By Subhash K. Jha
Film: ‘Godzilla: King Of The Monsters’; Starring Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga; Director: Michael Dougherty; Rating: *1/2 (one and a half stars)
No reference to the Lok Sabha elections. But the monsters are coming. Not that they don’t try to behave themselves. This, the latest calamitous product in the disaster genre has a core of humanism. There is a family at the heart of the tail’ with a dizzying spin.
A disastrous tryst with restless dinosaurs Ain an earlier film has torn Dr Mark Russell (a charismatic Kyle Chandler) away from his wife and daughter. The wife (Vera Farmiga, saddled with the kind of role that Meryl Streep would attempt in a comedy avatar) hasA moved away with their daughter to some disastrous ecological decisions.
As we, the film and its convulsive script suffer one monster attack after another (mercifully not in 3D) family values are tossed around among ecological villains like pieces of chicken around a bonfire. They, naughty boys, want to awaken the sleeping monsters for their own selfish reasons.
Much of the film reads like an atomic alert sounded at a decibel where all the hysterical shouting is so incoherent, it amounts to zilch. There are a few interesting moments in the lengthy narrative. But these moments are squandered in over-statement and, worse, an inability to communicate the urgency of the apocalyptic theme to the audience which waits not for one monster battle after another, but for all these globally ruinous ramifications to come to a logical comclusion.
Alas, rationale is in short supply as director Michal Dougherty engages himself (though sadly not us) in a game of one-upmanship between monsters, men and monstrous men. Some of the monster attack is epic in scale but unsupported byA performances that go beyondA the call of the immediate.
It is shocking to see monstrous (oops!) talentAA like Sally Hawkins (remember her in the Oscar winner The Shape Of Water?), Ken Watanbe and Charles Dance struggling to inject credibility to a script which seems to have been written by a bunch of high school kids high on hashish.
Many incidents in the narration scream to be taken seriously. Instead they evoke laughter in their self important posturing. There is no fluidity in the narration as the monster invasions cut into dialogues that seem to be there merely to fill the pauses between bouts of action.
Some films about the end of the world make you wish for the same. This is one of them. Skip it. Wait for X Men Dark Phoenix next week. At least that one won’t flash three-headed dinosaurs on screen like some kind of miracle. It’s a miracle I survived the sheer mediocrity of this parade of talentless environmentalism.
(Subhash K. Jha can be contacted at [email protected])