A film review by Cliff Homewood

We all know what this film is about don’t we?  the title tells you.  It’s a love story.  You do know ‘x’ stands for kiss? There was no love greater than theirs. They start the film separated. Living on two different Earths (one subterranean), if they get together it will be fireworks.  At the end they have a lover’s tiff and Mothra is called in to adjudicate.

Godzilla may come first in the title but its more Kong’s movie. But Pink Godzilla loves him so it’s ok. And he is accompanied by a little monkey that is a little monkey. So they have a child. Just give Pinkzilla space and they will work it out. Godzilla was given a pink spine as it was the Director’s favourite colour and he wanted him to look colourful like an 80s toy.

Director Adam Wingard states, ‘We have these kinds of concurrent storylines in the movie, we’ve got the human story led by Jia, and you have Kong who’s on his own journey, and what’s cool about that is that both of them are kind of on mirror expeditions and going through, thematically, a similar kind of evolution as they explore Hollow Earth. Both of them start in the same place. They’re both lonely. They both feel disconnected from the world around them, and this movie is about their journeys, which occasionally intersect.’ He continues, ‘Suko, or Baby Kong as he’s also known, it is really the heart and soul of the movie. He’s like Baby Yoda, but if Baby Yoda was going to eat the skin off of your face.’

I wasn’t sure what to expect as Godzilla x Kong had mixed reviews but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  You know what you are getting but not the quality of the piece. Characters are drawn quickly and adeptly. Kong has a good heart. A family bond centres the piece: between Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the last of her tribe. The film is a bit predictable in places. Then there’s the cool character, Crisp Ratt, sorry, Chris Pratt, playing hip music wherever he goes. Dan Stevens, who’d previously worked with Wingard on The Guest, plays him, commenting, ‘The thing I loved about Trapper is that he’s got this sort of wonderful world philosophy that this planet is our home … It’s our responsibility to look after it. Home can be everywhere, with anyone.’

Then we’ve the podcast nerd who’s a bit of a coward, Bernie Hayes; ‘Bernie thought that he would get a deeper understanding of Hollow Earth and the Titans, and if you look at him throughout the movie, he spends most of the movie regretting his decision to go down there,’ actor Brian Tyree Henry shared, ‘What I do love, though, is the connection of family and home in this one. You see all of our characters will create their own little family amongst each other. You have Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle and their connection as mother and daughter, with Kaylee trying to find out where she’s from. Bernie, not having any one home anymore and trying to find a connection, and even Kong … Kong is trying to figure out who he is and where his identity lies because he’s been alone for so long. So, I think that’s what’s interesting about this movie and the concept of home is like this: You have to leave all of the things you thought you knew behind to discover what’s in front of you.’

The characters are inhabited well and engaged from the start. From the days of Bob Hope, the coward has been a bit of comic relief. No one does it better than Kevin Hart currently, mining for maximum laughs, but Brian Tyree Henry is very relatable and gets laughs, it can’t always be Kevin Hart. Then you have Alex Ferns as Mikael, the rough pilot.  The characters may be somewhat clichéd, but it’s because they work. Like the Jumanji series which also features a solid base of characters in an adventure: the exploration of an exotic world. The film reminded me of my childhood love of The Land that Time Forgot (The Film that Time Forgot?) and At The Earth’s Core. As much as I love Jurassic Park there’s something missing there. That bought dinosaurs into our world, contained and safe, it may not be safe if you are on the island with them, but a film is more exciting if you go into their world, where you are venturing into the unknown, unsure of what might be around the next corner.

Adam Wingard, who’d proved himself a good director with The Guest, states, ‘I got to the end of Godzilla vs. Kong, and I felt like I was just getting the swing of it. Not just in terms of the visual effects themselves, but the ins and outs of having the confidence to know what an eyeline for a monster should be from somebody on the ground level and everything in between. I came into this film knowing more about how to use the tools and with the desire to really push the visual effects and the animation.. It’s almost like this one’s almost a spoof of the last one. It’s dead serious the last time when you’re flying in there. And it was fun to be like, ‘What’s it like when Bernie goes through it?’ So we played it from his perspective. It’s almost like very similar, shot for shot from the last movie, but it’s a completely different feel.’

Early on this film shows a great imagination from Godzilla’s choice of habitat to Kong’s choice of weapon.  The soundtrack is effective, making the big bad guy feel scary for instance.  The final battle could do with a bit more clarity of how events unfold and the whole thing is confusingly bashy bashy in places. Wait a minute, how did she get here?  But a film called Godzilla x Kong isn’t meant to be taken too seriously … it’s set inside a Hollow Earth for goodness sake!  Jeesh.  Do prisoners tunnelling their way out in our world fall through the ceiling? Is it raining men? No, it’s big dumb fun as you want and expect from such a movie.

Takashi Yamazaki, director of Godzilla Minus One (one of last year’s best films), said, ‘It is super fun and gorgeous. Be sure to watch it on the big screen.’

‘It’s time to be able for the first time ever to do a movie that lets the monsters tell their own story from their own point of view,’ Wingard says. Considering Godzilla x Kong has the biggest box office opening this year so far, he already has ideas for a third. The previous being called GvK made this GxK, so that make’s the third GyK? Right?