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How Dumb Is ‘Godzilla x Kong’?

April 2, 2024
Notes
Transcript
Before we get started: you’re running out of time to pick up tickets to the live show at the Bryant Street Alamo Drafthouse in DC. Tuesday, April 9. We’re talking Arrival. It’s gonna be great! Tickets are just seven bucks, you really have no excuse not to be there.

Yes, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is dumb. But is it fun dumb or dumb dumb? That’s the question Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) endeavor to answer this week. Before that, they talk about the Entertainment Strategy Guy’s suggestion that we’re all being a little too hard on the traditional studios and their forays into streaming and a little too easy on the tech giants and their forays into streaming. Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ on Friday for the bonus episode, in which we suggest some silly franchise crossovers. And if you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend!

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome back to this Tuesday’s across the movie, I will present it by Bulwark Plus. I’m your host Sunny Bunch Culture Editor of The Bulwark. I’m Joy as always by the award winning Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post and Peter soonerman of Reason Magazine. Alissa Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:24

    I am swell.
  • Speaker 3
    0:00:25

    I am so happy to be talking about movies with friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:28

    Before we get started, quick reminder that across the movie, I live is happening Tuesday, April ninth, seven PM at the Bryant Street Alamo Draft House in Washington, DC. We are showing and talking arrival, the Deny Villeneuve movie. Tickets are going fast. I think there’s about forty left again there in that first two rows, but those are great seats. They’re fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:48

    You can sit there and crane your neck back and You don’t even have to crane it back because the seats recline very nicely. It’s very comfortable. Come watch good movie. Meet some fellow across the movie, Isle fans, say hi to us, have a few Beers at your table, it’ll be fun. It’s gonna be a good time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:03

    Alright. Now on to controversies and controversies. Last week, across the movie aisle, favorite entertainment strategy guy put out an interesting newsletter at the Anchler suggesting that we, that is the collective we, the entertainment media we, are harder on the traditional movie studios than we are on the tech giants when it comes to streaming stuff routinely ridiculing moves made by, say, peacock or Warner Brothers while lauding or quietly ignoring, the same moves or disasters made by, streaming services owned by Apple, Amazon, Netflix. Just a few examples here. So Peacock, a lot of people made fun of Peacock.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:37

    They were the butt of jokes. When they shelled out a ton of money for an NFL playoff game, you know, everybody’s setting me cancel service reminder buttons, you know, and and then it turns out it led to millions of new subscribers, and the seventy one percent of those sign ups remained active. Two plus months later, which means, it’s probably a win. Right? It’s still a loss leader for Peacock.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:57

    It’s still a money losing proposition just one to one. Hey, this is, not gonna pay for itself, but it got people to sign up for the service. They’re sticking around. You saw knock on effects like the office popping up in the top ten of the Nielsen streaming for the first time, etcetera, etcetera. Meanwhile, Amazon, similarly, almost certainly lost money on their Thursday night games, and there’s no way Sunday ticket made money for YouTube, but those are touted as big moves, big wins for the tech companies, which is Again, it’s just kinda weird.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:25

    Movies like the Marvel and the Flash were slammed as huge money losers for Disney Plus and WP, or Disney proper and WP. Yet they earned far more money than something like killers of a flower moon, which industry watchers have been slow to Sam as a flop. They earn way more money than Napoleon. Or look at the world of streaming where something like secret invasion, which is described as a huge disappointment for Disney plus. People said, was it just a massive huge failure, did way bigger numbers, way bigger numbers than the similarly expensive citadel on Amazon Prime.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:56

    Now Citadel hasn’t been lauded as a huge win or anything for the streamer, but no one is really talking about it like the disaster it really is either. It’s just kind of there. Most things are just kind of there. The most interesting divergence, and what I wanna focus on here for a minute, is the treatment of WB’s decision to kill batgirl and coyote versus acne. We’ll see if they still kill but coyote versus acne.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:18

    It’s, and it’s kind of in the works. But people lost their minds about it. Whereas Netflix decided to shelve Halleberry’s the mothership, And you were probably sitting there saying, what’s the mothership? I don’t even know what that is. And that’s because you’ve never heard of it because there wasn’t a month long freak out when Netflix decided to shelve it, unlike when Warner Brothers decided to shelve batgirl and coyote versus Acmy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:42

    And I think this last one really gets the heart of the matter. Right? No one actually cares when a Netflix original gets shelved because no one really considers Netflix originals to be art. Really, outside of the handful of Oscar bait movies they release, between October and December every year. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:57

    Netflix is a content factory, and nobody really cares when a widget doesn’t make it off the manufacturing floor. WP, on the other hand, Warner Brothers, they are a movie studio, and movie studios make art or at least are to Jason’s commercial commercial projects, which is, you know, why we all get a little more sensitive when they decide to shelve something. And then we can talk fandoms and all that and, you know, the the role of that sort of thing here. But, you know, the the real point here, and this is, I think, what the entertainment strategy guy is getting at Spiking batgirl and spiking coyote versus Acmy, these are convenient ways to bash David Zazlaw, the much hated head of Warner Brothers. And look, I get it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:35

