Godzilla vs. Kong

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/15/21;
Warner;

Sci-Fi;
Box Office $100.1 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of creature violence/destruction and brief language.
Stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza Gonzalez, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir.

The title fight between two monster-movie heavyweights delivers pretty much what one might expect from such a premise: a lot of spectacle, flashy visual effects, rampaging destruction on a massive scale, and a completely disposable story to provide the flimsiest of excuses to set it all up.

The clash between Godzilla and King Kong is a rematch of sorts, the pair having faced off in 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, a Japanese production from the “Godzilla” creative team (and the third “Godzilla” movie to that point). But this is their first encounter in the new “Monsterverse” franchise that began with 2014’s Godzilla remake, which got a sequel in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters featuring Godzilla battling several of his traditional enemies. This Kong was introduced in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, a 1970s-set adventure film in which humanity discovered the giant ape and all the strange creatures of his mysterious homeland.

Godzilla vs. Kong is under no illusions that it exists for any reason other than to put the two titans together. It even structures the opening credits as a tournament bracket showing which creatures each defeated in the previous movies.

The story, such as it is, involves Godzilla attacking research facilities of a company called Apex and putting the local population in danger. Apex wants to access the power source of the mythical “Hollow Earth” (a hidden underground world) to power a defense against Godzilla, and recruits a scientist named Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to lead the expedition. To access Hollow Earth, they need two things: special vehicles that can withstand the gravitational fluxes of the subterranean barrier, and a Titan to locate an entrance. Lind knows a scientist (Rebecca Hall) who runs a facility on Skull Island where in the past 40 years they’ve managed to entrap Kong and keep him contained in a giant dome.

Anyway, the plan is to take Kong to Antarctica to locate a portal. But since Godzilla can sense the presence of other Titans, he can track Kong once the ape leaves the dome. So Godzilla attacks the fleet transporting Kong, and the Titans have their first throwdown on the deck of an aircraft carrier, and it’s pretty awesome.

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Meanwhile, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) from King of the Monsters joins up with a conspiracy podcaster to investigate why Godzilla would be attacking cities again, since she believes Godzilla is meant to protect the world. So they look into Apex and discover the company is building Mechagodzilla, the famed giant robot version of Godzilla, which the original Godzilla doesn’t like.

Through some more plot mechanics, Kong ends up in Hollow Earth and finds his ancestral homeland and an ancient axe his ancestors once used to fight Godzilla’s ancestors in some ancient war between the Titans. The axe allows Kong to harness the same radiation Godzilla uses, which evens the playing field a bit since Godzilla is a lizard that can fire nuclear blasts from his mouth, while Kong isn’t much more than a big monkey.

But Kong turns out to be pretty smart, and to speed things along the movie treats Kong as another protagonist, communicating with a little deaf girl from his island in order to join forces with the humans against Godzilla.

So, Godzilla attacks the Apex facility that is building Mechagodzilla, and Kong returns to the surface to fight him again, and glorious destruction of many neon buildings ensues. It’s quite a sight to behold. And the facility is in Hong Kong, because of course King Kong has to end up in Hong Kong or else what is even the point of it all?

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The Blu-ray of the film is loaded with more than an hour of featurettes exploring the history of Godzilla and Kong and the making of their epic clash. Many of the featurettes are also available with copies from select digital retailers.

The extras are broken down by character, so there are two focused on Godzilla, four focused on Kong, and one on Mechagodzilla. There are also three featurettes covering the major fight scenes, one for each.

For the Godzilla featurettes, “Godzilla Attacks” is a six-and-a-half-minute look at the character’s use in this particular story, while the 10-minute “The Penomenon of Gojira, King of the Monsters” is a look at the history of the creature in film, featuring interviews from cast members and filmmakers from all the Monsterverse movies.

The Kong featurettes mostly deal with visual effects and production design, with one, the eight-and-a-half-minute “The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World,” is a history of King Kong as told through interviews with Monsterverse filmmakers. In a not altogether unexpected move, only clips from Warner-owned Kong movies are shown; the 1976 (Paramount( and 2005 (Universal) remakes are mentioned briefly without any clips from them being played.

The regular Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions include an exclusive commentary track by director Adam Wingard. Much of his discussion centers on technical details, but Wingard is also a fan of the characters and admits that part of his motivation for making the movie was to follow up on debates he had in second grade about who would win in a fight by making sure the character he had always picked would end up winning.

Originally published as a streaming review April 19, 2021.

Netflix’s ‘Enola Holmes’ Tops Streamer’s Weekly Most-Watched Movies

The Netflix original movie Enola Holmes, starring the streamer’s Emmy-nominated Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), finished atop the SVOD giant’s weekly most-watched movie chart Sept. 28.

The movie, which is based on the eponymous book series by Nancy Springer, showcases the teenage sister of Sherlock Holmes. It is directed by Harry Bradbeer and written by Jack Thorne. Brown is also a producer on the film. Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona Shaw, Frances de la Tour, Louis Partridge, Susie Wokoma and Helena Bonham Carter co-star.

Other popular Netflix original movies/documentaries included The Social Dilemma in the sixth spot, followed by The Devil All the Time, starring The Batman’s Robert Pattinson and Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Tom Holland. The remaining charting movies included classic third-party theatrical releases.

