*clears throat* “I was working in the lab, late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight, for my monster from his slab, began to rise and suddenly, to my surprise, they did the monster mash, it was the monster mash“. Honestly, we could think of nothing more apt (in many ways) to start this review with than Bobby Pickett’s wacky Halloween classic. Sure, this isn’t a showdown between Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein or The Mummy, though that would be silly. But a massive, globe-trotting, gravity defying showdown between two mythical monsters as they fight for dominance of the planet? Sign us all the way up.
If you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years – or, like most of us, living within your four walls while another fight continues – you may not have seen that one of the events of 2021 is the epic showdown between Godzilla and Kong, titans personified and finally meeting after the three previous films (don’t worry, you don’t need to have seen them). After over a year of cinema’s being closed and release schedules ever-changing due to the pandemic, we needed this. We all needed this. A dumb, loud, nonsensical, kaleidoscopic mountain of a film that reminds us that, despite the changes that may forever refocus the cinema vs streaming debate, there really is no contest.
The previous efforts – Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters – were of a similar ilk but despite some flashes of the huge, apocalyptic madness that was to come, none of them come close to what GVK achieves. There is no real plot to speak of – scientists want to uncover the mysteries of the two titans and their home world that may lie at the centre of the Earth, megalomaniacal businessmen wants to harness their powers for their own selfish gains while a podcast threatens to reveal said businessman’s dastardly plans, with Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry and more scattered around – but none of that matters when the first punch is thrown and all hell breaks loose.
Adam Wingard, who brought us You’re Next and The Guest (both superb), manages to not only make the spectacle actually worth watching but adds his own blend of humour, neon-soaked visuals and bombastic direction to the fore, aided by Ben Seresin‘s chaotic cinematography that is relentless. Kudos too to the visual effects artists, beautifully rendering both headliners superbly, especially Kong whose nuances and expressions are right up there with the work on Planet of the Apes and The Lion King. There are moments to breathe in between but just barely but at its pulsating, unstoppable pace and for sizable chunks of the film, it’s all a little too much and whilst it’s final showdown is epic in scope and scale, it does overdo it just a hair’s breadth. Then again, like all the best roller-coasters, you’re not supposed to worry about all that: just strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride.
Action, sci-fi | USA, 2021 | 12 | Premium Video On Demand | 1st April 2021 (UK) | Warner Bros| Dir.Adam Wingard | Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry