Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Film review of the fantasy and going back to the cinema

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Standard

Action/adventure/fantasy

star rating 3 out of 5 worth watching

Film review, by Jason Day, of Godzilla vs. Kong, the fantasy spectacular about a titanic battle between rreptile Godzilla and gorilla King Kong. Starring Alexander Skarsgård and directed by Adam Wingard.

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Synopsis

Continuing the Godzilla and King Kong movie franchises…a truly titanic battle ensues when scientists lure the mighty reptile Godzilla to the vicinity of the gargantuan gorilla King Kong. It’s up to plucky scientists Nathan (Alexander Skarsgård) and Ilena (Rebecca Hall) to get Kong to his home, an upside-down land of monsters at the centre of the Earth, in a bid to save the day.

Review, by @Reelreviewer

If this wasn’t contributing to world destruction, this would be a great DJ booth.

Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) surveys a secretive science company’s offices.

Well, I’ve moaned about cinemas being closed for long enough, so guess who was (more or less) first in the queue on Monday 17 May when, in line with other pandemic restrictions being lifted, my local multiplex opened…?!

YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

A new cinematic experience?

As you can tell, it was me and I was somewhat excited about a very strange experience for ‘me and my pal’ who came along with me, BBC Radio Northampton presenter Helen Blaby (she presents the show my ‘Monday Movies’ review slot features in, at 5:40pm each week).

I ventured into unchartered territory visiting Vue cinema in Northampton, a small distance from my usual cinematic stomping ground of Cineworld. I had planned to take reams of pictures and videos to mark the day but, walking toward the front doors, it was like I was floating on air.

The short walk home after a longer than anticipated wait.

Was this a dream? There have been so many false starts with cinemas opening again, I let my inner autopilot take over to protect me from further disappointment.

Was a new and unforeseen Covid protocol going to jump out from the behind the pot plants and bite me on the ass?

Would I have to pass through some strange and convoluted decontamination procedure like the plucky scientists in The Andromeda Strain (1971)?

There were a few people trekking to the Vue with me and a bit of noise in the corridor, but I hardly heard them…after all, I was on a mission!

There was a small queue of people to the left of me, busy sorting themselves out, sanitising their hand and other corona-rituals. But clever me had booked tickets online beforehand – something I never usually do – and, identified as such by a member of staff, I was quickly moved to the right, had the ticket on my phone scanned, directed to sanitise my hands as well, put my mask on and then walked right into the cinema screen.

All in all, one minute door to door.

The wrong queue! Make sure you book ahead.

There’s the big bit of advice to take away. For those of you not fully versed on the need to really prepare before venturing ‘out out’ and even though I loathe pre-booking cinema tickets (it ruins the spontaneity of the cinematic experience), if you want your cinema relatively hassle free, buy your tickets before you arrive.

The auditorium itself is socially distanced but, according to new government restrictions, you can sit next to a friend or with your ‘rule of six’/two households people. Your fellow ‘cinepatrons’ will be sat at an appropriate distance from you. ‘Coronacinema’, it seems, has real benefits!

Home, sweet home!

One thing you definitely shouldn’t do: no matter how happy you are with the service (and Vue, Northampton was very well organised, with friendly well-brief staff), don’t hug them or any random people!

The movie itself

Over to the lady for the first views on Godzilla vs. Kong:

“It was enjoyable nonsense. The perfect way to spend a couple of hours in what felt, at first, like an alien environment. After 10 minutes, it felt a bit like coming home.

“The film won’t win any awards for plausibility, but was totally worth seeing for the escapism.”

I’ll pick up on Helen’s final sentence because, even though the plot is utter tosh, movies like this ‘do what they say on the tin’. I didn’t go to Vue expecting a 5/5 star classic with excellent plotting, dialogue and believable, serious performances. I wanted a big, colourful, loud, special effects strewn production that entertains rather than enthralls.

That’s what I wanted…and that’s what I got.

Is this movie actually a comedy? There’s a redeeming laugh factor to it and some good one-liners for the cast (most of them going to the brilliant Brian Tyree Henry). If you take what looks like unintentional hilarity (like Skarsgard’s jaw-dropping as he, his spaceship and Kong freefall and stare at each other; the robot called ‘Mega-Godzilla’) as deliberately scripted and staged comedy, this is more enjoyable than a straight-up fantasy flick.

In Skarsgard’s defence, most of the actors pull the same face at some point in the movie.

This movie also won’t win awards for for abiding by any known laws of physics or logic (Kong ‘surfing’ on a battleship, anyone?!) but, who cares? In days like these, I’m just happy to see any film at an actual cinema and like many others, am glad of the opportunity to be out somewhere different to where restrictions have allowed us up until now.

Long may Kong, Godzilla and the multiplex reign!

Cast & credits

Director: Adam Wingard. 1hr 53 mins/113 mins. Legendary Entertainment/Warner Bros. (12a).

Producers: Alex Garcia, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull.
Writers: Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein.
Camera: Ben Seresin.
Music: Junkie XL.
Sets: Tom Hammock, Owen Paterson.

Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Kaylee Hottle.

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