Modern Godzilla Movies – Ranking The Monsterverse

I’m not a die-hard Godzilla fan, but I’ve gone on a bit of a giant lizard binge-watch lately. I’m happy to admit Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the best one yet.

Not only did the big beasties get plenty of screentime, but the people plots didn’t entirely suck.

People and entire cities can be megafauna fodder in disaster films, but there also has to be a thoughtful human element where you care — even by a small margin.  Modern audiences demand this, and rightfully, because otherwise you’re essentially watching a long, expensive video game. The previous Godzilla films in 1998 and 2014 plunged into that category — but worse — because boring human drama was shoehorned in to pretend those movies had plots. (Except for through-actor Ken Watanabe — more on him later).

Skipping right to said monstrous animals…

The Big Four Beasties of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

  1. Godzilla — With some new glowy skills and a few adjustments to his appearance, he looks great and is a pleasure to watch in action. Unlike in his 2014 Monsterverse premier, he’s onscreen early and often. Two paws up!
  2. Mothra — She’s my favorite critter.  And….she’s beautiful (think Lunar Moth). Mothra has some very unusual abilities, and isn’t as fragile as expected. I’d love to see her as a mount in some multiverse for Spider-Man. (“There’s a Ant Man, a Spider-Man, AND a Moth!?”)
  3. (King) Ghidorah — Very cool dragon/hydra rival to Godzilla, and even amusing (those heads scrap at each other!), but I’m not happy with his origin-story. That came out of freaking nowhere and felt like the writers couldn’t find a better hinge to hang their new ecosystem from. IDK. Maybe King Ghidorah actually is from [redactated for spoilers] in the legends.
  4. Rodan — The least interesting fellow. I felt bad for Ghidorah stealing his thunder. Rodan came off as a second-string player to give Mothra someone to fight. Someone give this guy something better to do some time.

2014 godzilla breathing fire

And the rest: There was an assortment of junior-grade creatures to fight (17 all together, including Kong on Skull Island), but we only catch them in random moments. One was like a spider; another was a sort-of mastodon. I’d like to see Part Four elevate these guys at the eventual “monster-off” on Skull Island.

The Big Four were great fun. Fab effects, with nice twists and turns in their near-sentient reactions to each other. If the carnage felt too far away and too meager in films before, we got lots and lots of satisfying spectacle this time around.

The People (AKA Happy Meals on Feet)

Lots of goofy one-liners and paper-thin human characterizations populate this over-run Titan world. The father/mother push and pull dynamics have been done and done and done in almost every disaster film. The soldiers do soldiering. Bad guys do ‘badding’. There’s a gratuitous cameo from the previous film. Next, please? 

Finally, we see a couple of grace notes: Ken Watanabe lends his wise gravitas for the sake of actual world-building, and teenage Madison (Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things) provides enough cleverness to make us want to see her live. (This girl can act with her eyes — her career might be worth following). Smart people living/dying tends to get us in the feels, and they carry the human story better than the other modern-era Godzilla people.

Ultimately Watanabe gets a long-awaited beautiful moment with ‘his God’ to show (not tell) that co-existence means salvation.

But it’s all rather small and can’t compete with the big battles above. I appreciated Watanabe’s arc and was just grateful the franchise went somewhere lovely with it.

Godzilla vs The Technobabble

The Orca is a MacGuffin: everyone wants it. The writers did a decent job making said Orca quasi-logical, but the tech is the weakest point of the story. Except for the cool larval Mothra intro, the Orca could have been canned  entirely for something better…for something only hinted at here and there, in terms of ecology, spirituality, and legends.

There were also the expected bombs, subs, planes, and faceless soldiers. Fortunately Gz 2 learned from Gz 1 to keep most of this in the background.

And the least said about the [redacted] Earth Theory, the better. I can buy that in a fantasy film. It felt out of place here.

Let’s try something new with Godzilla. Or old. Just do it well

I still can’t shake the feeling the entire Legendary Monsterverse is riding on the reptilian coat-tails of the Jurassic saga. I kind of wish they would make up their minds to go ALL IN with the coexistence theme (instead of referred to by newspaper clip credits, a storytelling device best used in WALL-E ), or go ahead — take that massive risk about Earth-cleansing and the starting anew theme and sprint with it. Planet of the Apes went there, so this isn’t unprecedented for sci-fi premises.

So, Is Kong in the next Godzilla movie?

Speaking of Apes, yes, Kong is name dropped many times, with a few quick visuals, a blink-and-you-miss it cave painting, and many Easter egg allusions to lead into 2020’s Monsterverse finale: Godzilla vs Kong. I don’t want them to fight though. Aren’t they both “good guys’? Fingers crossed this works out satisfactorily. (And stay through the end credits of King of the Monsters for a possible hint.)

