Carlo Carrasco’s Movie Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

After five long years, we finally got ourselves another big budget Godzilla movie from Warner Bros. and Legendary – Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

I can declare it out loud that this new giant monsters movie, even though it has some notable flaws, is indeed a more enjoyable cinematic experience than the 2014 Godzilla movie (directed by Gareth Edwards). What I like about it is that the movie studio and the filmmakers responded to people’s complaints about the 2014 movie.

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Godzilla and King Ghidora!

I will start with the strong points of the film with comparisons to the previous film. In the 2014 movie, people I talked with complained that there was not enough of Godzilla and the grand final battle was barely enough to make up for the monster’s lack of presence. This movie solves that with a lot more of Godzilla on screen and the final battle is grander! As sentimentalism was thrown out, the film also concludes a lot stronger as well!

Some people complained of the lack of giant monsters action in the 2014 film which had lots of slow scenes, a reliance on in-story news media coverage of disasters and an over-emphasis on building up suspense. Godzilla: King of the Monsters solves all of that by ramping up the giant monsters action (lots of monster battles with more than enough action to satisfy moviegoers), established a faster pace on storytelling (as a result, the movie never dragged and did not feel like a 131-minute movie at all), and noticeably reduced the news media focus as well as the suspense build-up.

In the 2014, Monarch’s purpose on monitoring the global presence of giant monsters was established and this sequel raised the stakes further pushing the organization on doing what it was established to do. Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa has noticeably less screen time due to “competition” for spotlight with the many other characters but the filmmakers managed to make the most out of him.

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I can’t help but think that the filmmakers tried to outdo what Steven Spielberg did in Jurassic Park.

Speaking of giant monsters, this movie heavily outclassed its predecessor! Apart from Godzilla are other notable kaijus from the long-running Japanese Godzilla film franchise like the 3-headed dragon King Ghidorah, the deadly Rodan and the grand looking Mothra!

It is clear that director Michael Dougherty and the team made sure that each of those iconic monsters from Japanese cinema not only got sufficient screen time but also honored them with spectacular scenes! King Ghidorah really looks terrifying and even horrific. Rodan alone made the high-speed flying sequence in the film memorable while Mothra was a giant monster that very few people would wish to destroy.

Apart from the giant monsters action, the film’s action sequences are a big improvement over its predecessor even though there were some common action cinema elements recycled (note: tough guys with guns). There the definitely are a lot more thrills now that the suspense build-up has been reduced. Godzilla: King of the Monsters was clearly made to entertain and prevent moviegoers from getting bored.

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The daughter and her mother played by Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga. Don’t let their smiles fool you because the cast in this film is the weakest element.

The movie obviously is not perfect. I never expected it to be perfect at all and as I suspected, the film’s biggest weakness is, again, its human characters. Like the 2014 film, this one has a cast of many people who were created to make moviegoers care for them as the story moves on. Clearly the filmmakers and the actors failed to deliver the goods but in fairness, the cast is more interesting compared with that of the 2014 movie.

In the 2014 Godzilla, the cast was weak, the characters were mostly not worth caring for and there were so many scenes with them. There were times back then I wished the character “development” scenes were cut to speed up the pace. In this sequel, the cast was nowhere as boring as their 2014 counterparts but their dialogue was either weak or had too much exposition (I felt like the characters explaining this and that were talking to the moviegoers).

Speaking of the script, the film failed to justify its concept of the Russell family which first appeared in a short scene (that took place during the 2014 film’s story). The family focus started decently with Vera Farmiga as Mrs. Russell (with her daughter living with her) working with a device that could help humanity gain some control over the giant monsters. As the story went on, the spotlight had to be divided by the large cast of characters and the monsters which ultimately made the Russell family less relevant. Kyle Chandler’s entry into the film as Mr. Russell did not save the family aspect of the story even though he proved to be the “instant resourceful and knowledgeable” character of them all.