    I don’t like a lot of the moves that Warner Brothers has made. I don’t like the way that HBO has been treated. I don’t like the destruction of the HBO Max app, which it really is almost terrible to use now. It’s very hard to look at that home screen. Just as a, you know, person who loves HBO and film, you go to that screen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:51

    It’s like, well, one thing I wanna and then seventeen seasons of doctor pimple popper, whatever. That’s neither here nor there. This loops back to the broader question. Why is it that the tech based streamer seem to get a pass on this sort of thing while the studios are constantly taking it on the chin, Peter, is there a pro tech streamer bias in the entertainment media or is something else going on here?
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:11

    I don’t know if I would actually call it a pro tech or streamer bias. It is, it is much more to do with our our sense of artistic justice. And it it’s just about the sort of widgets versus, versus cinema versus art, dichotomy that you have already raised here. To the extent that there is a pro tech bias, it’s that tech is big and successful, and there’s a you know, that that makes it that makes the big tech companies look like winners and there is, in there is often in business journalism. A pro winners bias, right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:48

    And and because they’re big and they sort of, like, even if they lose a ton of money on something, they stay big and stay successful, They look like winners. Now that’s not that’s obviously not always true in all business journalism. There is in fact a large antagonistic strain, but to the that there are people who are writing about this sort of thing. I think, you know, we owe we talk about fan communities around specific franchises or shows or IPs, But in the business world, there are fan communities around big tech companies. I think people actually are pretty aware of this phenomenon when it comes to Apple, but it’s not just Apple either.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:22

    There are sort of people who are like, yes. This company is dominating, and I love it. And it’s a sports game for them. And in. So it’s like, yeah, they’re buying a big thing, and it’s big.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:32

    Good for them. Thumbs up. And, I I also think there is just a a kind of a recognition of of a real reality here, and and the entertainment strategy guy post that you reference, which is great, gets into this, which is those big tech companies do have a real advantage, just a a a sort of built in advantage given their circumstances, which is that it’s not that big a deal for them to lose a ton of money. And in some cases, it might even be strategically advantageous for them to lose a ton of money. And so it may be that because they are operating at a a financial plane that other companies, including big movie studios, which, you know, bringing billions of dollars a year in revenue even in bad years.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:18

    It may be that the big tech companies are in fact doing something that is smart and savvy and good for their bottom lines and good for customers while losing money that if a movie studio did the same thing, it would not be a good idea because the movie studio would be costing itself in some way that it can’t afford. And so there it may just be that there is a that it is correct at least partially that when Apple does it, it’s a or am or Amazon does it, it’s a good idea. And when Warner Warner Brothers does it, maybe it’s not such a good idea.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:52

    Yeah. I at least, I think that is I think that’s a real issue here, right, which is that tech is big, tech is successful, you know, the market cap for Apple is absurd multiple of the market cap of all the movie studios combined
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:09

    of, like, a bunch of countries. I mean, yeah, like, like, many countries don’t have their GDP is not Apple’s market. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:16

    We’re we’re I mean, we’re talking about we’re talking about, you know, something on Apple know, they spend let’s say they spend two hundred million dollars on a foundation series that thirty seven people watch. Does it matter? Does it matter to Apple? No. But if HBO spent two hundred million dollars on a show thirty seven people watched, and they may have with race by wolves, I don’t know what the exact numbers on both sides of that equation are, but it’s probably far off that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:40

    Show I liked, by the way. I love raised by wolves, but I I was one of the rare ones.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:44

    There’s two people on this podcast watch and liked raised by wolves weirdest show I’ve seen in a decade.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:50

    But, you know, that’s that’s the sort of thing where if you if you spend that sort of money and nobody watches it, nobody signs up for your service, then that’s that does actually hurt Warner Brothers in a in a way that it it cannot hurt Apple or Amazon or whatever else. So the question I I I guess I guess my question for you is, is fair even the right way to look at this? I mean, like, it’s the, the it’s the unforgiven line. Right? Deserves got nothing to do with it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:15

    Yeah. And what I was gonna say is that I think the useful way to think about this is not in terms of whether the mainstream media is being fair or unfair. And I think that kind of charge is always just really complicated to parse. But I think rather we are operating in an information ecosystem that has been very sec successfully distorted by the non traditional media companies who have entered the media market. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:38

    I mean, we there has been talk for years about how Netflix did not release useful information about the viewership of individual shows. And even now, the sort of minutes watch, minutes watch, you know, number of streams to completion, whatever, all of this stuff is kind of gobbledy gook under the best of circumstances. And more importantly, it doesn’t give us a framework for understanding the success or failure of an individual project means to the company’s bottom line. Right? A subscription business is inherently a different business than a ticket you know, units sold business.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:14

