Tag Archives: Godzilla King of the Monsters

Soundtrack Review: Pacific Rim: The Black (2021)

On March 5, Milan Records and Sony Music Masterworks released Pacific Rim: The Black (Music from the Netflix Original Anime Series) by composer Brandon Campbell.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Campbell for Netflix’s newest anime series from Legendary Television and based on Legendary and Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster film franchise Pacific Rim.  Continuing the tale of epic battles between monsters and robots in an exciting new style, Pacific Rim: The Black made its global debut yesterday and is available now to watch exclusively on Netflix.   

Of the soundtrack, composer Brandon Campbell had the following to say:

“Our showrunner, Greg Johnson, wanted a score that encompassed bits of DNA from the original Pacific Rim film while still being unique enough to support the struggles and triumphs of Taylor and Hailey. We created a hybrid orchestral score with the heavy themes and melodic material that will hopefully resonate with Pacific Rim fans, while including more intimate and emotional musical moments that accompany our characters as they make their way across The Black. I hope my music brings you back into the world of the awesome power of the Kaiju and Jaeger, but also into the hearts of Taylor and Hailey.”

I meant to check out this soundtrack a solid month ago and I regret that life got in the way to delay me because the music for Pacific Rim: The Black is good, really good. While I haven’t heard the soundtracks for either Pacific Rim movie (a terrible shortcoming I know), there are moments sprinkled throughout this soundtrack that sound so “big” they can only come from and/or be inspired by the original movie soundtracks. This is great, as thematic continuity between films and a television series is a proven way to help audiences get invested in the new story. Put it like this: if the story sounds like it comes from the same universe, then it becomes easier to accept the story as belonging to that universe, even if none of the regular movie characters show up.

What’s really interesting to me aside from that is the musical connection to other kaiju movies that I swear I can hear. For example, in ‘Kaiju Messiah’, there’s a musical sequence that sounds eerily similar to music I’ve heard in Godzilla (2014), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and Godzilla vs Kong (2021) whenever Godzilla is in action. I don’t know if this is deliberate or not, but it would make sense since the story of Pacific Rim is about fighting kaiju (which is what Godzilla is, albeit in a different story).

Another thing I really like about the music for Pacific Rim: The Black is how descriptive it is. Which is to say it paints an evocative picture of how desolate this setting is, and how dangerous. There’s nothing generic about this music, you know that it belongs to science-fiction just by listening to it. It would’ve been so easy for Netflix to commission music that was bare-bones acceptable, but they didn’t do that, they got music that carries its share of the story, and that is so important. You need the music to drive the final nail home of where this story is taking place, what is this world like? The wrong music, as I’ve said many times before, can break a decent story, and by all accounts this is the best music possible for Pacific Rim: The Black.

PACIFIC RIM: THE BLACK (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL ANIME SERIES)
TRACKLISTING

  1. The Black
  2. They Always Come Back
  3. Jaeger Breaker
  4. The Drift
  5. b0y
  6. Shane
  7. Boneyard
  8. I’ve Had Worse Benders
  9. Mind Heist
  10. Dismei
  11. Ghost Pilot
  12. Shadow Basin
  13. Bogan Boogie
  14. Memories
  15. Never Coming Back
  16. The Most Powerful Man in The Black
  17. Hunter Vertigo
  18. Just Calm Down
  19. Kajiu Messiah
  20. Copperhead
  21. Atlas Destroyer

It’s a shame I didn’t get to this soundtrack a month ago, but better late than never right? I really enjoyed checking out the music for Pacific Rim: The Black, and you should check it out right away if you get the chance, as it is currently available.

Let me know your thoughts on Pacific Rim: The Black (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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My Thoughts on: Godzilla vs Kong (2021)

After delays and delays, I finally sat down this afternoon to watch Godzilla vs Kong, the fourth entry in the MonsterVerse that also includes Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. As the title implies, this film centers around an epic clash between Godzilla and Kong, the two most dominant Titans left on Earth after the events of Godzilla: KOTM.

