Godzilla And Kong Franchise Can’t Capture The Best Part Of Massive Monster Fights

By Christopher Isaac | Published

godzilla vs. kong

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has finally released and it is another decent offering from the Monsterverse series of films. However, watching it, I can’t help but feel like the latest Godzilla and Kong movies have strayed from what made the Kaiju genre of films take off in the first place: the over the top action of real actors in monster suits.

CGI Is More Expensive

godzilla and kong

Many of you might immediately be dismissive and prefer the CGI look for more fearsome appearing monsters. But CGI is also very expensive for action movies like the Godzilla and Kong films. One of the big complaints coming out of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is fans felt Godzilla did not get enough screen time.

Part of what probably caused that was the studio wanting to be very careful of how big of a special effects budget they would need to invest. Scenes in the script were likely very judiciously examined for how much of the monsters they could afford to use.

Whereas with the classic Kaiju movies, they could show a lot more of Godzilla and Kong since they were able to just use the same suits over and over again.

They Require Fewer Tricks

godzilla and kong

There is also no worry of having to use clever lighting tricks to hide lacking CGI. Jurassic Park famously created its CGI T-Rex in scenes that were at night and in the rain to better obscure any flaws. Many movies still utilize this technique and it can lead to fight scenes that are hard to see with how dark they are, but the studio needs to do it that way so the CGI doesn’t look bad.

Go back and look at a lot of the classic Godzilla and Kong movies and many of the big climactic fights are actually in broad daylight, the better to allow the viewer to see the action.

We Don’t Always Need Realism

I think it’s great that Godzilla Minus One became both the first Godzilla film and the first Japanese film to win an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but it is not always about how realistic the CGI can appear. Sometimes you just want to see a memorable clash between two Kaiju. And in something like Godzilla vs. Kong, one of the criticisms was that the titular fight did not live up to the hype.

Actual Impact

The monster costumes often work better for the Kaiju fights because there is real impact behind them. If Mechagodzilla gets knocked down in the old movies, it feels like a big deal because you can clearly see someone is actually hitting the ground. When the Kaiju collide, you can see the force behind it. 

I like the CGI monsters too, but even with the animated versions of Godzilla and Kong looking more alive since they can appear to blink and breathe, they feel less alive since it is still clearly just digital effects.

Practical Is Better

There is a reason the monster suits were the norm for so long. In a lot of ways, practical effects still just can’t be topped. So while I’m fine with the newer CGI versions of Godzilla and Kong that we have been getting, I do wish we could still get a few movies now and again with the traditional monster suits for that classic feel.