While the cast had mostly one-dimensional characters, at least Charles Dance’s performance as the human villain proved to be interesting. Apart from being the leader of a team of armed personnel and having a history of being disillusioned with humanity which led him to becoming an anarchist eco-terrorist, there is still this element of mystery about him. Although he leads a group, could he be working discreetly for some sort of secret society or a group of elite people with sinister intentions for reforming the world? We won’t find out until the next movie.

Charles Dance casting in this film seems inspired. I remember how good he was in playing the villain in 1993’s Last Action Hero. His role is not very loud but still his presence in this movie is the best thing of the weak cast.

Other problems? As great as the giant monsters spectacle were, there were these camera framing problems. There were many monster action strikes that were “filmed” too close to the camera. I felt that the filmmakers tried too hard to deliver moviegoers the “in your face” action with the monsters and ultimately those efforts ended up being an annoying experience. With regards to storytelling, the plot is serviceable at best but, then again, we cannot expect a very engaging story with Godzilla so this is not a surprise. At the very least, this sequel’s plot works better than that of its predecessor. The plot here does not drag mainly because the filmmakers put heavy emphasis on spectacle and speed.

If there is an advantage the 2014 movie has over the sequel, it’s the sense of scale. The giant monsters are indeed gigantic but they moved rather fast for their size and this breaks the sense of scale for moviegoers. They looked gigantic but they don’t feel gigantic when in motion.

As for Milly Bobby Brown’s character, the scenes in which she escaped from the secret facility going into Boston and then entering the baseball stadium’s operation room without even being detected or prevented by security measures were just unbelievable. And I thought the concept of poor security in Terminator Salvation was bad. Oh yes, Bradley Whitford’s attempts on providing humor ended in failure. He was more annoying and never funny.

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One of the three heads of King Ghidorah! Up-close, they look terrifying!

Overall, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is indeed highly entertaining and anyone who loves on-screen battles between giant monsters will surely enjoy it a lot. Its cast is weak (although nowhere as weak as the 2014 film), its storytelling is flawed and there were some parts that made the 2014 look better but still the good stuff outweighed the bad stuff. As far as Hollywood-made giant monster movies go, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is indeed the best!

Oh yes! One last thing! The playing of threads from the theme music from the 1954 Godzilla movie was a very nice touch and will resonate with any moviegoer who enjoyed the Japanese Godzilla films. Clearly the MonsterVerse continues to deliver the fun and greatness!

Bring on Godzilla vs. Kong!!!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

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My Observations: Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set

A few months ago, I had lunch at Sigekiya Ramen inside Commercenter, Filinvest City, Alabang. Many times have I been consuming Tsukemen or ramen at that restaurant which has been operating since April 2016. The notable thing about Sigekiya Ramen is that they maintain a high level of quality on their food (which explains why they use many imported ingredients) which, in my opinion, justify the prices.

After some thinking during my visit, I decided to try, for the first time ever, one of their rice meals and I ordered their Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

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The Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

It did not take too long for them to serve me the meal which came with a bowl of rice topped with chicken laced with teriyaki sauce and some sesame seeds, a cup of miso soup and a small serving of salad.

Slowly I took a sip first of the miso soup which tasted good. Then I examined the chicken on the rice bowl which turned out to be boneless. In terms of serving, the amount of chicken was generous.

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A close look.

 

Using chopsticks, I went for a portion of both chicken and rice. The result? A delightful taste! I can say that the chicken and rice were both well cooked and the teriyaki sauce prepared was pretty flavorful. Slowly, I kept consuming more of the rice and chicken, alternating with the soup and the salad.

To put things in perspective, teriyaki refers to a Japanese dish consisting of fish or meat marinated in soy sauce and grilled.

Overall, Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set was a nice hit and I can say that I got my money’s worth.