Given that there are currently no concrete plans for a fifth entry in the MonsterVerse, it would not be unreasonable to look at Godzilla vs Kong as the ending for the story that started in 2014 with Godzilla. Even if the story does continue, there’s no denying that Godzilla vs Kong gets almost everything right and blows every expectation away. Everyone who comes in hoping for that epic kaiju fight is going to get exactly what they wanted. The action is huge, explosive, and was definitely made with an IMAX screen in mind (indeed, I found myself cursing several times throughout the film that I was limited to my TV screen at home because i could tell how this was meant to look in a theater).

Due to wanting to avoid major spoilers, I’m not going to go too in depth with my analysis, but I do want to try and cover some things that I liked. That being said, you should be warned that spoilers of varying sizes may be found after this point.

One of my biggest gripes in Godzilla: King of the Monsters was that the ‘Hollow Earth’ concept (first broached in Kong: Skull Island) wasn’t touched on enough. Well, to put it bluntly, Godzilla vs Kong gave me everything and more that I ever wanted of the Hollow Earth. Not only was it beautifully rendered, it was presented in a way that felt completely believable and, most tantalizingly, it feels like a location that could be visited in future films. And not just in sequels either, I could easily visualize a prequel (or series of prequels even) that details certain events hinted at in this film but set completely in the Hollow Earth. I would pay big money to see that happen.

The best part of the entire film is the conflict between Godzilla and Kong, which as you might expect spans most of the film. I admit to being skeptical about how the filmmakers would pull this fight off, but by god not only did they DO it, they also made it completely believable. I have no trouble believing that Godzilla and Kong are equal combatants (more or less), and while I won’t say who comes out on top, it is presented like a fight that could have gone either way. And that’s how it SHOULD be, you would never sell me on the idea that one opponent far outclasses the other. This was a nail-biting fight to the bitter end and that’s what I got and that’s what I loved about it.

And then there’s MechaGodzilla. I almost considered not mentioning this but I figured at this point I think we all pretty much knew about him being in the film (thanks Internet). I was almost disappointed about this character being in the film, but then I saw how it was presented and I was enraptured by the entire sequence. That was the best way possible to introduce MechaGodzilla to American audiences.

If I had one gripe about Godzilla vs Kong, it’s that there seems to be a clear divide between the characters we met in Godzilla: KOTM and those associated with Kong. It gave me the faint feeling of two films spliced together, but then I remembered that this is the kind of film where, we’re not really here to see the human characters, we’re here strictly for the giant monster fight. And at the end of the day, I’m okay with that because the monster action rocked!

That being said, I need to give a shout out to Kaylee Hottle, a deaf actress that appears in the film as Jia. Deaf characters still don’t get highlighted in major films as much as they should be (John Wick Chapter 2 features Ares (Ruby Rose) signing ASL), and it was refreshing to see not only a character that was acknowledged to be deaf, but also played by an actor that’s deaf too (in John Wick Chapter 2, Ares might have been deaf but Ruby Rose is not). That was one of my favorite parts of the film and I hope future films use this as an example for how they can include deaf characters moving forward.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a proper review on Film Music Central if I didn’t mention the music for a moment. While I feel that Bear McCreary’s score for Godzilla: KOTM is superior, I did enjoy Hans Zimmer’s music for Godzilla vs Kong, even if the parts I liked best were the amalgamations of past Godzilla and Kong themes joined together. If you listen carefully, you can hear musical excerpts from all the past MonsterVerse films throughout the story. And, rather cleverly, I think a big portion of the Kong “musical homage” was including songs in the musical score, a la Kong: Skull Island in 2017. It heightened the idea that all of the past MonsterVerse films were leading to this moment.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I really enjoyed Godzilla vs Kong, it’s the fun big action movie I’ve been wanting to see since the pandemic madness started. Whether you go see it in theaters (please be safe if you do) or on HBO Max, please go see it, it really is worth the time. If this is how the MonsterVerse ends, then I am content with the story it has told. But I wouldn’t say no to more entries either. I guess only time will tell if the story of Godzilla and Kong (and more) continues.

Let me know what you think about Godzilla vs Kong in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Kong: Skull Island (2017), my thoughts

My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Ever since I saw King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters earlier this year, I knew that I would have to check out the original Godzilla films (aside from the original, which I’ve already seen), and at the top of my list was Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the film that introduced the three-headed flying space dragon to the Godzilla story. For whatever reason, I’m just drawn to this particular monster, even before I knew who he was, pictures of King Ghidorah stood out to me.

