Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Watch the Ultimate Monster Showdown Online
Five years after the existence of giant monsters, known as "Titans", was revealed to the world, Dr. Emma Russell, a paleobiologist working for the Titan-studying organization Monarch, and her daughter Madison witness the birth of a larva called Mothra. Emma calms Mothra using the "Orca," a device that can emit frequencies to attract or alter Titan behavior. A group of eco-terrorists, led by former British Army Colonel Alan Jonah, attacks the base and abducts Emma and Madison. At the same time, Mothra flees and pupates under a nearby waterfall.
In the original script, Mark and Sam were originally written as old friends. This was changed in later drafts from Sam to Serizawa to have him be the guiding force for Mark. Dougherty added the Oxygen Destroyer as a representation of "humanity's inability to not interfere." Dougherty and Shields chose to have Godzilla killed during the film's mid-point due to this being an idea that has not been done in previous Godzilla films. Shields noted that this was also to parallel Godzilla and Mark's characters, stating, "Kyle's loss of faith in the beginning, and finding it in this moment when he realizes, you know, God is dead." In Dougherty and Shields's treatment and early drafts, full sequences of the non-Toho Titans rising after Ghidorah's call were written but later trimmed due to budgetary concerns. Borenstein had originally written Mechagodzilla into the film. However, Dougherty scrapped the character during development.
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For Godzilla, Dougherty wished to put back the "God in Godzilla". He liked the design that Gareth Edwards and Matt Allsopp conceived but wanted to tweak it by adding the dorsal plates of the 1954 iteration, as well as making the claws and feet bigger to make Godzilla look like a more powerful predator. The director had the sound design team expand on Godzilla's roar by making it sound closer to the roars of the 1954 incarnation, stating, "I think they did a great job with Godzilla's roar in the first movie. I pushed them a little bit further to bring it even closer to the (1954) original even more."
For Mothra, Dougherty wanted to create something that was "beautiful, and feminine, and elegant, and looked like a true goddess, but also dangerous if she had to be." He attempted to remain faithful to the color palette of the original 1961 incarnation and retain the eye-spots on her wings. The eye-spots were designed to resemble Godzilla's eyes in order to create a connection between Mothra and Godzilla. Mothra was designed to resemble real moths and given longer legs in order to defend herself against other monsters, another attribute inspired by moths. Dougherty researched various moth species and discovered that some looked "scary" and "predatory". He wished to maintain a sense of realism for Mothra, stating, "...the approach for Mothra is to create an insectoid, huge creature that looks believable from every angle, and especially in motion." The director found Mothra the most difficult Titan to design because he wished to avoid making Mothra look like a blown-up moth. Legacy Effects provided the design for Mothra.
A prequel graphic novel, Godzilla: Aftershock, was released in May 2019. Aftershock was written by Arvid Nelson and illustrated by Drew Edward Johnson. S.H. MonsterArts figures of kaiju in the movie were released for sale in June 2019. The film's novelization was released on May 31, 2019; the art book The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released on June 4, 2019. NECA, Jakks Pacific, and Bandai all produced toy lines for the film featuring its monsters.
New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther disparaged Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, dismissing it as "an incredibly awful film". After complaining about the dubbing, the special effects ("a miniature of a dinosaur") and the similarity to King Kong, he concluded, "The whole thing is in the category of cheap cinematic horror-stuff, and it is too bad that a respectable theater has to lure children and gullible grown-ups with such fare". On the film's alterations, critic Danny Peary accused the producers of making "deletions that arouse suspicions regarding the cover up of references to damage done by the A-bomb". Film critic Tim Lucas noted, "Much has been done to Americanize the Godzilla series over the decades, much of it inane and destructive, but the craft and cleverness that went into Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is immediately apparent". Over the years, original director Ishirō Honda was asked by film historians if the alterations made by the American version without his permission had offended him. Honda found the alterations amusing, stating that his film was "trying to imitate American monster movies".
Yet, looking past some of its flaws, it's still a reasonably entertaining movie in its own right, living up in many ways to both Godzilla films in general and to its predecessor, which premiered in 2014. So we figured it'd be fun to countdown the ways that Godzilla: King of the Monsters both lived up to and disappointed in comparison to the original film.