Thank you for reading. If you find this lifestyle article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

PRESS RELEASE: Hong Kong, China Share in Day’s Glory in Subic Bay

Hong Kong, China Share in Day’s Glory in Subic Bay

Subic Bay, Philippines – April 28, 2019 – Fresh from its domination of the sprint events a day earlier, powerhouse Hong Kong found the men’s and women’s elite field in the 26th edition of the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup , a tougher nut to crack and had to settle  for a share in the day’s glory with HK winning the men’s side and China ruling the distaff side  at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

HK’s Oscar Coggins , now campaigning in the men’s elite from the junior ranks, took advantage of his familiarity with hot weather racing conditions, took first place in 1:49.20 , repulsing the challenge of the feared Japanese team that  took the  next 5 slots after Coggins with reigning Asian Games champion and top seed Jumpei Furuya settling for a very close second place in 1:49.30 while Takumi Hojo placed 3rd in 1:49.45. Rounding out the top 5 finishers were Shiruba Taniguchi who  negotiated the 1standard distance race in 1:50.11 , and Yuichi Hosoda in 1:50.36.

” I like the hot weather, I have been training n Australia  the past two months , but I really did not ease up until the finish line. I am happy with my time, ” said Coggins  who took the lead  at the 6K mark and steadily pulled away from the  rest.

Another  surprise however  was in the local side where 19 year old Cebuano Andrew Remolino upstaged his older and more experienced national team mates  with his 17th place finish in 1:54.49, his first sub  two hour  race, target ko sana majasali sa top 10 malalakas lahat ng kalaban, sa mga locals, nakauna ako sa swim leg at na maintain ko yung lead, wala ng nakahabol, ” said Remolino who trains under his father, coach Andoy Remolino.

With his finish, the younger Remolino has positioned himself as a contender  for a slot in the forthcoming SEA Games, : hopeful ako na ma select ako sa national team , ” added Remolino after the race supported by the POC, the PSC, SBMA and its Tourism Department, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), NTT, ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel and Pocari Sweat.

On the women’s competition, defending champion Mengying Zhong, reasserted herself anew and led practically led from start to finish but pulled away in the final run leg en route to a solo finish in 2:04.17 with the Japanese afain relegated to runner up finishes with Aoi Kuranoto a far second in 2:04.41, followed by Yurie Kato who negotiated the 1.4K swim -40K bike – 10K distance race in 2:05.32. HK’s Yan Yin Hilda Choi took 4th place in 2:05.37 while in 5th was Macau entry Long Hoi with a finishing time of 2:05.57.

Best placed Filipina was national triathlete Kim Kilgroe who finished in 12th place overall with her time of 2:10.10 even as she is practically assured of a slot in the SEA Games together with Kim mangrobang who is training and competing in Europe, and SEA Games gold  medalist Claire Adorna who ended in 15th place in yesterday’s race in Subic. Adorna clocked 2:13.01.

” This was definitely a strong field with several  world ranked participants . For the national team, we will have our final qualifying race in Korea in June where we will bring  our national training pool  for a camp and race in the Asian Cup, then we  will announce the final selection for the SEA Games, a minimum of 3 , maximum of 5 triathletes, ” said Triathlon Association of the Philippines ( TRAP ) president Tom Carrasco Jr. who cited the  performance  of Remolino in the  race.


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2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup Day Two awarding
Awarding of the Male and Female Elite Top 3 winners at the recently concluded 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup inside the freeport led by Men’s champion Oscar Coggins from Hong Kong and back-to-back Women’s champion Mengying Zhong of China.
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2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup Men’s Champion
Men’s Elite champion Oscar Coggins from Hong Kong at the finish line during the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup held yesterday (Sunday) inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Press release and photo captions composed by Lito Cinco.

 

2019 NTT Subic Bay International Triathlon in the News (April 22, 2019)

The 2019 NTT Subic Bay International Triathlon Asian Cup event is back in the sports news with the recent press release.

It made the following newspapers:

Philippine Star

Manila Bulletin

Tempo

Manila Standard

Manila Times 

Business Mirror

People’s Tonight

Malaya Business Insight

The triathlon will take place at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone this coming weekend. Contact the TRAP immediately for inquiries.