I genuinely liked this Godzilla movie. I wanted more Mothra, but overall, can’t complain.

Grading the modern Godzilla and Monsterverse Flicks

Looking at RunPee’s scores for ‘modern-era’ Godzilla movies, and including Kong: Skull Island as part of this Monsterverse, movie grades have been heading up a steady incline (please click the links to read our reviews on RunPee.com):

1998 Godzilla : D

2014 Godzilla: C

Kong: Skull Island: B-

2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters: B

This bodes well. Maybe the finale to the Godzilla/Kong quadrilogy will hit the A range. For a disaster film, that would be quite a feat. We’ll find out next year. Keep replaying Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla remix to stay excited.

Related, on RunPee:

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Virgin Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – Not as bad as the last one

Rewatch Review – Godzilla (1998) – More overthinking than this film deserves

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Godzilla End Credits Song Remix By Serj Tankian

Blue Oyster Cult is probably most famous for their song Godzilla.  It’s a must if you want to set the mood for seeing Godzilla: King of the MonstersBut, better yet, give a listen to the remix by Serj Tankian that plays in the movie as the credits roll.

 

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie Review - Godzilla: King of the MonstersLet’s face it, no one watches porn for the plot. Two barely dressed women order pizza and minutes later a buff young man knocks on the door. You know what happens next.

Likewise, no one watches mega monster movies expecting Inception level plot twists. We watch to see monsters eff each other up and lay waste to a cities the way politicians lay waste to the truth. Based on that criteria, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is completely satisfying and ends with a “money shot” worth the price of admission.

My primary gripe of Godzilla 2014 was that there weren’t nearly enough Godzilla fight scenes. This sequel rectifies that in the first 30 minutes of the movie.

Leaving the theater last night, I was hovering in the B+/A- range grade for this movie. However, after a little thought, I’m backing off to a solid B, only because — while I just said we watch these movies for the monster fights — it should would be nice if the scenes between could prop the movie up, instead of drag it down.

I didn’t care if any of the characters lived or died, other than perhaps Madison, the daughter. Everyone else was as disposable as pizza toppings. In fact, I was sort of hoping Dr. Stanton, played by Bradley Whitford — the sarcastic smart ass from West Wing — would get killed, so he would stop delivering nothing but cheesy lines. Not that Bradley is to fault. He did his job wonderfully, but I suspect he was on-set begging with the writers to give him just one line that wasn’t purely for exposition or a smart ass comment.

I know I said at the beginning of this review that plot in a movie like this is completely irrelevant, but that’s not completely true. It is of vital importance to the rewatchability of a movie. Right now I have no interest in watching this movie again, unless it’s just to fast forward from one monster fight to another.

I realize that “rewatchability” is highly subjective. That being said, this movie lacked the playfulness of a movie like Pacific Rim

Movie Grade: B

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Rewatch Review – Godzilla (1998) – More overthinking than this film deserves

The Animated 1978 Godzilla Cartoon – Lyrics & Video

godzilla from the animate tv series
Godzilla’s a good guy here, FYI.

Do you remember the old 1978 Hanna-Barbera  TV Godzilla cartoon that used to play during the Saturday morning children’s lineup?

What I really remember liking was that it featured Godzilla as a hero. I I like that perspective a lot more than OMG BIG MONSTER MUST DIE. That’s part of the reason I consider the 1998 Matthew Broderick Godzilla vehicle a tragic tale. He was just an animal trying to eat and reproduce, after all. I re-watched that Godzilla last night to see if it was better than I remembered, and NOPE, still not a good film.

Back to the cartoon…Godzilla was the gigantic savior of every episode. And it was cool. You had to ignore a lot of improbabilities by having a massively, non-verbal deadly force of nature available at the push of a button in your pocket, and the implications therein. And everything about the show spoke of bare-bones- budgets, with a studio desperate to find a niche (thus, the widely-despised .Godzooki. I didn’t about any of this in  1978, And you wan’t watch me rewatcing these half hour stories to glow in the nostalgia. But the cartoon into is well worth a revisit. If you were one of those kids like me, you already know the words (I’ve listed them for you anyway.)

Check out this trailer:

And as far as I am concerned, Godzookie is a Scrappy-Doo. Arg. Notice the whip-lash tonal shift when he flies through. Weird. But then it’s back to the awesome sound and fury of GODZILLA!

Lyrics to Godzilla

(Hanna-Barbera, 1978)

Up from the depths.
Thirty stories high.
Breathing fire!
HIS HEAD IN THE SKY!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
….and Godzookie….
GODZILLAAAAAAA!

godzuki from animated tv show godzilla
Godzuki, the Scrappy-Doo of Monsters.

