Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire staggers onto the big screen

Thu. March 28, 2024 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire stomps into theaters at the tail end of March ready to explore new territory. The New Empire's shtick grows old though and Godzilla gets lost in the shuffle.

Moviegoers don't have much homework to do beforehand even though this is the 38th Godzilla film offering in the franchise. The reptilian colossus has evolved since his 1954 debut, as has his senior co-star King Kong who started in 1933.

Technology has also grown to mammoth proportions over the years and The New Empire is a feast for the eyes. It does a good job of drawing the audience into an imaginary realm located underneath their feet called Hollow Earth where pterodactyls fly and dinosaurs roam

This interior Jurassic Park “has more secrets than we can possibly imagine,” says Dr. Ilene Andrews played by Rebecca Hall. The English actress returns from Godzilla vs. Kong with a short bob haircut and blonde highlights. She gives a TED Talk and eventually assembles a rag-tag team of experts to save humanity. One of them is her adopted daughter from the fictional and telepathic Iwi tribe Jia whom Kaylee Hottle portrays.

Two other members of the zoo crew are added to ramp up the humor. We have Brian Tyree Henry as the podcaster Bernie Hayes and Dan Stevens as Trapper. They both fail miserably on their quest to tell a good joke and the awkward material they are given doesn't help with matters.

The glimpses of humor come from Kong and his new buddy Donkey Kong, Jr. There's no Godzooky yet for Godzilla, but the King has a sidekick to play off of in the Monsterverse.

The gigantic gorilla begins his adventure with a tooth decay problem and there's hell to pay as he fights some devil dinosaurs while in pain. Good hygiene is important to the furry behemoth and after a quick splash in his waterfall shower, it's time to work on that smile. Trapper gives the King his crown and he's ready to rule a new subterranean region.

There are a few obstacles in the way and that conflict leads him to work with Godzilla. There's some monkey business that requires Kong obtaining a robotic Transformers-like arm to compete in a beast war. He also learns to fight with a hammer a la Thor, but is he a god or a monster? The producers attempt to humanize him with empathetic expressions and heroic acts that improve on the previous monster-sized project.

Focusing on the human side of the story has made Godzilla Minus One a hit and the timing has confused many even though the two films are not connected in any form or fashion.

Let's address the elephant in the room, Godzilla not only has a small head but a small part to play in this particular project. Is the lizard charging a big appearance fee? Were the special effects inflating the already gargantuan budget to astronomical heights?

There are only a few minutes of screen time where Godzilla and Kong fight each other and then they suddenly join forces for a WWE smackdown against their foes. It's conveniently neat and tidy with how the wrestling monoliths are evenly matched but it makes for some incredible visuals.

Forget the proverb of less is more, the creatives for this endeavor seem to think more is more. A primitive plot has been thrown against the wall like pasta to see what sticks and everything but the kitchen sink is included. Kong could earn some trophies for pyrotechnics and visuals come awards season but that's a year from now and only time will tell.

Until then these legendary icons are ready to battle it out at the box office and teenagers are the target audience for this tale that should be seen at the cinema.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire rules the roost at theaters everywhere on March 29, 2024.