Godzilla: King of the Monsters Parent Guide
A profoundly satisfying monster mash, this film combines behemoth battles with a wonderful musical score.
Parent Movie Review
After the destruction of San Francisco in the last Godzilla movie, the crypto-zoological agency Monarch and the government face a new challenge. The Titans, ancient gigantic creatures who defend Earth’s ecosystem, have been appearing around the world. But when a group of terrorists begin awakening and unleashing those monsters to further their agenda, humanity is plunged into a crisis so severe that even Monarch struggles to protect itself. Their greatest foe is Monster Zero, also known as Ghidorah, a mysterious three-headed dragon who can cast lightning. The only hope for humanity lies in Godzilla, Ghidorah’s ancient rival. But can Monarch get his help in time? Or will Ghidorah wipe out humanity first?
You may have noticed that this plot is a little thin. That is, believe it or not, a good thing. Nobody is showing up to a giant monster movie to watch a bunch of talking heads describe how bad it is that Godzilla just levelled a city block and irradiated San Francisco. This film has just enough plot to justify the incredible action, and just enough human conversation to break up the big fights. Without some human characters, it would be easy to take the behemoths for granted. Godzilla: King of the Monsters walks this tightrope with perfect balance.
While the special effects are exceptional, and the fights impressive and suitably massive, the real standout in this film is the musical score. The score for the 2014 film was a little hit and miss, although it won a lot of points with me for using Gyorgy Ligeti’s Requiem (as used in 2001: A Space Odyssey). Godzilla: King of the Monsters is even stronger in the music department. The regular score is impactful, with a strong Japanese influence obvious in the taiko drumming and chanting. Best of all is the use of Akira Ifukube’s unbelievably iconic theme from the original 1954 film, which is brain-meltingly cool coming out of theatre speakers.
Parental concerns will center around violence and language. The violence is extensive, but not much more intense or disturbing than anything you’d see in a superhero movie. The monsters are bigger, and the civic damage is more extensive, but it’s still a PG-13 film. The profanity is fairly localized in a handful of instances and isn’t used much outside of emergencies. That said, the film can be frightening and intense, and isn’t well suited to children, as one unfortunate mother learned when she had to escort her preschooler out of the theater a mere 15 minutes into the screening I attended.
Maybe I’m just biased by my love of giant monster beat-em-ups, but this is one of the most satisfying movies I’ve seen all year. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is everything it tries to be: it doesn’t aspire to provide profound insights into human nature or to be a heart-wrenching emotional drama. It just tries to be the coolest computer-generated fight you’ve ever seen, and it delivers in a big way. Whoever loses the fight, monster fans win.Directed by Michael Dougherty. Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Charles Dance. Running time: 132 minutes. Theatrical release May 31, 2019. Updated June 7, 2019
Watch the trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Rating & Content Info
Why is Godzilla: King of the Monsters rated PG-13? Godzilla: King of the Monsters is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language.
Violence: Being a giant monster movie, there’s a good bit of violence between 100,000 ton plus giants. This includes biting, scratching, tearing, ripping, dropping, burning, electrocuting, irradiating, and dismembering. In the process, a couple of cities get basically levelled, although little of this destruction is shown from a human point of view. On the human level, things are a bit milder. An individual is thrown against a wall. A dozen individuals are shot, mostly off-screen. An uncertain number of people are shot offscreen. There is a gunfight in which several people are shot. Several people fall into a crevasse. Several individuals are disintegrated by lightning. Some people are thrown into the air by the downdraft from a giant flying monster.
Sexual Content: No sexual content is seen or described. There is a brief, vague mention of monster mating habits.. Someone mis-hears the name “Ghidorah” as “gonorrhea” and reacts with confusion until corrected.
Profanity: There are nine uses of scatological profanity, roughly six of which occur within 10 seconds when a character burns breakfast. There is one use of a sexual expletive, and one obscene hand gesture. There is intermittent use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: One secondary character is shown taking a drink from a flask. One character is described as becoming an alcoholic to cope with losing a child.
Page last updated June 7, 2019
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Parents' Guide
Dr. Mark Russell struggles with the decisions he has made in his past, especially those around his daughter Madison. How do you think he should have acted in the first place? How are his actions now affecting them and their relationship?
Dr. Emma Russell cites the massive cost to the environment of modern human civilization as one of the reasons for the re-emergence of the Titans. What other consequences does human society have on the environment? What can you do to lessen that impact? What countries are taking steps to curb their environmental footprint, and what are they doing?
The Godzilla character was originally created as a commentary on nuclear weapons. Do you see any of that discussion in this film? Do you see any other political points being made? If so, what are they?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes opens with what appear to be meteors landing in the ocean, but which are actually alien spaceships. The aliens begin by dragging people into the water and then raise sea levels and change the climate, leading to the collapse of civilization. Wyndham also wrote The Day of the Triffids, a novel featuring bio-engineered plants with poisoned stingers. When most humans are blinded by a mysterious meteor shower, they become vulnerable to marauding triffids.
If you can’t get enough of Godzilla, Godzilla Returns by Rc Cerasini gives the backstory to everyone’s favorite city-crushing monster.
Readers looking for a more sophisticated take on the monster genre will enjoy James Morrow’s Shambling Towards Hiroshima. This satirical novel combines monster movies with World War II government propaganda for a darkly funny look at Godzilla films.
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Longtime fans of Godzilla will already have their personal favorites from his extensive back catalogue. Mine include 2016’s Shin Godzilla, also titled Godzilla: Resurgence in some markets, and 1991’s Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. New viewers should avoid the 1998 Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick unless they want to see a low point in the series. The 2014 Godzilla provides the backstory for King of the Monsters.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim films are a modern take on the kaiju genre, and some of my favourites. It’s hard to go wrong when you have giant robots fighting giant sea-monsters.
If you’re looking for monsters the whole family, including preschoolers, can enjoy, Monsters, Inc. is just what you need. Turns out monsters aren’t scary once you get to know them.