TL;DR – A bombastic visual spectacle that explodes on the screen and never lets up.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene.
Disclosure – I was invited to a Press Screening of this film.
Godzilla vs. Kong Review –
There have been several attempts to create Cinematic Universes across modern cinema, but most of them have fallen flat. However, one of the few rays of light in this space has been the visual delight that has been the MonsterVerse. It has been bombast on the big screen, as giant monsters battle each other for supremacy as we watch on. Today, we look at the next film in that franchise that pits our two heroes from the previous movies against each other.
So to set the scene, it has been several years since Godzilla became the alpha at the end of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In that time, Godzilla has kept the other titans in their home areas, much to the joy of the humans living in the world. However, one day, Godzilla surges out of the water near Pensacola, Florida. The titan makes a beeline for the Apex factory tearing apart everything in its way. In the factory, a whistleblower Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), is trying to find what Apex is up to because they are up to something shady. Meanwhile, on Skull Island, King Kong is taking his daily walk when he comes across a little girl, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), in the forest. However, as they bond, Kong feels a threat coming and sharpens a tree javelin, ready to take it down.
TL;DR – This is a show with a lot of potential that would have worked a lot better had it not stumbled in critical places.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this series.
Pacific Rim: The Black Review –
When you hear that there will be an American Animation TV Series, done in the style of a Japanese Anime, based in the Pacific Rim universe, and then set in Australia, well, that is an exciting combination if I have ever heard it. Good or bad, you want to see how it works. With that in mind, let’s dive into this fascinating if flawed world.
So to set the scene, we open in the days after chaos erupts across Australia as rifts open up the centre of the continent. After a valiant fight, it becomes clear that Australia is lost, and the call to evacuate is put out. Everyone had five days to reach Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, or Sydney. While trying to help with the evacuation, one Jager team stays back to stop the Kaijus because their children had yet to leave. They tried to get to the evac point, but they were too late. Instead, they took the group of civilians back to their home base Shadow Basin which was also destroyed. The parents left everyone behind in an oasis and leave to go to the coast to get help. Five years later, Hayley (Gideon Adlon) and Taylor (Calum Worthy) have a fractured relationship as their parents never returned. However, one day Hayley fell down a metal hole and discovers that not all of Shadow Basin was destroyed, with the Atlas Destroyer Jaeger and its AI Loa (Erica Lindbeck) still there. But that discovery becomes a beacon for all the danger in the world. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – This is an
interesting take on the End-Of-The-World genre
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
When I say to you Zombie Apocalypse, I think for many people the first thing
you would do is suppress a sigh. As a genre, it has been used multiple times
and these days one could say that it has been done to death as long as they immediately
followed it up immediately with ‘pun not attended’. However, every now and again,
a new show will use the setting to explore something new and today we get to
look at just such a show.
So to set the scene, we open in on Day 42 with Jack Sullivan (Nick Wolfhard)
the only known survivor in his town. 42 Days ago portals opened up over his
town and monsters and zombies came flooding out attacking the town. Some escaped,
some were rescued, but more still were turned into zombies to roam the streets.
Abandoned by his foster family, Jack survives by hiding in his foster brother’s
treehouse and using that as a base of operation. He is trying to find his best
buddy Quint (Garland Whitt) and rescue his flame June (Montse Hernandez), but
first he needs to survive being hunted by a monster angry because Jack poked
its eye out.
TL;DR – An ambitious series
drawing inspiration from multiple religious and mystical frameworks that while
pioneering in many respects, completely fails to stick the landing
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Today I get to finally explore the third pillar of 1990s sci-fi anime with the
massively influential Neon Genesis
Evangelion. For me, this was almost a form of closure given how much I have
watched the other two pillars Cowboy
Bebop and Ghost in the Shell but
I never got to see Evangelion. It was
also interesting to see a show that has been massively influential to the genre
but watching it with 20 years of extra context on top of it. Well if nothing
else, the ending stinger to last year’s Desert Bus now makes sense. With
that in mind, let’s dive in and explore Hideaki Anno’s work of gods, and
angels, and science, and man.
