by Francis Friel, The Projectionist
They’re rebooting Charlie’s Angels. It’s weird that we’re at the point where studios are cycling back to the same weird and tired properties that no one asked for the first (second) time. It’s like they got sick of the stories about how any good spy script would inevitably get grafted into the Bond franchise and just decided “Fuck it, let’s call it what it is.” Do we need more Charlie’s Angels? Do we need more movies that are gonna cost millions and millions of dollars that’ll then open to horrible reviews and an indifferent audience? That thing’s gonna open in February because, all Deadpools aside, it’s still the only time of year (outside of August, strangely) when they can sneak the stinkers past us and won’t catch too much shit for it.
Buuuuuuut, on the other hand, here comes Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And I am PSYCHED. The thing about all the remakes and reboots and all the rest is that Godzilla kind of never went away. As the trailer says, he's just "remained in hiding" from time to time, waiting to strike. Every so often we've tried to jump-start the series and update it and make it seem fresh to a new generation. Even Toho got back into the action a few years back, releasing the sheer batshit bureaucracy comedy that was Shin Godzilla. Now Legendary is stepping it all up to submerge us in their MonsterVerse, creating a cleaner continuity (I mean, we'll see, right?) and seemingly contained narrative flow from their Godzilla and Kong films.
The first thing to note is that King of the Monsters - which looks like a remake of Destroy All Monsters rather than of the original King of the Monsters, which wasn't a movie at all, fuck that movie - is not, in fact, Godzilla vs Kong. This was originally believed to be true as far back as during the pre-release hype for Kong: Skull Island. At least, I remember that being the rumor that was spread by me around my theater at that time. But now we know that the main event will follow this battle royale lead-in. That's how you build anticipation, folks! Give 'em the big one first then let the giant monkey loose on all their asses. Did I mention I cannot wait for these movies??
The shot that sticks in my head, even more so than those incredible glimpses of the monsters themselves, is Millie Bobby Brown and her defiant smile, staring straight into what looks like just absolute fucking mayhem. A friend even claimed, upon seeing it on the big screen for the first time, that she might even be a Titan herself. I'm not even sure how that would work, but it got the gears turning. Because one thing that the Godzilla movies always have going for them is that they actually have plots. They have things to say. Whether Roland Emmerich had anything interesting to convey with whatever the fuck he thought he was doing is almost beside the point. There are themes at play here that go all the way back to the mid-50s and the original run of films dealing with post-war society and the effect that natural devastation and confusion have on our collective psyches.
The King of the Monsters trailer opens with the line, "Our world is changing. The mass extinction we feared has already begun. And we are the cause." They're finally bringing things back around to what they set out to do in the first place. These films, at heart, are a response to our place in the natural world and the feelings of helplessness that can accompany even the most hardened cynics. We're all going to hell on earth as a result of our own greed and capitalist consumption. And who does Vera Farmiga turn to in her hour of need? What do we have to do? Reunite the Titans. That's some dark shit!
There are things we can do. Ways we can jump to the side of the speeding motorcycle and dig our heels in the pavement, Mission: Impossible II-style. But the die is cast. Our world is changing. And since we're here to talk about movies, I'll stick to that. Legendary is asking us to turn to these Titans and re-awaken to what these movies are about and what they can mean to us.
You have nine months. Go back and watch all the Toho monster movies. Watch all the King Kongs. They're fun. They're great, in fact, some of them. And you'll no doubt get a little more out of this newest chapter in the saga with a little intel under your belts.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the movie I am most excited for right now. If we're really stuck with sequels and reboots and super heroes dominating the box office, we can do a lot worse than Godzilla. Watch that trailer and tell me it doesn't do anything for you. These filmmakers are not fucking around. This is the real deal. Long live the King.