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Godzilla – movie review

Godzilla Lyrics & Video from Blue Oyster Cult

stop motion vintage godzilla shot
Yeah, I’m bad, I’m bad, you know it…

Blue Oyster cult recognized cool weird shit. They have a song about the Dead Reaper — with lots of cowbell, — and another honoring the King of Lizards, Godzilla. With a new Godzilla film out centering the Monsterverse franchise, it’s a good time to remind everyone of the coolness that Blue Oyster Cult produced in 1977, titled — naturally — Godzilla. And as one commenter on You Tube prophetically wrote, “You know you’re a full-blown monster badass when Blue Oyster Cult writes and does your theme song.” I think we can all agree.

Here is a fun Blue Oyster Cult Godzilla video, followed by the lyrics so you can sing along (the whole thing, more than just the chorus of GO GO GO GODZILLA!).

Godzilla Lyrics

[By Blue Öyster Cult]

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high-tension wires down

Helpless people on subway trains
Scream, bug-eyed, as he looks in on them

He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

Oh, no, they say he’s got to go
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)

Oh, no, they say he’s got to go
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)
Godzilla!

臨時ニュースを申し上げます
臨時ニュースを申し上げます
ゴジラが銀座方面に向かっています
大至急避難してください
大至急避難してください

Oh, no, they say he’s got to go
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go, Godzilla (yeah)

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of man
Godzilla!

[Songwriters: Donald Roeser, 1977.
Godzilla lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC]

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

BONUS: Everyone needs more cowbell (SNL on Don’t Fear The Reaper):

PS: There’s even a Godzilla song remix based on the Blue Oyster Cult classic:

Godzilla End Credits Song Remix By Serj Tankian

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

The trailers for the new Godzilla movie have been amazing, but the marketing campaign isn’t the clearest.  What’s there to know besides the fact that awesome-looking monsters are going to destroy things for our entertainment?  

For the true movie lover? Plenty. Here are the connections they aren’t advertising.

There’s a Monster Universe.

Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers created what they are calling the Monsterverse.  Godzilla, King Kong, and some recognizable others are part of this universe.

Godzilla – King of the Monsters is a sequel to Kong – Skull Island.  Sort of.

For unknown reasons, Warner Brothers is not advertising the new movie as a sequel to Godzilla (2014), the first movie in the Monsterverse.  Kong – Skull Island is the second movie in the Monsterverse. It features a cut-scene at the end of the credits where the main characters are told Kong is not the only monster, and then shown archival footage of ancient cave drawings of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and a battle between King Ghidorah and Godzilla. 

The ultimate Godzilla movie is coming next year.

A fourth Monsterverse movie, Godzilla vs. Kong, has been announced for 2020.  I know. I can’t wait either.

Be sure to use the RunPee app for all your monster movie Peetimes, including the upcoming Child’s Play and Annabelle Comes Home. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee or on Facebook for the latest movie news.  

Read for more about Godzilla by Golden Man, on his blog Etched in Gold:

All My Questions Answered About the New Godzilla Movie

RunPee’s posts on Godzilla and King Kong:

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

Movie Review of Kong: Skull Island

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

GodzillaLet me say up front that I enjoyed Godzilla. The movie rolled along at a decent pace and had a few good visual scenes. And I think the creators did a decent job of bridging the classic feel of the Godzilla movies with modern movie making.

That said, I thought the movie fell way short of being awesome. This is a GODZILLA. I don’t want a good movie. I want a “Holy cow did you just see what Godzilla did?” movie. I got that feeling exactly once.

I would agree with what many Japanese critics are saying, that Godzilla looks a little too — how to say this politely — bulky. I’m not saying I want a Roland Emmerich Godzilla, which was svelte by comparison, but this Godzilla is a little too plodding.

I wasn’t impressed with the Godzilla fight scenes. I felt like the action took place from too far away. We never got up close and personal and felt like we were in the fight. Also, they didn’t do anything to make me want to root for Godzilla. I think they should have taken a lesson from Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong and made us feel more connected with the beast. I didn’t get any of that in this movie.

Lastly, the human characters in the story were a total waste. I didn’t care about any of them either. Take for instance Elle, the wife of the main character. She had a decent amount of screen time, but didn’t do anything to advance the plot. She was never heroic, or in need of being saved, nothing. Her character could have been completely removed from the story without losing anything.

One good thing about Godzilla; it made me like Pacific Rim that much more.

Movie Grade: C

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

The Animated 1978 Godzilla Cartoon – Lyrics & Video

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Movie review: Pacific Rim: Uprising