Segment 1: Look Ahead: Godzilla
Review: ‘Godzilla’ is back and doing just fine By LINDSEY BAHR
It’s been a bit since moviegoers had the chance to catch up with Godzilla, five years in fact, which in cinematic franchise time feels like at least a few decades. In other words, it’s understandable if you go into “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” a little rusty on just what went down in Tokyo and San Francisco back in 2014.
But ”Godzilla: King of the Monsters ” is a sequel in the loosest possible sense that requires minimal recall from the audience, which is likely a good thing for those whose brains have been overloaded with “Game of Thrones,” ′′Avengers” and “Star Wars” minutiae and mythology. Worry not, Godzilla is here to provide some old-fashioned summer spectacle, no CliffsNotes required.
It’s a low bar, sure, but at least Godzilla is comfortable with its place in the blockbuster ecosystem.
The filmmakers have even helpfully shifted the focus to another family entirely for this installment, from the inert Brodys (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) to the Russells, a now-broken family of scientists who lived in San Francisco during the 2014 attack. There are a few holdovers though, mostly employees of Monarch, the secret multinational organization that studies the titans, like Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Graham (Sally Hawkins), who are being accused of hiding Godzilla from world governments who’d rather just destroy them all.
As far as the newcomers go, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) also works for Monarch and has developed a machine called the Orca, which simulates the sounds of the various titans. She believes this can be used to help manage them. Emma lives with her 14-year- old daughter, Madison (“Stranger Things’” Millie Bobby Brown in her first major film role), who is precociously enchanted by her mother’s work and admires the primordial creatures.
Madison’s father Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler, whose intensity is at level 10 for most of the movie) is not really in the picture, having left after the San Francisco incident, but is drawn back in when Emma and Madison (and the Orca) are kidnapped by some militant eco-terrorists led by Jonah Alan (Charles Dance).