Apparently Matt The Catania recently had another birthday. So I did what anybody who forgets an important milestone does & fled to Skull Island with The Wages of Cinema! Andrew was back this week so my presence was superfluous! Listen to us geek out over kaiju films after the halfway mark!
This is a movie that really surprised me. Since the dolorous adventure of King Kong has been told by Hollywood thrice (& once in a book illustrated by Anthony Browne), there’s no reason for another remake. Even if WB made this movie just to segue into King Kong v. Godzilla: Dawn of Destroy All Monsters, Kong doesn’t have that much context that he needs a whole introductory movie. Despite my initial thoughts, I left Kong: Skull Island hungry for more ape awesomeness! This should appease anyone upset by the budgetary restrictions of the CW’s jaunt to Gorilla City. I skipped their attempt at Gojira, but now sign me for the Legendary Monsterverse! I guess we should call it the Kaijuverse or MONARCHverse to distinguish this from the resurrection of the Universal Monsterverse.
Shin Gojira a.k.a. Shin Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence is the first Godzilla film I’ve actually seen in a cinema. It wasn’t what I expected from a kaiju movie, but it turned out to be a welcome palate cleanser. Thankfully only a few brief scenes are found footage, which is somehow a revolutionary notion to Hollywood.
I was wary about the film since the title monster is uncharacteristically grotesque. Much like how the MCU’s Abomination looks less like the comic character than a roided out zombie (or DC’s Doomsday), J-Horror Gojira is made of melty broccoli. (Young Justice’s Kobra-Venom infused Mammoth is another apt visual comparison.) It will randomly drown you in its own blood before blasting you with the atomic rave rays randomly shooting out of its dorsal spines. I actually preferred its debut form as gawky amphibian that instinctively smashes its googly-eyed face through buildings like my cat opening doors with her mind. Instead of being a separate appetizer kaiju, this “evolves” itself into a slightly more traditional yet icky Godzilla. (Actually it acclimates or mutates, as evolution applies to species not individuals.) So this Gojira could probably be defeated by a Pokeball.
There’s some attempt at biological realism, mostly via a hoopy frood who really knows where is pink towel is, that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There’s a giant origami to explain how Gojira somehow metabolizes energy from the atmosphere, making its entire mouth superfluous. Luckily the largest Gojira thus far (the film acknowledges that its feet shouldn’t be able to support it, then ignores this structural improbability) goes into torpor long enough for the plucky misfit GULF committee to devise a scientific strategy to stop it. Despite being made by the man that brought you Neon Genesis Evangelion, the solution doesn’t even involve giant mech suits piloted by neurotic teens!
This is both the least & most complicated Godzilla movie I’ve seen. It’s a hard reboot where the entire plot is vanquishing Godzilla & there’s no other kaiju. What makes it complex is the level of bureaucracy involved in accomplishing this. (What ever happened to the good old days of green ape aliens trying to conquer the world by framing Gojira with a robot duplicate that can only be defeated by partnering with an ancient magical monster?) A Gojira film suffused with red tape is something I never realized I needed until I saw it. Somehow it escalates from dull obligation to Gilliamesque satire to bureaucracy inspiration porn. In addition to subtitled dialogue, every scene contains onscreen captions for character names, their official ranks, & the scene location down to the room & floor. It’s the greatest love letter to unnecessary OCD labeling since Batman ’66. This has walk & talk’s too! GO TEAM BUREAUCRACY!