Monday, September 23, 2019

Litany of Godzilla – Legendary’s Legendary Return



Three stomps and a roar open the show, harkening back to the 1954 original let us know this is gonna be good!



Flashback to 2014 with some modifications: Godzilla is in plain sight, slightly larger at a whopping 393 feet, has real Godzilla claws instead of dopey sauropod feet, and properly shaped dorsal plates. These are further indications that director Michael Dougherty is an awesome and true Godzilla fan and the rest of the film will continue in this way, bringing modern effects, technology and music to what made us all classic Godzilla fans in the first place.

Woo!

Behaviorist Dad and Communications Mom search the rubble carrying Morgan Stark and fail to find Dead Son.

NOW.

Morgan Stark has aged to be Eleven (the person not the age), she simultaneously secretly emails to check on estranged Behaviorist Dad, suspiciously questions Communications Mom and sets the kitchen on fire.  Responding to an alarm (louder than the smoke alarm) reveals she and Mom are  in a Monarch location in China and a giant egg is hatching inside the temple next door.  Out comes a ginormous irritated caterpillar. The numerical designation of the base is 61. Like most of them, it is keyed to the Kaiju’s first year of appearance. Woo!

Communications Mom calms Mothra down (for it is she) with the Orca device and a familiar theme song is heard.  Woo!  The Maguffin’s name is a much better tribute to Jaws than HIDING GODZILLA FOR AN ENTIRE MOVIE! (I may not have worked through all my issues with the 2014 film.)
Evil Mercenaries storm the base led by Ra’s Al Numsie, kill everyone else and take Eleven, Communications Mom and the Orca with them.

News of this interrupts a congressional review of Monarch causing British Scientist (from the last movie) Doctor Serizawa (no, not that one) and Doofy Scientist to rush out.  Since they were in the middle of explaining that Monarch doesn't need military assistance or control at the moment a group of armed thugs broke into the first (of what will be several) sites, “poor timing” doesn't begin to cover it.

The three meeting leavers rush off to the forest to find Behaviorist Dad, because he has a better chance to find his estranged family than their global scientist and paramilitary filled organization.  OK then.

At the awesome, giant underwater Monarch base hidden in an oil rig used to track Godzilla, (Outpost 54, naturally, and armed with masers! woo!) we learn why they didn’t want military interference…they have their own army run by Colonel Boss Lady. It consists of three named people (Latin Soldier Guy, Awesome Pilot Lady, and Ice Cube Junior), and a horde of Kaiju food.  We also meet two other exposition providing experts, Snarky Audio Guy, and Spooky Asian Mythologist.

Godzilla swims by to flash his plates and pull an impressive jump scare before swimming off though the hollow earth to the rest of the movie. Behaviorist Dad figures out that Mothra was a diversion and Ra’s Al Numsie must be going for something bigger, because Behavior! When he mentions “something bigger” everyone in the room suddenly looks like they wet themselves.

Considering the size of the military force that Monarch calls up to get munched on, stepped on, and otherwise monsterized in this film, you have to wonder where they all are, as only a handful are guarding the Antarctic base with a familiar and super colossal huge multi-headed shadow encased in the ice.  The base is Outpost 32 (as a reference to one more after Carpenter’s The Thing but my daughter insists it's a shout out to “Three heads, two tails.”) The shadow is referred to as the equally familiar, “Monster Zero.” (Woo!)

The Monarch strike team reaches the base in what must be a ridiculously fast flying wing before the bad guys can complete their plan.  Behaviorist Dad doesn’t trust the paramilitary strike team and runs out into the ice to save his estranged family from the deadly mercenaries armed with a single stolen pistol.  Good luck with that.

Amazingly, he comes pretty close to achieving his goal. That is until we learn 

HOLY CRAP!!!! Communications Mom is working WITH Ra’s Al Numsie!! 


when she blows up the ice freeing the main antagonist of the film (and the franchise, honestly).   She and Eleven leave with the mercenaries while Behaviorist Dad goes after them in a dramatic elevator chase scene. (Really!)   Since he’s not a total jerk, and we need them for the rest of the movie, he reverses his elevator to rescue many named characters.

The good guys arrive on the surface and head into one of their osprey aircraft while a group of “Not the Military” Monarch soldiers look nervous. And well they should as, in all its two tailed, three headed, golden scaled glory, all 521 feet of King Ghidorah rises out of the ice, to his new chanting monk accompanied orchestral theme. All of that size is apparent,yet he is able to interact with the humans because the effects and performance capture are that good. (Woo!) 

One of the “soldiers” appropriately drops the sole PG-13 allowed F-bomb right before Ghidorah’s gravity beams vaporize the squad.

With a hint of his Ifukube theme, Godzilla makes an impressive entrance out of the ocean and the two ancient enemies have a truly awesome battle on the ice shelf. 

Note: I will reference Godzilla’s Theme and March in this piece, they both are often part of single musical cues but there is a difference.
His theme is the slower one that goes- “BWOM, bwom bwom bwom bwom BWOOOOMMMMMM!”
While the march is the faster one that goes- “Dun dun dun, Dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun DUN dun dun”
Thank you.