 

 

 

 

Asian Games Triathlon Gold Medalist Banners Large Field in 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT)

Asian Games Triathlon Gold Medalist Banners Large Field in 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT)

Pasig City, Philippines – April 20, 2019 – Japanese Jumpei Furuya, 2018 Asian Games triathlon gold medalist, banners a large field of   foreign hopefuls vying for qualifying points in the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup set for April 27 and 28.

Furuya, currently ranked no. 43 in the world and champion of last January’s NTT ASTC Asian Cup event in Rayong, Thailand will be backstopped by 13 other Japanese triathletes.

Poised to crowd out the Japanese are China’s sextet and Hong Kong’s large contingent–33 entries spread over the Elite, Junior and Super Sprint Distance Categories.

Supported by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC,) NTT, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP) and Pocari Sweat, SuBIT lured over a hundred foreign entries.

Chinese Taipei had entered 18, Korea 16, Macao 10, Singapore nine, Syria six and Thailand four.

Not to be discounted in the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run Elite competition are both the pair of Australians and Palestinians and a sole Canadian.  

According to Tom Carrasco, Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) president, John Chicano will spearhead the Philippine challenge along with Kim Remolino even as Filipino-Spanish Fer Caseres is seen to spring a surprise in his quest for a slot in the Team Philippines for the SEA Games in December.

In the distaff side, 2017 SEA Games medalist Claire Adorna, Asia Games veteran Kim Kilgroe and fast rising JC Abad are the country’s best bets.

Overall, close to 800 foreigners and locals will see action in the annual event organized by the TRAP in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Tourism Department.

For more information, visit Triathlon.org.ph or send email at trapsecretariat@gmail.com.

 

 

Final Fantasy Bonanza for Xbox Fans!

When rumors floated online in 2005 that Square Enix was being attracted by Microsoft to release games on what was back then their upcoming game console the Xbox 360, there were some gamers who just dismissed those rumors claiming that the Japanese company would NEVER release its role-playing games (RPGs) – specifically Final Fantasy games – on a console of an American company.

It was a different time back then for console gaming. Square Enix released Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XII plus some Dragon Quest and Front Mission games on Sony’s highly successful PlayStation 2 (PS2) console. The company even developed a Final Fantasy spin-off for the GameCube with Nintendo as publisher.

For the original Xbox console, Square Enix made no games for it at all.

Things turned during the time of the Xbox 360. Square Enix published several games for it and to the delight of Xbox fans who love Final Fantasy, the company released Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy XI and other games.

This year Square Enix released several of their classic Final Fantasy games released for Xbox One gamers via Xbox LIVE – Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X and X-2 and a few others.

The other announced game, Final Fantasy XII (The Zodiac Age), will be released on April 30.

Among these games, I’m currently playing Final Fantasy IX on my Xbox One and even though it has been almost twenty years since I last played it, I can say that I am enjoying it again. The game is technically a port of the PC version (which comes with cleaned-up graphics most evident on the character and creature models) and not a remastered version. More importantly, the gameplay is still fun (even though it has those random battles) and the story has a lot of heart.

With the classic Final Fantasy games available via Xbox LIVE, now is the time for Xbox fans (who love Final Fantasy or those who are very interested in Japanese role-playing games) to acquire them while they can. We should be very thankful to Square Enix (and surely to Microsoft’s Xbox team led by Phil Spencer) for those games.

Final Fantasy X and X-2 were remastered for Xbox One while the upcoming Final Fantasy XII has already been confirmed to run at a super smooth 60-frames-per-second on the premium Xbox One X console.

What is missing from the FF classics is Final Fantasy VIII which continues to puzzle gamers to this day.

If more Xbox gamers buy these classic FF games, then perhaps Square Enix will be convinced to release more of their past hits of their other franchises like Front Mission and Dragon Quest. Perhaps they will consider releasing the older, 2D FF games like Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.

Apart from enjoying the varied stories, characters and gameplay styles, gamers will also enjoy the music of Nobuo Uematsu.

For your enjoyment, I embedded below Xbox channel videos of Final Fantasy.