The visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining Godzilla vs. Kong, which was released on March 31 and is directed by Adam Wingard, is a fascinating trip to a world dominated by titans.
It tracks two intertwining tales which ultimately connect in the final battle scene. One story centers around Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a King Kong expert, and her adopted daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who shares a special bond with Kong. Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) is another scientist and is recruited by Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), the CEO of Apex Cybernetics. Simmons plots to have Kong lead him to the center of Hollow Earth, where titans are born and the source of their power is found, in order to harness that power for Apex.
At the same time, another tale unfolds. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) hosts a podcast about titan conspiracy theories, and teenager Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) brings her friend, Josh (Julian Dennison), with her to find Hayes and investigate Godzilla’s recent attacks.
As the story progresses, it is revealed that Apex has built a robotic Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and is using DNA from the skull of the original titan, as well as a human pilot, to control it as it is charged by a power source generated from Hollow Earth. As soon as the power source is pumped into Mechagodzilla it gains a mind of its own and is no longer controlled by the pilot. This leads to the major battle scene of the film, and Kong and Godzilla team up together to take down Mechagodzilla.
The visual effects throughout the film are stunning, but particularly so in Hollow Earth and during the major battle scenes. Hollow Earth is a visually stunning aspect of the film. It is full of gorgeous forests and waterfalls, and land stretches on all sides, with mountains coming from the sky and from below. The glowing blue rocks which lead toward the power source have a mesmerizing glow to them, reflected in Godzilla’s eyes and Kong’s metal axe.
The first battle takes place out at sea and incorporates images of the ocean with close shots of the two titans as they engage in battle. The transitions from underwater to above water scenes are captivating and sure to enthrall the audience with anticipation and awe. The other major battle in the movie takes place in Hong Kong with all of its neon signs and bright lights. These lights are juxtaposed with the natural blue glow of Godzilla, creating a stunning display of color.
As Godzilla and Kong fight, the camera angle shifts, offering perspectives from above and behind the monstrous creatures. One of the most interesting angles is from the perspective of Kong during the fight, allowing the audience to see from the titan’s point of view. Another fascinating angle is from the inside of a glass building. The empty chairs and tables slide back and forth in front of the glass windows as the two monsters fight, and the glass is suddenly shattered when they crash into it.
The use of color in the film is incredibly impressive. Blue and red are prominently situated in many scenes, particularly when Mechagodzilla and Godzilla battle each other. Mechagodzilla’s red atomic breath hits Godzilla’s blue atomic breath in a scene where the colors are reminiscent of classic conflicts between good and evil: Harry Potter and Voldemort’s wand battles or Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s lightsabers.
Another interesting element of the film is the use of music. Many of the scenes with Kong feature lighthearted, vintage-sounding music playing in the background, which complements Kong’s friendly demeanor.
Though it may seem like just another outlandish monster movie at first glance, Godzilla vs. Kong is both an entertaining and a smart movie. Its scientific and technological elements make it seem almost believable—or, believable in a science fiction kind of way. The technological discussions of the film’s scientists make the construction of Mechagodzilla and their plan to tap into the power of Hollow Earth convincing.
The actors contribute to that sense of truth in the film with engaging performances. In particular, Hottle’s portrayal of Jia in the movie is one to watch. Despite her age, she is able to captivate the audience and hold her own in scenes with acclaimed actors like Skarsgård and Hall.
Godzilla vs. Kong is an enjoyable and visually appealing film that includes interesting characters, an entertaining plot, and enough energetic battle scenes to keep any viewer on the edge of their seat.
Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.