The battle is viewed from far enough to see it, and also from the close up humans' eye view.  This is much to the dismay of the osprey, and especially British Scientist (from the last movie) who gets stepped on by Monster Zero forcing us to worry about the other named characters for the rest of the film.

The Big G takes a bit of a beating and has to swim off after his flying foe who vanishes in a category six hurricane.  Given they’ve nearly been (or have been in some cases) trod on by skyscraper sized monsters, we can forgive the Monarch Gang for not panicking at the moment about a category SIX HURRICANE.

The good guys regroup in the Flying Wing and try to make sense of what happened.  Behaviorist Dad says it was definitely Communications Mom who pulled the trigger.  The Monarch gang isn’t sure they believe him, until Communications Mom facetimes to explain she’s releasing the Titans (Kaiju) to save the earth from humans.  They all call her an idiot (justified), and Spooky Asian Mythologist calls her a bitch. (Equally justified.)

Her and Ra’s Al Numsie’s next target is in a volcano in Mexican outpost 56.  Hmmm, “56,” a volcano? who could it be? 

Rodan bursts out of the volcano in what may be the best entrance of the film.  He’s partially made of stone and lava now, because an 871 foot wingspan pterodactyl just wasn’t cool enough for these kids today. (Woo!)

The Monarch Gang are coordinating evacuation and freaking out because they realize that Monster Zero isn’t hiding in the Category Six storm, he’s generating it and steering it. Dang!  It’s also heading towards Rodan, leading to the first fully rendered airborne Kaiju fight.  This is good as Rodan was practically smirking as he tore through Monarch’s “not the air force” fighter jets.  Things go poorly for the winged one with a single head.  Luckily Godzilla leaps out of the ocean and takes the three headed evil one down into his turf before he can take out the Osprey, the Flying Wing and everyone we’ve met so far.

The real King Kaiju rips off one of his foe’s heads (Kevin) and looks about ready to win. Sadly, the military are always idiots in these films and General Previous Movie fires the Oxygen Destroyer (Woo!) at both Kaiju.  It kills a bunch of fish (like it does) and probably Godzilla (like it does) but not Monster Zero (like it doesn't).  Nice one there General Previous Movie.

King Ghidorah regrows his head (whoah!) as he assumes a place of power atop the volcano with lighting shooting everywhere, and a cross in the foreground, just in case the “Lord of Hell” and “Bald Mountain” references were lost on one or two people.  Monster Zero’s bellows wake up all the other Titans (Kaiju) on earth, and there’s a crapload of them now,  mostly brand new.  (Woo!)  Rodan flies in and bows to him, making Rodan look even more like the Skesis Chamberlin.
Eleven and Ra’s Al Numsie are upset and excited by this respectively, but both agree that Communications Mom is an idiot.

Oh at some point during all this, the cocoon that Mothra made under a waterfall hatches into a giant mostly mothish but with a bunch of other bugs thrown in beautiful bioluminescent sparkly thing.  And if that wasn’t cool enough it’s witnessed by Cab Blues, who is really a older scientist from Kong of Skull Island, and Spooky Asian Mythologist’s twin!  We quickly cut over for original Spooky Asian Mythologist to give some mythological exposition, and also reveal she’s a third generation Spooky Asian Mythologist with a twin, dating back to Infant Island in 1961!

WOO!!! SHOBJIN!!!!!!!

Anyway, Behaviorist Dad is going to find his daughter in an osprey, despite having absolutely no idea where on earth she is.  Luckily, Mothra flies in to play some cool traditional music, clear the clouds and sprinkle magic dust on a path to Godzilla. This is because, and I am not making this up, they have “a thing.”  Well, she does have wing spots that match his eyes.

Yup, gives Godzilla Vs. The Thing a whole new meaning now.

Some of the people we know, which if this wasn't a Godzilla film, I’d probably care about more, follow the magic dust trail in a conveniently located submarine.  He's resting in radioactive sunken ruins of a civilization that worshiped Godzilla (Seatopia?)  They get there through the hollow earth tunnels that Cab Blues predicted, exciting Snarky Audio Guy to no end. 

While this is going on, the rest of the Monarch Gang tries to help out in Washington DC, which due to a combination of Rodan, King Ghidorah and his category six storm is simultaneously broken, flooded and on fire. Woo!

Eleven has had enough of her mom’s idiocy, steals the Orca and brings it to Fenway Park to draw King Ghidorah away from whatever he’s doing.  Communications Mom goes to find her, with Ra’s Al Numsie, and all his men calling her an idiot again for good measure.

The Orca works, stopping the other Kaiju rampages that have been going on all over the earth, and summoning Ghidorah to Boston.  There are two awesome moments about his arrival at Fenway, even if you aren’t a Yankee fan.
1) He makes the classic Showa era “bidibidibidibidibidibidibidi” noise right before he gets there.
2) His arrival really drives home the MASSIVE SCALE of the Kaiju.

