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The real stars of "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," are sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn. Their aural creature designs actually sound like something new, part machine, part prehistoric whatzit. (Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS)

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ crowns a box office king

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is an epic monster fight going back to the dawn of time. 

The film, directed by Michael Doughtery, stars the titular ancient titan alongside three major classic kaiju, referred to in the film as “Titans.” The other three giant monsters are Mothra, Godzilla’s recurring insectoid sidekick, Rodan, the fiery pterodactyl known for his temper, and the infamous Ghidorah, the three-headed nemesis of Godzilla. These monsters duke it out for dominance, prompted by the international cryptozoological agency Monarch’s attempts to study these Titans. The human cast features Vera Farmiga, of “The Conjuring” fame, as Emma Russell, a bioacoustics expert who builds a device designed to communicate and even control the Titans. Russell and her husband Mark wanted to build this device after the events of the first film in which Godzilla’s fight with the MUTOs damaged San Francisco and caused their son Andrew to lose his life. Mark is estranged from his wife and daughter Madison after their marital issues and Mark’s subsequent departure from Monarch. The events of the film are set off when ecoterrorist Alan Jonah attacks Monarch Base 61 in the Yunnan Rainforest and kidnaps Emma and Madison and in the process, sets Mothra free of her captivity. Mothra, in larval form, cocoons and becomes dormant once again. Jonah and Russell come into direct conflict with Monarch when they begin releasing the Titans all over the world, including the villainous Ghidorah. Godzilla rises once again to reclaim his rightful place as King of the Monsters. 

While Rotten Tomatoes disagrees, the film is spectacular. Throughout the film are many nods and references to older Godzilla-related material. The first of these is the film score for the movie. The soundtrack by Bear McCreary alludes directly to the original 1954 Godzilla film with the film’s main title starting with the same harsh brass sequence composed originally by Akria Ifukube. This along with a whole host of incredible music to accompany the film sets it apart in terms of the sound of Godzilla. 

The film also lends itself well to one of the primary aspects of every great Godzilla film: giant monster fights! These gargantuan creatures, while animalistic, demonstrate great personality throughout the course of the film. This is due in part to the fact that the primary protagonist and antagonist, Godzilla and Ghidorah respectively, are animated partially by motion capture. Their movements feel real because the movements for the animation are real. They also display some modicum of intelligence because there are few moments in the film where they interact directly with the human characters. This lends itself to making the film as about the monsters as it is about the human drama. 

The movie is definitely a must see for anyone who loves seeing the greatest monsters of science fiction duke it out in a no-holds-barred brawl to decide who shall be king and who shall be left to dust. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” receives an A+ rating. 

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