has been Godzilla’s primary rival for the position of apex predator. As a creature out of this world, the weapons seems ineffective against it, while the monsters destroy different cities in different parts of the world, controlled by their new king. Godzilla needs all the radioactivity to rise from its chamber located past different wormholes under the ocean, and it is up to humans to take it there and awaken the monster before Ghidorah lays waste to the whole world with his newly found minion creatures. Now the question remains if they can do it in time, and if Godzilla can reclaim its position as the king of the monsters against this alien monster which keeps on evolving.

The defence of Godzilla: King of the Monsters :: There are some nicely made action sequences in the movie, with the giant monsters fighting each other. They fill the screen, and we see those moments of glorious action that takes place. Each monster would seem to have something special that keeps them apart. The same brings us destruction like never before, as we notice that not much of the world is left – the visuals of the world are nice to watch, and the creatures are also nicely created. The myth is nicely created with the monsters being the real owners of this world, and humans just living in here because they are allowed to do so – the creatures becomes nature’s natural defence system against the pollution that is present. Godzilla is referred to as one among the first gods worshiped by humans, and it goes deep like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant did when it talks about the distant past history, for some time. We see this mythology seemingly up for even more.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of repetition from the first movie can be seen here too. Once again, there is the need for Godzilla to save the world, and the early doubts continue to be there until the humans once again decide that it has to be left to the monster except for a little help from mankind. The pattern repeats without remorse, even with more creatures being added to the scene – Godzilla always makes a comeback, and it is up to him to make sure that the balance is maintained. The characters are not that developed, and we don’t really feel anything for them – they never seem to be important, and the need for focusing on them is never felt; Pacific Rim was closer to the humans despite being a monster movie. Some part in the beginning could have also been shortened to make the movie stop at two hours; if humans can’t be interesting, what we can do is to cut a few of them and their moments.

The performers of the soul :: The performances here are dependent on the CGI monsters rather than humans who are restricted, with not much of interesting stories, and with less to do. The way in which the monsters are designed and are depicted in action will always have the best of applause. Among the humans, it is Ken Watanabe who steals the show, as he brings the words of wisdom regarding having faith in Godzilla. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga are caught in a forgettable, predictable story of another family in trouble as if we have not had enough of such tales told in an uninteresting manner. Millie Bobby Brown does have her moments to keep her as someone to look out for the future though. Charles Dance as Alan Jonah makes a strong villain, but we never really get the focus on him, with all these monsters around – as the three-headed dragon-like monster becomes the primary antagonist, he is not there to be seen much, but we expect more from him in any of the upcoming sequels.

How it finishes :: As the holidays come to an end for schools and colleges in this part of the world, and with the final weekend before classes begin, children and youth would love to watch this grand monster effect on the big screen. This can serve as the last moments of escapism before that reality of studies is brought to them – Pacific Rim would agree. Godzilla is all set to go to that place which you saw in Kong: Skull Island and battle King Kong in the next movie, and before that you will feel the need to watch that movie with the giant ape as well as the two Godzilla movies. With the destruction of environment, there seems to be a hidden message about how nature comes up with its own defence system – the three-headed dragon-like monster becoming part of a hurricane only powers it, as does Godzilla being revived by nuclear weapons. The same as a fine addition to a high action monster movie.

Release date: 31st May 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla

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From W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming
“The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
The first thing that came to my mind while looking at that Godzilla poster was this poem, and not Pacific Rim or that movie of the same name from 1998. The same was rather justified by watching the movie, as there was something special about this creature this time, and the deviation from the master of destruction which it was supposed to be, is something which adds more mystery to the same. The mystery about the beast which is mentioned in this poem has kept me thinking throughout my studies of English Literature, and now there is the monster, Godzilla who comes up with the element of mystery and surprise.

What is it about? :: Getting out of that 1919 poem by the Irish poet and coming back to our present scenario, the movie begins with some film reels involving atomic explosion and a huge creature partially rising from under the water. The story belongs to Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) though, a military officer specialized in bomb disposal married to his beautiful wife and a nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), having one son. When his father Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is arrested in Japan for trespassing into a quarantined area, he travels there and gets him out of prison, only to join him in the mission to find how his mother died at the same place long ago. But as they get inside the area, they find out that there is actually nothing like the radiation at a place when a nuclear disaster had taken place, and it is not quarantined to save people, but to hide a huge secret which can change the future of mankind forever. The secret will soon be revealed inside a secret complex area, but as it comes to light, there might actually be no real hope for humanity. There will be chaos and destruction unleashed on the world as monsters awaken, and the beginning of all this was years ago.

