Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019 film)
|Godzilla: King of the Monsters|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Dougherty|
|Based on||Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan
|Music by||Bear McCreary|
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a 2019 American monster film directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty. A sequel to Godzilla (2014), it is the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, the third film in Legendary‘s MonsterVerse, and the third Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio.[Note 1] The film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi. It is dedicated to executive producer Yoshimitsu Banno and original Godzilla suit performer Haruo Nakajima, who both died in 2017. In the film, humans must rely on Godzilla to defeat King Ghidorah and other Titans who have awakened and are causing destruction around the world.
The sequel was green-lit during the opening weekend of Godzilla, with original director Gareth Edwards expected to return. After Edwards left the project in May 2016, Dougherty, who had been hired in October 2016 to re-write the script with Zach Shields, was announced as the director in January 2017. Principal photography began in June 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia and wrapped in September 2017.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on May 31, 2019. It received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the visual effects, musical score, and action sequences but criticism aimed at the underdeveloped human characters and thin storyline. A sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong, is scheduled to be released on March 13, 2020.
Paleobiologist Emma Russell works for crypto-zoological organization Monarch to track down and study Titans, giant God-like monsters that once dominated the Earth. She and her daughter Madison witness the birth of a giant larva dubbed Mothra. Emma calms Mothra down through her device, the “Orca”, which is capable of emitting frequencies that only Titans can hear. Mothra becomes docile, until an organization of eco-terrorists, led by Alan Jonah, attack and kidnap both Emma and Madison. Mothra manages to escape and cocoon itself underneath a waterfall.
Monarch scientists and soldiers led by doctors Ishirō Serizawa and Vivienne Graham approach Mark, Emma’s ex-husband, to track down Emma and Madison. They follow Godzilla to Antarctica and realize Jonah intends to free a Titan encased in ice called “Monster Zero”. Jonah’s team ambushes the Monarch soldiers and Mark is unable to rescue Emma and Madison. Emma frees and awakens Monster Zero herself. The Titan begins rampaging until Godzilla emerges and the two engage in a fight that ends with Monster Zero flying away after killing Graham.
Monarch finds out that Jonah’s next target is Mexico when they are contacted by Emma, revealing her involvement with Jonah all along after being fueled to finish her research after the death of her son, Andrew, during the 2014 attack on San Francisco.[N 1]Before the evacuation is complete, Jonah orders Emma to wake up Rodan. Monarch’s jets lure Rodan to fight the approaching Monster Zero, who defeats Rodan. Godzilla emerges from the ocean and engages Monster Zero, tearing off one of its heads. In the midst of the battle, the military launches a missile known as the “Oxygen Destroyer” towards them, seemingly killing Godzilla, who sinks into the ocean. Monster Zero survives and regenerates a new head. Rodan becomes submissive to its rule as Monster Zero awakens all the dormant Titans.
Through mythological texts, Dr. Ilene Chen reveals that Monster Zero is Ghidorah, an ancient alien who serves as Godzilla’s primary rival for apex predator. Mothra emerges from her cocoon and flies to the Bermuda facility in the ocean where it is able to communicate with Godzilla, who had survived the detonation and is recuperating in a chamber inside an ancient underwater city. Monarch uses the communication frequency to locate the pair. There, Mark and a Monarch team board a submarine to revive Godzilla, as they realize the natural process could take years. They decide to detonate a nuclear weapon, allowing Godzilla to feed on the radiation, but due to earlier damages the submarine suffered from a vortex, the weapon system is offline. Serizawa volunteers and sacrifices himself to manually detonate the weapon, which revives Godzilla.
In Boston, Emma realizes that the destruction Ghidorah and the other Titans will bring is far worse than what humans could inflict, but Jonah ignores her pleas to turn back. Madison overhears this and steals the Orca. In Fenway Park, Madison broadcasts a frequency that attracts all the Titans to its location. Ghidorah arrives in Boston and attempts to destroy the Orca, with Godzilla appearing with Monarch’s assistance to engage it. Mark leads a Monarch team to rescue Madison and escape the city before Godzilla overloads and emits a thermonuclear explosion. Mothra and Rodan arrive and fight each other while Godzilla battles Ghidorah. Mothra defeats Rodan but is disintegrated by Ghidorah. Her essence descends onto Godzilla.
Mark, Emma, and Madison are reunited and attempt to restart the damaged Orca to lure Ghidorah away from an injured Godzilla. As they are evacuated, Emma drives away with the Orca to continue luring Ghidorah so Mark and Madison can escape, sacrificing herself in the process. Godzilla recovers, now glowing red, and unleashes thermonuclear blasts, bombarding Ghidorah with atomic pulses that burns it away. Rodan and the other Titans then converge on Godzilla, and bow to him.
During the credits, it is revealed that Monarch has divulged their information on the Titans to the public. News clippings indicate Mothra regenerating in a cocoon, Titans beginning to converge on Skull Island, and ancient paintings displaying Godzilla battling Kong. In a post-credit scene, a fisherman reveals one of Ghidorah’s decapitated heads to Jonah, who purchases it.
- Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell:
Emma’s ex-husband, Madison’s father, an animal behavior and communication specialist who formerly worked for Monarch, and co-inventor of “the Orca”, a machine that enables communication with the Titans but can also “potentially control them using their bioacoustics on a sonar level.”. After suffering a loss, Mark has an unfavorable opinion of the Titans, Godzilla in particular. Despite this, he joins a rescue mission along with Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Graham to save Emma and Madison from nefarious forces. Chandler spoke of the film’s themes being about “healing the planet”.
