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Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of GODZILLA:KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of GODZILLA:KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Godzilla franchise (1954-) composed on the 35 films including the 4 Hollywood films, such as Godzilla (1998), Godzilla (2014), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and Godzilla vs. Kong (2020).

Godzilla (2014) is a mediocre film that the filmmakers did not give the persuasive plot for why Godzilla appears and helps people from the Mantis-like MUTO which is quite familiar design among US sci-fi films. There is only one line of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe)'s explanation for the cause that 'It's natural order.' It explained everything in the fictional reality world.

Moreover it is a pro USFJ film that the multinational nuclear plant corporate stationed worker Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston)'s son, USFJ soldier, protagonist Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) successfully revenges MUTO which kills his parent in Japan by detonating its nest. And other sub characters including Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) are one of observers of the battle between Godzilla and MUTO.

Beside the major plot flaw, the film's major success is that the filmmakers correctly avoid the lack of godly appearance / presence of the legendary atomic monster. If it is just a giant dinosaurs like Jurassic Park (1993), it is quite meaningless.

Godzilla is supposed be the Shintou the Japanese religion's god thus it should have the unimaginable power. The Western concept of Titan is harmonious with the Shintou concept of the Gods. The US filmmakers approach to the Godzilla in Godzilla (2014) and other two Hollywood films are appropriate in terms of the Japanese culture. Moreover it is an issue of Defamiliarization of previous giant dinosaur films they have to overcome.

So called Defamiliarization or ostranenie (Russian: остранение, IPA: [ɐstrɐˈnʲenʲɪjə]) is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar.

FILE PHOTO: Defamiliarization. Image: Public Domain
FILE PHOTO: Defamiliarization. Image: Public Domain

The creature design concept of Titan-like Godzilla is not only obvious in the sequel but also the previous film Godzilla (2014) already materialised the creative concept. This is the most complemental achievement of this Hollywood franchise.

"Primitive man saw these creatures, and you want to give them a presence that would make him drop to his knees and bow to this god…It can’t just look like big dinosaurs. Jurassic Park has that covered. These have to be distinct. They have to be their own thing. They’re Titans." - Dir. Michael Dougherty (1)

FILE PHOTO: A Design Work of GODZILLA:KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
FILE PHOTO: A Design Work of GODZILLA:KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

About Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), it is announced the release date as May 9, 2019 by Yahoo. Pre-screening before officially announced release date is now Hong Kong audiences' advantage.

The Warner Brothers revealed the basic story of this film below:

The heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.

— Legendary and Warner Bros. (2)

The good 'Titan' Godzilla fights other kinds of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) like well-known Godzilla characters Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and original non Toho characters officially called as Baphomet, Typhoon, Abaddon, Bunyip, and Methuselah before the release. The story line is simple enough for both children and adult.

Both Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) are kind of pro wrestling entertainment of titanic MUTOs. The huge gap of dramatic importance of characters is also gigantic among all dinosaurs films in the past. The Godzillas are now main protagonists, and human characters can do a little to the story not play critically important roles to get rid of MUTOs. It is a job of Godzilla. Humans are observers or refugees from their titanic pro wrestling on the urban cities.

The Hollywood trilogy of Godzilla is far better than any Japanese Godzilla films made in the past in terms of technology and storytelling. Making Hollywood remakes is seemed as advanced phase of filmmaking in Japan. It is quite wrong. Originally Japanese filmmakers must make high quality Godzilla films by themselves.


(1) Accessed on 5/3/2019

(2) Accessed on 5/3/2019


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