REVIEW: Is ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ OK for kids?
Godzilla: King of Monsters (PG-13) has the destruction and battles we’ve come to expect, but plenty of content that may give parents pause.
Dr. Emma Russell is a caring mother, a brilliant scientist and a lover of animals.
Her favorite animals, though, aren’t the ones you’d find at your local zoo. Instead, they’re buried miles underground, waiting to be discovered and unleashed.
These “titans” are taller than skyscrapers. They breathe out radioactive fire. They can destroy a city within seconds.
Some, like Godzilla, are mostly benevolent. Others, though, are so vicious that cities are evacuating.
Russell’s organization, Monarch, wants to study these mythical creatures and determine which ones aren’t harmful. The government, though, wants them destroyed. All of them.
It’s an ideological battle that could determine the future of humanity.
The movie Godzilla: King of Monsters (PG-13) opens this weekend, telling the story of the famous fire-breathing dinosaur as it clashes with other monsters from the depths. It stars Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) as Russell; Kyle Chandler (Manchester by the Sea) as her ex-husband, Mark; and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) as their daughter, Madison.
The film is a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla and is part of the “MonsterVerse” franchise by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Kong: Skull Island (2017) and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) are the other MonsterVerse films.
The creatures (according to the plot) were hidden for millennia within earth but were awoken and/or brought to the surface due to atomic bomb testing and mining.
In King of Monsters, an evil villain wants to release all of the earth’s titans in order to restore balance to the planet. Why? Because we’ve destroyed it. The titans are the planet’s “original and rightful rulers.”
We could live together in peace! Of course, that will occur only after millions of us die.
King of Monsters is similar to other CGI-dominated peril movies: light on plot and heavy on (impressive) visual effects. For lovers of monster movies, it’s fun. But it has several problems that may give parents pause.
Warning: minor/moderate spoilers!
(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)
Moderate/extreme. The movie begins with a scene of a titan causing destruction and ends with a similar, but more destructive, scene. In between, titans fight one another, destroy cities and even eat people. The movie is visually dark, which only adds to the suspense. Mothra, a giant larva, hatches and then sparks havoc; men with machine guns try to kill her. Godzilla spooks an underwater vessel. We see a mother, father and daughter on opposite sides of a hostage situation. We see bodies on the ground following a gunfight. A three-headed creature, Ghidorah, rises from the earth and shoots fire-lightning from its mouths. A volcano erupts, revealing another titan, the winged creature Rodan. It threatens the island’s population. A creature swallows a pilot who had parachuted from a plane. Nuclear bombs are used but for the good. Major cities are destroyed, including Washington, D.C. A character sacrifices his life to try to save the population. Later, another character does the same. If my first-grade son watched this film, he’d have nightmares for a week.
Minimal. We hear a reference to animal “genitals”
Moderate/Extreme. S–t (8); h-ll (8); misuse of “Jesus” (6); GD (3); misuse of “God” (3); misuse of “Christ” (1); d–n (1); b–ch (1); f-word (1); a– (1); SOB (1).
Other Positive Elements
For a monster movie, the newest Godzilla film has a solid family angle. Mark Russell regrets not saving his son during Godzilla’s 2004 rampage in San Francisco. He is remorseful over his past drinking habits and his behavior that broke apart the family. We see him sitting alone in his house, watching old family videos. He wants a second chance.
Other Stuff You Might Want To Know
Madison, the daughter of Dr. Russell, gives the middle finger to a bad guy. When someone says “Mother of God” in exclamation, the evil Jonah Alan responds, “She had nothing to do with this.” Madison and her mom clash often.
The film includes minor Christian images. When Rodan destroys an island village and stands atop a volcano, we see a large cross in the foreground, still standing. We also see a soldier perform the sign of the cross.
King of Monsters provides lessons on courage (several characters), self-sacrifice (two characters die for the greater good) and parental love and second chances (Mark).
The film flirts with the idea that Godzilla and the other titans are more than just monsters. Dr. Ilene Chen, a member of Monarch, discusses her ancestors’ belief that dragons are “sacred, divine creatures” that provide “strength” and “redemption.”
“They really were the first gods,” she says.
We see the creatures bow down to Godzilla.
Meanwhile, the film’s villains tell us that people are bad for the earth. They pollute and overpopulate. They start wars.
“Humans have been the dominant species for thousands of years, and look what’s happened.”
Johnny Rockets, Old Spice, Visa, XBox and HyperX.
The special effects.
The thin plot. The excessive profanity — especially the taking of God’s name in vain.
1. Do you believe people are a danger to Earth?
2. How should a Christian view environmentalism? (See Genesis 1:28, Psalm 8:6-8, Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:1-7.)
3. Are some animals “divine”? Why or why not?
4. Are all curse words equal in God’s eyes?
Entertainment rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language.