This is the first part of my Godzilla vs. Kong pre-show commentary. Here, I’ll be looking at different and odd aspects of other big-monster-flicks and how they may relate to the upcoming feature-presentation. Hit me up on Twitter @billreviews, consider some subscription support, and share all around!
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It was like magic.
Once King Kong nailed Godzilla with a sweet right-hook to the face, once Chris Classic’s song “Here We Go” hit, and when both creatures sized each other up for a fight - featuring a campy-ish snap-zoom on Kong - the recently debuted trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong had this critic’s heart. The designs were beautifully rendered for what will be a straight slug-fest action film between two animated (or performance captured?) characters, and with a simple but effective tease at their rivalry, relationships, and potential arcs (yes, they can have arcs), the big selling point of the movie as laid bare in its title may just be enough to smooth over any possible rough-edges in the human plots.
We have a contender, dear readers.
But, let’s go back to 1998’s Godzilla for a moment. If we’re to talk about something so anticipated, we may as well get into something that just… just didn’t live up to it all.
Those alive way back then will recall the teasers of an elderly New York City fisherman, running for his life as Godzilla crashes into a pier. This glimpse of course was shown in its entirety in the final film, too “good” to not expose everyone to again, maybe. Still, it was exciting as a preview, and got many to react with intrigue and gasps (back when theaters debuted the teasers first).
There was another spot though, one that floated a more comical feel. One that summed up the overall movie in just about a minute or so. A news cameraman played by Hank Azaria, hearing some pre-9/11 noises and shakes, busts out of a diner to capture what’s going on. In the rain, under cover of a storm, the monster obscurely appears before him, as it steps forward. In fright, he screams as the gigantic foot lands inches away from him. Now turning a corner, Azaria, mouth aghast, cackles in an awkward laugh-like yell, almost directly at the audience.
After first viewing at the multiplex, my personal reaction was to exclaim “Oh, my God!” (not too dissimilar to my response towards Anaconda) to my father, who just kinda shrugged it off. Months later, when Godzilla hit VHS, it would become his favorite go-to-sleep movie - same for me. Years later, after that special effects spark had worn off, I’d recall that Azaria foot-sequence with more reverence than others would give it.
It wasn’t just because it was from a big-scale monster movie, the same genre that I’d spend a long-time searching for down video store aisles, nor was it because that movie was all that good. Really, it was an effective, fun, and somewhat relatable “moment” to anticipate, made memorable by the short-scenario presented and that unique cackle. In the end, the campy prevails, and monster movies reign, having some inkling of what they truly are: spectacle.
We look forward to Godzilla vs. Kong not because it’s a too serious political/religious/cultural allegory like Batman v Superman, nor because it’s a drawn-out and super-tense human drama like the first entry in this new Monster-Verse was (which I rather liked a lot).
No, this is more akin to that near toe jam scene with the man who voices on The Simpsons. It’s more akin to that King of the Monsters scene where Sally Hawkins got obliterated from being stepped-on (she didn’t have Hank’s luck). It’s that sizing up bit between the two. It’s that snap-zoom and that song. It’s that freaking right-hook to the kisser. It’s the camp, the silliness.
If Jackass 3D could make a turd projectile represent everything good about that depthful format, then Godzilla vs. Kong can easily be a reel fine piece of work.
Can, mind you.