Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a great, fun and lively spectacle (review)

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a great, fun and lively spectacle (review)

By taking seriously the visual codes of video games, The New Empire is the best possible Godzilla spin-off.

It was nevertheless necessary to consider the possibility that Godzilla x Kong: The New Kingdom is a real critical punching bag: after all, aren't we talking about a film set in a crazy Hollow Earth where King Kong is looking for giant ape friends while Godzilla prowls the surface of our planet to save it other Titans like him? An absurd premise, but which doesn't work against the film at all, in the end. In fact, his success is essentially due to the seriousness with which he considers his absurdity, his impossibility: it is by seeking to give as much life as possible to his digital characters that The New Empire acquires a kind of strange reality – which contrasts with the scenes, fortunately much smaller, with real human beings, reduced to fragile witnesses or conveyors of information (and filmed with a strange effect which blurs the background and the edges of the frame). The stars here are the monsters.

And they are more alive than ever. Without claiming to want to be a grand aesthetic or theoretical gesture, The New Empire draws beautiful fake monsters, inhabited by an unexpected cinematic life, in an era where the Hollywood blockbuster is still plunged into a coma. The New Empire embraces digital technology with open arms, and uses the visual and narrative codes of video games to great effect: for example this beautiful fight between two obviously colossal monkeys in a volcanic cave, which evokes the show-offs of recent versions of Street Fighter Or Tekken. This dialogue between video games and cinema is not seen as an inflated meta quote, but as a completely natural dialogue between two forms of artistic expression – it seems corny, like that, but it gives the New Empire a completely natural feeling of a blockbuster of its time, which contrasts with the latest MCUs, completely exhausted (see the digital effects at Marvel, stripped of any kind of life).

The other contrast, obviously more radical, is with the Japanese film Godzilla Minus Onereleased last December: the prequel to Godzilla was a retro, melodious and overwhelming blockbusterwhich seemed to take place on a planet totally foreign to that of the New Empire -which remains real entertainment, spectacular and funny, perhaps the best since the transformers by Michael Bay. And yes, it's a nice surprise.

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