- Vera Farmiga as Dr. Emma Russell:
Mark’s ex-wife, Madison’s mother, a paleobiologist working for Monarch with a history of environmental activism, and co-inventor of the Orca. Unlike Mark, Emma believes that humans and Titans can co-exist peacefully. She and Madison are kidnapped by a mysterious organization interested in her technology, with their own plans for the creatures. Farmiga has described her character as being a “DJ for the monsters”, stating, “She has figured out a way to communicate with the creatures…” She also described the film being about “saving the environment.” Farmiga noted that while the previous film focused on a father/son relationship, King of the Monsters focuses on a mother/daughter relationship. Due to this, Farmiga believes the film may pass the Bechdel test.
- Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell:
Emma and Mark’s 12-year-old daughter. Like her parents, Madison is academically gifted in science but she’d rather live a normal life. She has a distant relationship with her father since her parents divorced but she remains in contact with him. She is kidnapped alongside her mother. Lexi Rabe plays a young Madison under her credited name of “Alexandra Rachael Rabe.”
- Bradley Whitford as Dr. Rick Stanton:
A crypto-sonographer working for Monarch. Dougherty verified that Dr. Stanton is loosely modeled after Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty. Dougherty had the character “drink a lot” to keep the character in line with the spirit of Rick Sanchez.
- Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham:
A paleozoologist working for Monarch as Serizawa’s right-hand woman. Hawkins reprises her role from Godzilla (2014).
- Charles Dance as Colonel Alan Jonah:
A former British Army colonel and MI-6 agent who defected after becoming disillusioned by humanity during his time in the service. Obsessed with “leveling the global playing field” and restoring the natural order, he became the mercenary leader of an anarchist eco-terrorist group funded through the trafficking of Titan DNA. In 2005, he was jailed in a Pakistani prison after encountering Monarch agents when attempting to breach the walls of an underground MUTO dig site with a band of accomplice mercenaries. After previously stalking Emma and attempting to raid some of her labs around the world, he takes her and Madison hostage to gain control of the Orca and further his agenda. Dougherty described Jonah as a mysterious character with conflicting ideas about the Titans’ role in the world, believing that mankind has damaged the planet and bringing back the Titans will potentially set things right.
- Thomas Middleditch as Dr. Sam Coleman:
Monarch’s Director of Technology, leader on the development of the Monarch Sciences network, and communications liaison with the U.S. government.
- Aisha Hinds as Colonel Diane Foster:
A decorated colonel who formerly served as an instructor in the 75th U.S. Army Ranger Regiment and is now the leader of the G-Team, the special military forces group run by Monarch specializing in battles involving Titans.
- O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Jackson Barnes:
A chief warrant officer who is a member of the G-Team.
- David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz:
An Admiral in the 7th Fleet of the United States Navy. He is the commander of the U.S. Navy task force and was previously in charge of tracking down the MUTOs. Strathairn reprises his role from Godzilla (2014).
- Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishirō Serizawa:
A high-ranking scientist working for Monarch. His father Eiji Serizawa was one of Monarch’s founding fathers, so he’s seen by many as the agency’s de facto leader. Watanabe reprises his role from Godzilla (2014). Watanabe noted the film’s themes, stating, “In the 21st century we need to do think about natural disasters. This creature is symbolic of that natural disaster. We cannot control them, but we must live on this planet.”
- Zhang Ziyi as Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling Chen:
A mythologist working for Monarch, specializing in deciphering the mythological backgrounds of the Titans in connection with tales and legends throughout history. With her twin sister Dr. Ling, Ilene is a third generation Monarch operative in her family, having joined the agency like their grandmother and mother before them.
Joe Morton appears as an older Dr. Houston Brooks, a character that originally appeared in Kong: Skull Island and was previously portrayed by Corey Hawkins. Additionally, CCH Pounder portrays Senator Williams, Anthony Ramos portrays Staff Sergeant Anthony Martinez, Elizabeth Ludlow portrays First LieutenantLauren Griffin, and Jonathan Howard portrays Asher Jonah, while Randy Havens portrays Dr. Tim Mancini. Tyler Crumley portrays Mark and Emma’s son Andrew who was killed during Godzilla’s fight with the MUTOs in San Francisco. Kevin Shinick cameos as a weatherman. Through motion capture, T.J. Stormreprises his role as Godzilla, while Jason Liles, Alan Maxson, and Richard Dorton portray the heads of King Ghidorah. Liles also portrays Rodan via mo-cap. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah were credited as themselves.
- Michael Dougherty – director, co-writer
- Zach Shields – co-writer, executive producer
- Barry H. Waldman – executive producer
- Dan Lin – executive producer
- Roy Lee – executive producer
- Yoshimitsu Banno – executive producer (posthumous)
- Kenji Okuhira – executive producer
Godzilla has always represented the terror of the deep, and the idea that this destructive creature feeds on the radiation left by US bombs in Japan helped the creature grow dear in the hearts of original fans. In this movie, they turn politico, and make it into an eco-awareness flick I like Godzilla, and I like him in this movie, but I go to movies like this to get away from reality. Not be beaten with it. I didn’t like the acting, the plot, the story, or the directing. The special effects are very cool and tight, if a little different than, say, Jurassic Park, or Starwars. If you like this franchise, see it. Otherwise, save your money. This one will have an extended cable movie channel run, I’m sure. – 2 stars is a gift. – MR