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“Godzilla” 2019: Great action, weak script

3.5 STARS OUT OF 5 (Want to know exactly what our star ratings mean? Check out our explanations here.)

When I was a kid, I loved monster movies, especially the Godzilla and King Kong films. Monster movies always got me excited and hyped, and while watching the new Godzilla film, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” I felt like a kid again. Classic monsters — Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah to name a few — go head to head with one another in a battle for supremacy over the globe. The last Godzilla film (2014, directed by Gareth Edwards) was pretty good, but audience members were frustrated that Godzilla didn’t show up until the end of the film; the monster had seven minutes of screen time total.

Rodan, a Titan in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”

I myself thought that the 2014 movie was entertaining enough to be above average, but this new film is definitely a huge improvement over the first. There is lots more action and plenty of Godzilla screen time. The film actually is continued from “Kong: Skull Island,” (2017) which was awesome, as well as “Godzilla” (2014).

The plot centers around a group of environmentalists who are part of a top secret project called the Monarch Initiative. Among the human characters involved in the new adventure are doctors Mark and Emma Russell, played by Kyle Chandler (Super 8) and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring 1, 2). Their daughter Madison, played by Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), lost her brother five years earlier due to the events in the first “Godzilla”.

Emma and eco-terrorist/mercenary Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) awaken the monster Ghidorah in an attempt to erase humanity and allow the planet to return to its “natural” state, though Jonah also wants to use the creature for his personal gain. They end up losing several other Titans on the world as well — huge monsters who have been around since before the dinosaurs, of whom Ghidorah and Godzilla are both members.

The cast of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”

The film was directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick or Treat) who co-wrote the script. Dougherty clearly isn’t concerned with the story but with the action set pieces. While the film does these very well it lacks a story and screenplay. The visual effects team is the one to praise here, and the sound effects team as well. The attention to detail of the creatures are spectacular and almost saves the film from being too bland from its weak script — the final battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah is the film’s highlight. The studio seemed to want to keep the Toho Studios tradition (the creators of the original Godzilla in 1954) of more fighting action and less logic or storyline, possibly in deference to fans’ complaints of too much storyline in the previous “Godzilla”.

The quality of the film thus ultimately depends on what you’re looking for in a movie: if you want action, you will get lots of it, if you want a great story and script look elsewhere.

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