April 6, 2021 – I knew this was going to be a big, dumb action movie, but it is even bigger and dumber than I expected. It is also fun to watch as pure escapism.
The story builds on previous movies and stories in this series, which date as back as 1925 (“The Lost World,” based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 book) “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1959, based on Jules Verne's 1864 novel) and, of course, “Godzilla” (1954) and “King Kong” (1933).
In recent years, there is a new series of so-called “cinematic monsterverse” films building up towards this one, including “Godzilla” (2014) “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019).
This latest film combines elements from most of the films above, and many more, including many of the Japanese Godzilla sequels, particularly the creepy notion of very young girls having mystical connections to giant monsters.
The story begins with Kong trying to break out of something like a giant “Truman Show” cage. The only thing that calms him down is, yeah, communing with a very young girl, Jia (played by Kaylee Hottle, who was eight years old at the time of filming) who can communicate with Kong, even though she cannot speak.
Jia's mother, Kong expert Ilene Andrews (played by Rebeccah Hall of “The BFG”) not only lets Jia play in Kong's cage, but puts her in danger so often during this movie the that the odds of her survival are not promising.
Godzilla, who had been peaceful in recent years, suddenly attacks the facilities of a private company, Apex Cybernetics, in Florida. The company uses the attack to justify recruiting scientists to undertake a crazy journey to the center of the earth through secret tunnels to find a power source that can be used to defeat Godzilla.
The journey involves anti-gravity vehicles and Kong, who is supposed to guide the way to the energy source. None of this makes any sense, but it even gets sillier, when a couple of kids, played by Millie Bobby Brown (“Enola Holmes”) and Julian Dennison (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) team up with a renegade conspiracy theorist, Bernie Hayes (played by Brian Tyree Henry of “Superintelligence”) to investigate suspicious goings on at Apex Cybernetics.
The story includes the journey to the center of the earth, a battle of three giant monsters, including one that is a Frankenstein-like artificial creation, high speed international travel through secret underground tunnels, telepathy, anti-gravity vehicles, gravity-reversal zones and a creature that can drill a hole halfway through the earth using only his very bad breath. Its just crazy.
There is almost no character development in this story, and the characters behave in ways that make very little sense. The giant monsters seem to be more rational than the people in this movie. In terms of action and epic scale, it is impressive, however, and the film has a number of comic elements that lighten the tone.
This movie is an unserious, fanciful adventurous romp that works as pure escapism. It is proving to be a popular antidote the pandemic blues. This film rates a C+.
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