by Andrew Zerman, staff writer
King Kong is perhaps the most famous non-human movie character in Hollywood history. Godzilla may as well be the most iconic cinematic creature to originate from Japan. These two characters came together for the first time in nearly 60 years in the recent release of Godzilla vs. Kong, and it is nothing short of spectacular.
The crossover last occurred in the 1962 Japanese film Godzilla vs. King Kong. This was an era in which computer-generated imagery (CGI) was not a thing, and people dressed up in costumes to play the creatures.
It is safe to say that technology has evolved since then. Godzilla vs. Kong has top notch visual effects, and due to the overwhelming presence of the creatures, the humans are relegated to roles with little dialogue.
The movie opens with King Kong searching for a new habitat. He is aided by human volunteers such as Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgaard) and an orphan girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle).
As Kong ventures across the sea, Godzilla is destroying cities for no apparent reason. The two characters meet in the middle of the ocean, and their battles take up a good chunk of the film. But, there is a bigger villain in this movie who shows that you do not have to be a monster to do monstrous things.
King Kong has historically functioned as a tragic hero who loves women, while Godzilla has functioned as a destroyer of cities. Their roles do not change in this film, but surely enough, Godzilla ends up being a misunderstood character.
Lost in the mix are numerous subplots involving the human characters. One subplot involves tech worker Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry.). He is the character that everyone initially shoves away as crazy because he spends his spare time talking about conspiracy theories on a podcast. He is also the one character who cracks jokes during more serious situations.
The visual effects are spectacular. You would hope that would be the case, though, because the budget is an estimated $200 million according to IMDb. It uses special effects akin to Interstellar with regards to how it portrays alternate worlds — yes, the movie does take us to places other than Earth. The movie also makes great use of underwater CGI, a relatively new technology. These budget-heavy films devote the most effort to visual effects. If one is looking for deep character development, I would not recommend watching this film.
The movie also has a great score. It has tranquil melodies in between the action scenes. The music during the battle scenes exist to pump blood and stir excitement into the minds of the viewers. However, the action music can be a bit drum-heavy at times.
This movie extends beyond merely “good” and into greatness that neither franchise has seen since Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong in 2005.
Godzilla vs. Kong proved to be a worthwhile in-theater experience during the pandemic, and I am looking forward to the much-anticipated sequel that is already in development.