Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Composed by: Bear McCreary

The sequel to the second American remake went through several delays, but finally hit theatres in May of 2019. I find it more enjoyable than the first film, but it’s propped up solely by the spectacle of seeing classic Godzilla foes rendered by a Hollywood budget (Rodan’s attack scene is an incredible highlight). Unfortunately the human characters are once again a weak point. They’re not as dull as the 2014 film’s cast, but many of them are entrapped in an overwrought family drama. Also, in the attempt to respond to the complaints that the 2014 entry kept cutting away from the monsters before the action picked up, the director over-compensated with outrageous battles that while fun often fail to convey the monster’s immensity. Overall, it’s a film that would be mediocre at best if made on the typical Japanese budget.

Alexander Desplat and his motifs did not return. Director Michael Dougherty instead used the talents of Bear McCreary. McCreary has primarily made his mark on television but has done quite a bit of films as well. McCreary gets away from the dissonant density and simple motifs of Desplat, which makes sense. While Desplat was supposed to score the giant monsters as natural disasters, McCreary is supposed to represent them as revived gods. This means a lot of choral chants and tribal percussion. McCreary also leans into the fan service by bringing back a couple classic themes. The question is, which American composer did it better? Continue reading

Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II

 

The cover for the soundtrack

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is not a sequel to the original Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, but a continuation of the 90s Heisei series. Continuing their strategy of rebooting older monsters, the producers at Toho brought back the two remaining mega-monster stars: MechaGodzilla and Rodan. They also gave Godzilla a son again, but rather than bring back the divisive Minya they opted for a more realistic take. There are two central plots to the film. The first is G-Force, an organization tasked with battling Godzilla and other monsters, creating a mechanical Godzilla in hopes of finally killing the Big G once and for all. The other is the discovery of an egg in Rodan’s nest. It turns out to be a baby Godzilla, and Godzilla and Rodan battle for custody of the child. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II is full of good ideas, but I find the film to be somewhat lacking. I think it’s not absurd or good enough to draw me in. The real issue might be the monster battles. The Heisei series is infamous for having the monsters stand apart throwing beams at each other and I find it to get boring at times. It’s nice to actually have them sometimes grapple or fight like actual animals. The music, though, is probably Ifukube’s best from the 90s. Continue reading

Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster Original Soundtrack - YouTube

Composed by: Akira Ifukube

Right off the heels of two cross-over successes, Toho went further, combining Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan, a popular giant pterosaur. This time, though, the three monsters would eventually have to stop fighting each other and instead focus on taking down the three-headed space dragon King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah is one of the most iconic Godzilla foes. Towering over the Big G, he is armed with laser beams, powerful wings, and an eerie cackling sound. Ghidorah was a turning point in the franchise, where it started to move in a goofy direction. The monsters are much more humanized. One scene even has Mothra’s fairies narrating a three-sided conversation, in which Mothra comes off like a school counselor and Godzilla and Rodan two troublesome kids. That being said, it’s still a strong entry with one of the best monster battles of the series. Continue reading