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Netflix Movies

  1. Enola Holmes 
  2. Real Steel 
  3. Bad Education 
  4. The Take 
  5. The Smurfs 2
  6. The Social Dilemma
  7. The Devil All the Time 
  8. Waiting… 
  9. The Croods 
  10. The Secret Life of Pets 2

Netflix Gets Rights to Films Starring Melissa McCarthy, Millie Bobby Brown, Makes Deal in France for French Classics

Netflix has acquired rights to films starring Melissa McCarthy and Millie Bobby Brown, and will distribute French classics in France through a deal with MK2.

Netflix has acquired global rights, excluding China, to Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown, from Legendary Entertainment. The film is based on Nancy Springer’s Edgar Award-nominated book series, “The Enola Holmes Mysteries.” The film tells the story of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’ rebellious teen sister Enola, a gifted super-sleuth in her own right who often outsmarts her brilliant siblings. In addition to Brown (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Stranger Things), the film stars Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games films, Me Before You), Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick, Les Miserables), Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve, Harry Potter films), Frances de la Tour (Into the Woods, Harry Potter films), Louis Partridge (Medici), Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim), Susan Wokoma(Crazyhead, Year of the Rabbit), Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Man of Steel, The Witcher), and Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown,” The King’s Speech, The Wings of the Dove, Harry Potter films).

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Netflix has also acquired global rights to the Melissa McCarthy film The Starling from Limelight, Entertainment One (eOne) and Boies Schiller Entertainment. In the dramady, after a married couple suffers a hardship, Jack heads off to deal with grief while Lilly remains in the “real” world, dealing with her own guilt and a crippling internal struggle to live with a dark secret. As if Lilly’s troubles weren’t bad enough, a starling bird that has nested in her backyard begins to harass and attack her. This starling comes to represent all of Lilly’s problems, and she becomes comically obsessed with killing it. In addition to McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, St. Vincent, Spy, Bridesmaids), the film also stars Chris O’Dowd (State of the UnionBridesmaids, The Sapphires) Kevin Kline (Dave, Beauty and the Beast, A Fish Called Wanda, Wild Wild West, In & Out), Timothy Olyphant(Justified, Go, A Perfect Getaway), Daveed Diggs(Blindspotting, Wonder, Hamilton), Skyler Gisondo (Booksmart, Vacation, Night at the Museum: Secrets of the Tomb), Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy, Family Reunion, Crash), Laura Harrier(BlackKklansman, Spiderman: Homecoming, Hollywood), Rosalind Chao (Just Like Heaven, Freaky Friday, The Joy Luck Club) and Kimberly Quinn (Hidden Figures, El Camino Christmas, St. Vincent).

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Finally, Netflix and MK2 have announced a partnership on a selection of classic films from the MK2 catalogue. Throughout 2020, masterpieces of French and international cinema will be offered on Netflix, in France, with films by directors such as François Truffaut, Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Demy. The partnership covers a catalog of 50 films directed by François Truffaut, Charlie Chaplin, Alain Resnais, David Lynch, Emir Kusturica, Jacques Demy, Michael Haneke, Xavier Dolan, Steve McQueen and Krzysztof Kieslowski.

“We are very pleased that Netflix is strengthening its position in heritage cinema and major international authors with this agreement,” MK2’s Nathanaël Karmitz said in a statement. “MK2’s role, through its catalog of more than 800 titles representing part of the world history of cinema, is to contribute to the transmission of this universal cinema heritage and to make these films accessible to the greatest number of people, including the youngest. This broadcasting agreement is good news for all French people who love cinema and its history.”

“We are delighted to offer our members a selection of masterpieces from the MK2 catalog,” said Sara May, director of acquisitions and co-productions for France and Italy at Netflix. “These heritage films are universal in scope and will always remain a source of inspiration for both our members and the writers and directors with whom we collaborate today.”

The works will be available on Netflix throughout the year. The François Truffaut collection opens the series, with a dozen films made by the French New Wave director available April 24, including Bed and Board, Fahrenheit 451, Confidentially Yours, Jules and Jim, Love on the Run, Shoot the Piano Player, Stolen Kisses, The 400 Blows, The Last Metro, The Soft Skin, The Woman Next Door and Two English Girls.

Netflix Developing Project Based on Story by Millie Bobby Brown and Her Sister

Netflix is currently developing the film A Time Lost based on an original story by sisters Millie Bobby Brown and Paige Brown.

Millie Bobby Brown currently stars in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

The new project is being produced by Millie Bobby Brown through PCMA Productions and executive produced by Paige Brown and Robert Brown. Millie Bobby Brown and Paige Brown are authors of the original story with Anna Klassen attached to adapt.

The story follows a long-standing feud between two Long Island families that comes to a head when one of their teenage daughters is diagnosed with cancer.

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“We are so grateful to Netflix for their confidence in us and this beautiful story, which we have spent years writing and developing,” said the Brown sisters in a statement. “It’s about friendship, family and overcoming obstacles when it feels like the world is pushing you down. It’s been a labor of love, literally.”

“Millie is an extraordinary creative talent,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP independent film and documentary features, in a statement. “We’ve been lucky to have her in our family from the beginning of her career. It is a genuine thrill to witness Millie bring her distinct vision to the screen, now as a writer and producer, alongside her sister on this wonderful film.”