Whether it's Godzilla back again, or the many diverse and unique kaijus that are being seen for the first time in this Monster-Verse, such as Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, it's hard to deny that Godzilla: King of the Monsters delivers, by making these giant beasts look life-like. Though, as we will soon discuss, that's not necessarily the only thing this movie needed.
In the original Godzilla from 2014, the film centered primarily around a family as well, in this case the Brody's, including Joe (Bryan Cranston), his son Ford (Aaron-Taylor Johnson), and Ford's wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). Much of the film consisted of Ford attempting to both do his duty as a soldier while also looking out for this family. It's as simple as that, and, really, that was enough. Godzilla: King of the Monsters attempts to do the following: continue the original story while adding more action and monsters, introduce a new family and additional characters with their own background and motives, and of course, setting up the next movie as well. As a result of trying to do too much with its characters, King of the Monsters becomes less memorable in comparison.
Just as much as its visual effects for the monsters, the cinematography for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is impressive on its own. Just by looking at the trailer, one can get a glimpse of how this film will deliver. Helmed by Director of Photography Lawrence Sher, it is a visual feast for the eyes.
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Some of the most beautifully-shot sequences come in the midst of the monster battles. There is much to admire here, from the elaborate underwater lair that Godzilla calls his home, to the radiant, neon-lit colors of Mothra as she flies through the sky, to that one shot of the perfectly-poised King perched atop of his volcano at the film's conclusion. King of the Monsters is easily one of the more gorgeous-looking movies of the year.
Back in 2014, the new Godzilla was just the start of this soon-to-be-named Monster-Verse, which then continued with Kong: Skull Island, a reboot to King Kong taking place in the 1970s, and now Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is a direct follow-up to the original film. When that first movie premiered, though, it wasn't yet established what would happen in the future. So, Godzilla ends simply with our title monster heading back to the sea.
By the end, the story has also progressed very quickly. Not only have these monsters leveled entire cities, but they have all come together to bow before Godzilla as king, which we know will lead to the Godzilla vs. Kong fight in the next film. But what follows that? With only three films to its name, it appears that a huge confrontation is already right around the corner. Remember, it took the Marvel Cinematic Universe 11 years and 22 movies to get to the end of a major story-line. In the Monster-Verse, things are just moving far too fast, and that might create some trouble down the line when they have already used up their best stories in a short amount of time.
A series of character posters from December offers slightly better looks at Godzilla and some of the other key monsters from the movie, all shown with a person or some other element in the foreground to show how massive these creatures are.
There are a lot of timeless movie monsters, but Godzilla, in the dozens of Japanese films that featured him, always raised a metaphysical question: Was this 165-foot-tall, beady-eyed, radiation-breathing T.-rex-meets-lizard-king, with bony sculptured plates running down his back and skin like raggedy carpet, an awesome creature to behold despite the cheesiness of the special effects that created him? Or because of the cheesiness?
As the title suggests, the movie features several other classic giant monsters, including Mothra, Rodan, and the terrifying King Ghidorah. In terms of the human cast, it stars Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Kyle Chandler (Game Night), Millie Bobbie Brown (Stranger Things), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Ken Watanabe (Inception), and O'Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton). It's directed by Michael Dougherty.
"When they fight each other, or scream in triumph over the smoking ruins of various world capitals, it's difficult not to fist-pump a little. However, to Dougherty's presumed disappointment--and to this movie's ultimate detriment--you can't just have two hours of kaiju slapping each other around like a gargantuan WWE highlights reel." -- Katie Rife [Full review]
In the five years since the events of 2014's Godzilla film, an American dark-ops project, dubbed "Monarch," has secretly been examining and even capturing massive monsters called "Titans" from all over the world. Monarch's leaders decide the Titans must be kept alive in order to preserve harmony on the planet. Somehow, the organization has gotten a full budgetary sign-off to build and maintain more than a dozen classified underground lairs, even though the film opens with a congressional hearing alleging that they're a waste of money.