The defence of Godzilla :: I can’t remember much from the 1998 movie, but from what I can recollect, this is surely a big improvement. Well, as I was a kid at that time, it wouldn’t have been of much use if I had an opinion at that time too. Well, this Godzilla is different, and a big change is that the humanity is not really fighting Godzilla this time, even as there is no denial of confrontations and rockets fired, with destruction caused. Now, that should be a surprise, and the number of monstrous entities should be more than you expect. Unlike Pacific Rim, the movie also has a dark style and there is the more powerful terror element at work. The creatures are designed to look terrifying, and they serve their purpose as they become harbingers of death and destruction with their size and lethal power. There is absolutely nothing funny about their presence or the whole movie as it keeps the seriousness and the atmosphere of horror throughout, between great action supported by the special effects and background score. It is a nice introduction that has been given to the younger audience about this monster who hasn’t graved the screen for sometime. They goes on with the story really well, and there is a lot of suspense built around what is happening around.

The claws of flaw :: Godzilla has released after Pacific Rim; it is not much of a flaw as both deals with the monsters in a different way, but that should hurt a bit for the audience. If this had come before Pacific Rim, that might have actually helped both movies. This should still gross more than the 2013 monster-robot extravaganza, thanks to the title referring to the king of monsters, already running houseful here. There is also no denying a certain amount of slow start to the things unlike Pacific Rim which pounces directly into the action scene. The human characters don’t really impress, and there is no dialogue which will cause an adrenaline rush. The nature-related theme is not fully explored, and this could have actually had a message about the need to preserve environment and get rid of the nuclear warheads. There is a certain amount of uncertainty on what the director was actually planning to bring to the audience; Pacific Rim was certain about it, but not this movie. If it had focused better on the human characters or kept the focus completely on the creatures, this surely would have worked even better. After all, everybody wants to see the giant creatures on the big screen.

Performers of the soul :: Our main hero is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it seems to work on most occasions except for a few when he turns wooden. One would still feel that the character has come alive just because there was the need for a hero in this movie. Elizabeth Olsen plays the less explored character of his wife and doesn’t get much attention; neither should be anything memorable. They will be seen together as siblings, or the super-powered evil twins in The Avengers 2 as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; she played a character attracted to her father in Oldboy – she surely is having a strange combination of characters to play; but unlike Oldboy, she has almost nothing to do that actually affects the movie here, and that should be a let down. The rest of the cast also has very less to do, as this is the world of the monsters where humans become spectators most of the time, and even when they are doing something, the effects are minimal. Even as the monsters come quite late, this slow and steady sacrifice of human characters start very early in the movie and goes on to the end. Well, the monsters need to scare and kill a lot of people, so there is that purpose.

Soul exploration :: The movie shows Godzilla as a force of nature, something that is beyond humans to stop, but the same can also be said about the other creatures. The fact that these creatures feed on radiation is something to be noted. Thus the movie is indirectly a message against the problem that the nuclear power can cause, and the creatures of radiation are rather the symbols of the evil that can be brought upon the current society by the development of science and technology which have been used in such a manner that it makes things convenient, but not better. Godzilla is referred to as a force of nature (that reminds me of what an article called the cricketers Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi a long time ago), and he becomes that force of nature which will bring balance on Earth, whether its enemies are other creatures or the human beings themselves. Well, Godzilla is nothing like the other two creatures which belong to one species, one being the smaller male with wings and the other being the bigger female, stronger without wings. The force of nature is rather the great equalizer, which makes its own choices and takes sides. That is what makes this monster so different and gives the viewers so much to look forward to. Yes, men think that they can control nature with science, but it is indeed the other way around!

How it finishes :: We were given two Malayalam movies with big stars this weekend in the form of How Old Are You and Mr. Fraud and it is a big decision to choose this one over them, but that won’t be too difficult at many places as they would be already booked. The crowd for Godzilla assures the success of the movie, but also makes sure that the two movies I mentioned are already houseful. Godzilla might have lesser audience in the weekdays, but seems to be good enough to stay above par. If you liked Pacific Rim, you will surely like this one too, and the degree of the liking shall depend on what you need, a light action thriller with style or a dark horror thriller with action, Godzilla fitting to the latter detail. Lets take some time to spare some time for these creatures from the depths of Earth, not just the alpha predator which is Godzilla, but the other two mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)! Yet there is one more thing to remember, and that is about the minuteness of humanity against the universe and its secrets, and lets not consider science and technology as the greatest achievement of humanity; it is rather the respect of the fellow humans, environment and the other creatures that should interest us.

Release date: 16th May 2014
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.