That’s just one reason I ran out and picked up the Criterion collection of Showa-era Godzilla films (expect a number of those films to be reviewed in the coming days and weeks). The very first film I saw down to watch was Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, and I was glued to the screen from start to finish. The film, like many Godzilla films I’m coming to find, features a number of monsters, including Rodan, Mothra (in larval form), and of course, King Ghidorah in his film debut. The story starts when a mysterious meteor shower comes to Earth, dropping a bizarre meteorite deep in the mountains, one that seemingly affects gravity, it later cracks open to reveal the titular monster.

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At the same time, a foreign princess is presumed murdered in a bombing, only to show up in Japan claiming to be from Venus and making dire predictions about the fate of the world. I admittedly had trouble accepting the Venusian storyline part of this movie, but it does make for an interesting plot device.

Of course the most important thing for me in this movie was the monsters themselves and oh my goodness I got all I wanted and more. Before watching this film, the only monster I’d seen in the original Japanese films was Godzilla himself. This was my first time being Rodan, Mothra, and of course King Ghidorah in their original looks and I loved it all! Well, almost, I actually like Rodan’s appearance in Godzilla: King of the Monsters more than I did here, but that’s more of a nitpick than anything else.  King Ghidorah blew my mind with how real he looked as he flew and moved.

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I also really liked the Shobijin, the twin fairies that can summon Mothra with their (beautiful) singing. I really liked that they speak in unison and that they’re so tiny. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting them to be small, but since they are fairies, it does make sense. Their song for Mothra is beautiful.

The point I’m trying to make is that Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is a really good Godzilla film. It has plenty of monsters, Godzilla gets quite a lot of screen time, and the final battle between Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah is really good given the nature of the special effects being used. I’m continually astounded by how real these creatures look given they’re all portrayed by men in suits! If you want to dive right into the Showa-era films, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster isn’t a bad place to start!

Let me know what you think about Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

*Warning: some spoilers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters follow

Holy sh*t. I say again, holy sh*t! Do I ever have some thoughts on Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

First off, let me say that I was initially not a fan of the MonsterVerse, I can admit that. Godzilla (2014) was okay, and Kong: Skull Island (2017), while better, still didn’t sell me on the concept of a world where Godzilla and King Kong co-exist. And then I saw the first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and I found myself completely buying in. The idea of seeing legendary monsters like King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra realized in American cinema was so exciting that I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out. This film rocketed to the top of the list of films I had to see this year. Listening to the soundtrack last week only increased my excitement. And having seen it, I have to say…I absolutely love it!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters provides all of the kaiju action you could ever want. The battles between King Ghidorah and Godzilla in particular were incredible to watch. I didn’t understand why Ghidorah needed motion capture until last night, when I realized each of Ghidorah’s heads has its own personality (which makes the monster even more fun to watch). I also like how the major kaiju are introduced in the film, with each having a scene set aside for their proper introduction. What makes it even better is that with each introduction, the film provides backstory that explains how we know the names of these creatures.

godzilla_king_of_the_monsters_toho_fans_and_mothra_millie_bobby_brown.jpg

Another thing I like in this film are the Easter eggs that refer back to the original Japanese films. There’s a reference to the Oxygen Destroyer from the original 1954 film, and, unless I’m mistaken, there’s an oblique reference to the twins that are connected to Mothra in multiple films.

Now, with that being said, the film does have its flaws. One of the biggest issues for me are the plot points dealing with the Hollow Earth. I understand, for the most part, what they’re going for with this concept, but I also feel it hasn’t been explained enough. Furthermore, if you went in to Godzilla: KOTM without first seeing Kong: Skull Island, the Hollow Earth theory will be completely new to you, when actually it’s first mentioned in Kong. Now, if I understand the information revealed in the credits correctly, the Hollow Earth is going to be more explored in Godzilla vs. Kong, however I feel like some of those revelations are going to come too late for some and should have arrived in their own separate film, or in THIS film. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, while THAT underwater scene with the Hollow Earth was really cool to look at, I needed more exposition as to how all of that could exist where it does.

