BEASTS FROM THE FAR EAST

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MON­STERS (12A) ★★ ★★★

Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

MON­STERS are among us and they aren’t the com­put­er­gen­er­ated be­he­moths that stag­ger through direc­tor Michael Dougherty’s pro­tracted de­mo­li­tion derby.

No, the true mon­sters are you and me: a par­a­sitic race that has plun­dered the planet’s nat­u­ral re­sources, pol­luted wa­ter and air, and slaugh­tered mil­lions in the name of liberty, reli­gion, greed and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment.

That’s the cheery mes­sage to take home from this, a spec­tac­u­lar but corny se­quel that jus­ti­fies the ti­tle crea­ture’s in­ter­ven­tions as the only way to re­store a delicate bal­ance be­tween self­ish hu­mans and re­splen­dent Mother Na­ture.

Per­for­mances struggle to be heard above the din of Bear McCreary’s orches­tral score

and a sym­phony of roars, screeches and cat­er­wauls. Stranger Things star Mil­lie Bobby Brown is the sole ex­cep­tion, us­ing lim­ited screen time to plumb the mael­strom of con­flict­ing emo­tions of a re­source­ful 14-year-old, who is col­lat­eral dam­age in the feud be­tween her par­ents.

The script ex­presses re­la­tion­ships in short-hand, gal­lop­ing from one slick set-piece to the next with min­i­mum char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment.

An­i­mal be­hav­iour spe­cial­ist Dr Mark Rus­sell (Kyle Chan­dler) and pa­le­ob­otanist wife Emma (Vera Farmiga) lost their son An­drew, and ul­ti­mately their love for each other, in the dev­as­ta­tion of Godzilla’s ram­page through San Fran­cisco. The cou­ple are now es­tranged and Emma has cus­tody of their spunky daughter Madi­son (Brown), who sup­ports her mother’s work for “se­cret mon­ster­hunt­ing” con­sor­tium Monarch in the Yun­nan rain­for­est in China. For­mer Bri­tish army colonel turned eco-ter­ror­ist Colonel Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) storms the out­post with gun-tot­ing hench­men. He takes Emma and Madi­son hostage, forc­ing the mother to rouse a gi­ant beast chris­tened Mothra with her Orca de­vice, which ma­nip­u­late Titans’ be­hav­iour with sonar waves.

Godzilla: King Of The Mon­sters wreaks de­struc­tion on a grand scale. Mak­ing peace with Dougherty’s block­buster sim­ply re­quires us to switch off our brains.

King Ghi­do­rah and Godzilla Mil­lie Bobby Brown as Madi­son Rus­sell and Vera Farmiga as Dr Emma Rus­sell Charles Dance as Colonel Jonah Alan

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