Remember (sorry for bringing this up) the scene in the 1976 King Kong where the giant ape is captured in Shea Stadium.  He looked huge, dwarfed all the people and vehicles but was still well contained within the confines of the stadium.

Ghidorah takes out most of Fenway by stepping on it with one foot.
Woo!

Back under the sea the submarine weapons are damaged, messing up plan “Jump Start the Giant Monster with a Nuclear Torpedo.”  That is, messing it up until Doctor Serizawa (not that one) realizes he’s due for a heroic sacrifice, brings the bomb in himself and gets a personal improvised in Japanese moment with the gorgeously rendered King Kaiju (“good bye old friend”…sniff) before being atomized.

The big sub escapes, breaches, and the Godzilla march blares full force as he triumphantly rises, fading into his theme while he breaths an atomic blast skywards.  Woo!

Then, using he full rendering of modern motion capture CGI, Godzilla’s expressiveness shines. First he glares at the shipboard humans with the wrath of having a nuclear bomb set off in his face. Then the expression softens as he realizes that it made him feel much better and stronger. Finally, he swims off deliberately splashing his helpers with a massive tail pound as he goes to face his foe.

Colonel Boss Lady shows up with the remaining Monarch Gang in the flying wing to gather the human cast for the rest of the movie in Boston.  That city is having a bad day because King Ghidorah is wrecking most of it chasing after Eleven and the Orca. 

Then, there is an awesomely familiar roar, and the March is used as originally intended for the military forces as they are accompanying Godzilla into battle. Woo!  They are also discovering that Godzilla’s extra bit of blue glowing means he’s supercharged from the atomic blast and may blow up soon. Oopsie.

There is much cheering. (Actually, there was much cheering throughout the very excited opening night Godzilla fan crowd.) Woo!

Mothra swoops in to help her man, but Rodan shows up to make it a city wide four way Kaiju tag team! Woo!

Rodan takes the upper hand, er wing in the airborne fight, until we learn this Mothra has a big honkin’ stinger. Woo!

Still, she’s pretty much on fire, but hanging in there.   Meanwhile, Godzilla puts in a good effort, but the larger King Ghidorah lifts him up into outer space, and drops him with a harsh finality.  Mothra launches a direct assault, which goes astonishingly badly in the face of a triple gravity beam blast.  The Queen of Monsters vaporizes into what some of us old Heisei era fans recognize as “magic dust” that drops on Godzilla. His little blue glowing cracks are now red, and though he’s not moving, still it’s some nice foreshadowing.

Oh yeah, there are some humans in this movie we’re supposed to pay attention to.  Everyone whose names we know lands to rescue Eleven.  Even Communications Mom shows up, and works with Behaviorist Dad to fix the Orca and give Godzilla a break after Eleven is found. 

Finally agreeing that she has been an idiot, Communications Mom sacrifices herself to lead Ghidorah away from not only Godzilla but everyone else.   Lady in a Humvee versus the largest of all Kaiju is a remarkably short battle, but long enough for the Big G to take advantage of the dual supercharging by science and magic.  

The true King of Monsters is now “burning” bright red (kinda like 1995) and Woo! is he pissed off.  He’s moved well past atomic breath and now simply EXPLODES on Ghidorah with Mothra tinted pulses.  The first blast vaporizes his wings, the second two of his heads.  Then Godzilla shows who’s boss by stomping on what’s left of the Golden Dragon’s chest and blows up one more time, de-burning himself.

To add insult, and more injury, to injury, he uses a regular atomic blast breath to finish the last head while eating it…
WOOOO HOOO!!!

Godzilla then roars proudly as all the Titans (Kaiju) gather around him and bow. 

This is not an “Alpha”of a pack as the film keeps referring to him…
No this is the lead god  of a mythological pantheon!

WOOOO!!!!

Cue the credits and a mix of awesome new music, and new versions of Toho and Blue Oyster cult classics all by Bear McCreary, who has fantastically brought in a giant orchestra and chorus to lend unprescendented power to the classic tunes.  While they play we see news articles (one by Steve Martin, Woo!) about how the Titans (Kaiju) are making the world better.

Ra’s Al Numsie shows up in a post credits scene to buy the Ghidorah head (Kevin) that Godzilla ripped off in the Ocean. 

Will he use it to make a Mecha King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla to face Kong and Godzilla in March?

As we see a tribute to Yoshimitsu Banno (writer/director of Godzilla vs, Hedorah) and the heartwarming photo of Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla suit actor for the first  TWELVE films) 
We can only hope.  WOOO!

Note: I apologize if some events are out of order. I can’t watch this and take notes like the other ones. Even after six viewings I still get caught up in a film that makes me feel like a kid again since it looks like the original Showa classics felt in my childhood head.  Maybe once I’ve seen it the nearly infinite times I’ve seen the other films I’ll edit this.

SKREEEEEEEEEEEE-OOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNKKKK!!!!!


Click for King Kong Vs Godzilla (Not soon enough)

Click for Litany of Godzilla Index

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