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Another flaw that bugs me the more I think about it is Charles Dance. Given how incredible the actor is, I feel like we didn’t get as much of him in the story as we should have. Yes, he has a few good scenes, but I thought there would be a lot more. Also, I really don’t like that his plot arc is essentially left hanging. Did he get away? Did he die with his associates? We don’t know because the movie doesn’t tell us (and as far as I know, he’s not cast in Godzilla vs. Kong). Apart from that, I liked the human story in this film. I agree it’s not the fanciest story ever told, but then again, it’s a Godzilla film, it doesn’t have to be fancy to work.

Overall, despite its flaws, I really enjoyed Godzilla: King of the Monsters. As I suspected, the music elevated certain scenes to epic levels of greatness. I really hope that there will be more films in the future that feature Rodan, Mothra, and the other kaiju now that they’ve been properly introduced. I also think this is the film that finally cemented the MonsterVerse as a solid concept.

Let me know what you think about Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Kong: Skull Island (2017), my thoughts

Film Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

The official soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now available. The music for the third installment in the Monsterverse (following Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017)) was composed by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead). This film sees the world under assault from a series of titans, including Rodan, and the seemingly almighty King Ghidorah. It will ultimately be up to Godzilla to prove himself the alpha monster and take his place as King of the Monsters.

Regarding the score, Bear McCreary had this to say:

“For Godzilla, I chose to incorporate and adapt the legendary Akira Ifukube’s iconic theme, and for Mothra, Yuji Koseki’s immortal ‘Mothra’s Song,’ both being classic themes from the franchise’s origins,” McCreary explained. “I hoped to form a connection between Ifukube’s uniquely brilliant style and the aesthetics of modern blockbusters.”

Additionally, “director Michael Dougherty used the term “Monster Opera” when describing the magnitude and importance of the score to the storytelling.”

I definitely get the sense of “Monster Opera” when listening to McCreary’s score for this film. The music overall creates an epic sense of scope that matches what I’ve seen of the monsters in the previews thus far. The music proclaims what we’ve long known: Godzilla: King of the Monsters is going to be an epic clash on every level.

McCreary does a masterful job incorporating Ifukube’s iconic theme for Godzilla into the score. It’s played relatively straight in the main title, but then McCreary…heightens it, if that makes sense, by incorporating a variety of instruments, remixing the theme to help it reach even greater levels of grandeur. The original theme reappears throughout the score, and I love that McCreary took the time to musically tie this Godzilla film back to the original, as if to say “this is a true successor to the original Godzilla, the music say so.”

Aside from the tracks that include McCreary’s take on the original theme, “Rodan” is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks in the score. I’m not sure if this is Rodan’s theme or simply music associated with his appearance in a scene (there IS a difference), but I love this music anyway. I think this track exemplifies just how dangerous Rodan and the other titans are. McCreary incorporates loud trumpet blasts that I suspect might be mimicking the sounds that Rodan makes (that is a complete guess on my part, I haven’t seen any of the original kaiju films that have Rodan in them so I’m not sure what he sounds like). And if nothing else, these trumpet blasts symbolize the danger that Rodan represents. This music is loud, it’s blaring, it practically screams “Oh my god, RUN!”

And then there’s the music associated with Ghidorah, the monster I’m most looking forward to seeing apart from Godzilla himself. I can’t name these particular tracks because it might lead to some spoilers, but the music that makes up Ghidorah’s theme and is otherwise associated with him left me completely enraptured. I swear McCreary has incorporated into the music a sense of motion that mimics Ghidorah’s three heads moving and twisting about. I am very excited to hear this music in context once the film comes out.

Overall, this is a fantastic film score. For the sake of avoiding potential spoilers I’m not covering the entire soundtrack but believe me when I say this soundtrack latches onto you and doesn’t let you go until the end. Some tracks are fraught with tension, and in others you can almost feel the monsters stomping about as the music plays. Even though the film doesn’t come out until next week, I’m convinced that McCreary has created a score that will seamlessly intertwine with the action to create a spellbinding story. You should definitely listen to this soundtrack when you get the chance, it is one of the best I’ve heard so far this year.

Once you listen to the score (and see the film), let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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