So to set the scene, in the year 2000 a great calamity arouse across the world
when the second impact occurred in Antarctica blasting the icy continent to
ruin and melting all its ice causing extensive flooding across the world. The
UN authority declared that the cause was a giant meteorite impact, hence common
term of it being ‘the second impact’ (okay sort of, but also sort of not, it
gets complicated). However, this is all a cover, because what really happened
is that a creature of great power was discovered under the ice, this Angel was
called Adam and something the researchers did trigger him destroying
everything. 15 years later, Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata/ Spike Spencer/ Casey
Mongillo) is running through deserted streets to a pick-up location. The whole
area has gone into emergency lockdown for some unknown reason, and that reason
turns out to be a second angel that everyone kind of expected was coming. Just
before he is crushed, Shinji is rescued by Captain Misato Katsuragi (Kotono
Mitsuishi/ Allison Keith/ Carrie Keranen) and taken to Tokyo-3 where a
secretive organisation Nerv has their headquarters. The leader of Nerv is
Shinji’s father Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki/ Tristan MacAvery/ Ray Chase) who
is at best distant, but a more fair description would be icy or even abusive.
However, Shinji does not have time to process that because he is announced to
be the Third Child, and one of only a few people that can pilot an Evangelion
which he has to do like now.
TL;DR – The action in the third act is some of the best monster action I have ever seen, however, the story is so incredibly dull that it is a slog to get to it.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is some mid-credit important information and a post-credit scene
It is odd to see a film that has two such disparate parts that are almost in
conflict with each other. Where one part of a film is so amazing that you feel
it could be a game changer for the industry. However, there is another part of
the film that works so poorly that you wonder how it made it off the drawing
board. This is something that actually makes reviewing this film quite difficult
because you have to ask how much you should let the story side just because the
visuals were so good. Well, today we will try an unpack this all, as we explore
Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
So to set the scene, we open the film on the attack in San Francisco in the
first Godzilla as we see Dr Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and Dr Emma Russell (Vera
Farmiga) desperately look for their son amount the rubble of their house. In the
years that passed since it is clear that the tragedy irreparably damaged their relationship
as Mark is now charting wolves in Colorado and Emma is working for Monarch in
China with her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Emma is working on ORCA an
interface that uses biodata to communicate with the Titans. The first trial of
the device works as they can control a newly born Mothra caterpillar. However,
just when they think it is all going well eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles
Dance) attacks the lab killing everyone and taking Emma, Madison, and the ORCA.
Which is a problem because if the ORCA can control the Titans, what damage can
TL;DR – Bombastic as always, but it doesn’t set itself apart from what came before, and the story struggles to find its voice.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post title scene at the start of the credits
As we talked about in our look back at the first Pacific Rim (see review), I was a real big fan of the original. Guillermo del Toro’s film about giant monsters called Kaijus attacking the cities around the Pacific Ocean being stopped by giant mechas called Jaegers. There was something easy and yet compelling with the setup and the world they created. With Pacific Rim Uprising we get more of the same as the first film yet somehow it feels like something got lost along the way, and that, unfortunately, it just does not work as well as the first film. So with that in mind, we are going to dive into Pacific Rim Uprising to look at what worked and what didn’t.
TL;DR – “At one point a giant mech picks up a cargo ship to use as a cricket bat to take down a giant monster stomping its way through Hong Kong” you will probably know if this film is for you from that snippet alone.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Back in the relatively calm year of 2013, how five years can change the world, there was this little gem of a film. It was a homage to the mecha and giant monster films of Japan and at the heart was the simple message that we should all work together. Well, it has been years since I have watched Guillermo del Toro’s monster epic, well at least his giant monster epic, and with the sequel coming out later this week, now is as good as time as ever to dive back into the world of Jaegers* and Kaijus*.
TL;DR – Fantastic action, amazing visuals, interesting characters, and the best rendition of King Kong in a long while, this is a must watch film
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
P.S. There is a post-credits scene
The more and more we heard about Kong: Skull Island, the more I had a feeling that Kong was either going to be a masterpiece or a heaping pile of trash, I just could not see a middle ground happening. Well, I was right, Kong: Skull Island is not a mediocre film at all, and thankfully it is not a pile of trash either, instead it is an epic film that makes the most of the characters whilst setting it away from the traditional narrative. The effects alone make it a film you have to see, but it is so much more than just a technically brilliant film, it has a strong narrative, characters you relate to, and one of the more interesting island set ups I have seen since I read Dinotopia, quick aside, can we actually get that Dinotopia film now please and thank-you. Ok so let’s go break down why I think you should go see Kong: Skull Island.