Godzilla (2014), King Kong (2005) and Pacific Rim (2013) are three of the biggest Creature Features of recent memory.
Big monsters. Big action.
But which of these three movies is really the King of the Monsters?
Let’s take a look and at the end you can vote for your favourite.
Guillermo’s del Toro’s Pacific Rim is a love letter to the Kaiju movies of old with big ass mech suits called Jaegers taking on even bigger monsters (Kaijus) from another dimension.
Although too much of the action takes place in the dark, there still manages to be a lot of colourful moments and monster punching action to make Pacific Rim a bit of a classic of the genre. The Jaegers are the stuff of 12 year old dreams and even grown-ups can sit back and enjoy the smashy smashy.
What this movie lacks though is heart and memorable human characters. The two annoying scientist dudes are meant to provide “comic” relief but you’re just hoping that they’ll get eaten or stepped on ASAP.
Our hero Raleigh Becket is played by Charlie Hunnam who can’t decide if he’s trying to do an American accent or not. After his brother is killed by a Kaiju in the opening battle sequence, Raleigh drops out of the Jaeger program and decides to join the rest of mankind building a wall which will do precisely nothing to stop the Kaiju invasion. That is until the scene stealing Idris Elba comes along and has one of the greatest action movie names ever: Stacker Pentecost. That’s just awesome! Anyway, he talks Raleigh into joining up and kicking monster ass once again and to round things up he gives one of the best “HELL YEAH!” speeches since Independence Day.
You don’t really care for any of the characters but really, with a movie like this you’re just wanting to watch Jaegers punch Kaiju in the face and we get that in spades. It’s well paced and doesn’t waste too much time on humans. It also has a satisfying enough conclusion with some spectacular action.
With 2005’s King Kong, Peter Jackson demonstrated that he is unable to make a short movie. At nearly 3 hours long King Kong is certainly the most epic of the three films but it also has the most heart.
I really liked Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts in their respective roles but Kong is the only monster you actually care about. He’s tough because his environment is tough and he has to literally kill or be killed to remain King of the Jungle. When pesky humans come along and capture him, we know tragedy will soon ensue.
It was imperative that Kong be well realized so we can believe he is real and WETA did a fantastic job at making him as lifelike as possible. Andy Serkis is the mo-cap king and he really made Kong feel like a genuine character rather than merely a special effect. Not an easy task but they pulled it off.
Sadly a lot of the other special effects aren’t as good with a lot of Skull Island and its inhabitants looking very synthetic. The Brontosaurus stampede is unintentionally funny especially when they all start falling on top of each other; I’m not sure if that was meant to be hilarious but it was.
The movie is also about 45 minutes too long and there is far too much messing about in the first half.
Once we finally arrive at Skull Island though, this movie really kicks into gear and the build up to the King’s arrival is one of the best scenes of the movie.
I actually didn’t even mind Jack Black in this movie; it was nice to see him try something different where he isn’t just the “fat guy” making jokes. It really showed that he can genuinely act and you almost like him… until he captures Kong and we realize he is only interested in fame and fortune. He doesn’t really care about people at all and only wants to make the best film and get rich, no matter what the cost.
I think we all wipe away a few tears of manliness at the very end when Kong is being attacked by all the planes and plummets to his doom. “It wasn’t the planes, it was beauty killed the beast”… no, I’m pretty sure it was the planes and you humans taking him out of his natural habitat. Ah the arrogance of man…
2014’s Godzilla promised us a much better film than the reviled 2008 Roland Emmerich movie and it was indeed better but sadly this is the weakest of all three movies we’re looking at today.
It takes over an hour before we actually get to see Godzilla and when he does fully appear he is either barely visible in the dark or the camera pans away to something else. It was an incredibly frustrating watch for me but it wasn’t without its moments. The HALO Jump scene into the city was rather ingenious and the movie tried to do something different with a formula we have all seen before.
I also thought the MUTO monsters were cool and the sound effects were awesome, especially in the scene on the bridge which really gave the creatures an otherworldly feel.
My biggest gripe (and pretty much everyone else’s) about the film though is the boring human lead, Ford Brody played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson; a man who appears to be more interested in chasing monsters than looking after his own family.
We were all hoping Bryan Cranston was going to be the hero and that definitely would have made the film more interesting but instead we got Aaron who just isn’t as interesting. His character is the blandest of all three of these movies and you will feel nothing watching it.
Godzilla himself looks great and there is a genuine sense of scale to the action, however unlike Kong he doesn’t have much personality. There are a few fun moments but I think it was definitely a missed opportunity.
For me, my favourite of the three movies is easily Pacific Rim; it’s not too long, has plenty of action and one of the best inspirational speech moments in years. Sure the characters aren’t that great but a monster gets hit with a ship… in the face and there is a real sense of fun to the action too so it’s easily my favourite, closely following by King Kong.
Now it’s your turn…