    A tech company that operates a, you know, a movie studio as part of a large and diversified set of business operations is a very different entity than a company that just makes movies and television shows. And so, You know, if there is a sense that people are harder on traditional studios, traditional media companies, when they shelve products, when they, you know, make moves like sending something direct to streaming. It’s because there exists a framework in business journalism in in medium journalism for talking about what those moves mean. There is just no great way that I am aware of to talk about what, you know, the potential financial loss killers of the flower moon means to Apple’s business strategy. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:01

    And maybe the answer is that it means nothing. Right? Maybe the tech companies are all just sort of playing with house money and, you know, producing stuff. So Ted Sarindos can hang out with Meghan Markle and Montecito. You know, there there is just not a conventional frame of reference for explaining what the S successor failure of the individual products produced by tech based media companies mean to those companies the same way that there is to be able to say that, you know, David DeZaslav has decided that Warner Brothers is making too much content and it’s not good enough and he’s gonna shrink it down and take some tax losses.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:35

    Right? It’s just, you know, by blowing up viewership metrics for streaming stuff, the streaming companies injected an enormous amount of uncertainty into the system, but the business metrics are also just different, and there is not a good way to talk about that. I do not particularly think this is the result of homorism. I think it’s just a apples to oranges situation, that is not particularly easy to clarify for lay breeders.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:03

    Or apple to oranges. Uh-huh. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:06

    I I think that see, it’s interesting, Alissa, because I think that’s that’s both right and wrong. I I mean, it’s right in the sense absolutely that we don’t know what a profit and loss model looks like for AppleTV plus. We just don’t because we don’t know how much money they’re making, what they’re trying, what they’re even trying to do. We don’t know what the actual goal is there. If it’s to sell hardware, that people use then to watch the software on.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:28

    We don’t know if it’s just simple brand maintenance. We don’t know what it is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:32

    Is it fun Right? Like, is it just is it fun to have so much money that you can, you know, make Martin Scorsese’s dreams come true and make him happy? Maybe it’s just fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:40

    Maybe it’s just fun. Well, and we don’t know what the end goal with Amazon Prime is. Right? We don’t know what the what the goal with Prime Video is. If it’s if it’s to integrate purchasing socks while you watch Jack Reacher, like, oh, he’s wearing a pair of darn tough.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:54

    Hiking boots socks. That’s great. I wanna get the size seventeen XL that he wears.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:57

    I mean, I think that’s that’s clearer. And, you know, obviously, I say this is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jeff Bezos. But with Prime, the idea is to give more value to the prime subscription that people pay every year. Right? Like, it’s, you know,
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:10

    it’s short for sure. Like, Amazon has data that shows that people buy a lot more stuff if they are prime subscribers, so they are making the prime subscription more valuable by adding features like music and movies and etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:23

    Absolutely. But quantifying all of this is very hard. Trying to figure out specifically, like, what citadel does versus doesn’t do for your, you know, entertainment dollar is is it’s very difficult. So, alright. So set that set that aside.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:34

    I think that’s basically right. The one the one place where I disagree, with you, in terms of the, specifically, the discussion of fairness. And and how we talk about things is how we talked about the shelving of those movies. Right? So, like, again, you’ve got this Holly Berry movie that nobody knows anything about Nobody really cares about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:52

    It’s some it’s some Netflix original. If we see it, we don’t see it. It doesn’t it doesn’t matter. Nobody there is no set of fans there that’s like, where’s my Halley Berry content? I loved all the Hallley Berry stuff.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:04

    I wanna watch more of it. And there’s no I mean, I assume someone is saying that somewhere. But it’s not it’s not like DC or Marvel or looney tunes. Right? But at the same time, you don’t have the anguished think pieces where the writers for roger ebert dot com are sitting down and saying, people worked on these movies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:21

    They poured hours of their lives into them. This is a betrayal of the ID. You know, the whole movie business is built on taking risks, and sometimes you make a thing and it’s bad. But you don’t disrespect the people who made the but there was we saw peace after peace like this when the back rolled news came down and when the coyote versus acme news came down. We saw peace after piece like this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:41

    And we absolutely do not see that with Netflix. We do not see that with Netflix. And I don’t think it’s because writers, you know, have any special love for Netflix. I think if anything, the opposite is true. I think I think people are more willing to take shots at Netflix than any other studio just in terms of, like, the actual stuff that they make.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:58

    But I also I also think that the reason those pieces got written specifically about Warner Brothers and not Netflix is because as the as the entertainment strategy got kind of alluded to, people really wanted to take shots at David’s as love. And and, like, for for good reason, frankly, I that guy sucks. Whatever. Take shots of David Zaslow. But I do there was a there was a maybe I am just reading my own biases into this, but it felt like there was a very specific and intentional, effort to target them for this sort of thing that simply does not happen anywhere else.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:33

    Wait.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:33

    Are you saying the journalists are bringing in their personal hobby horses into their supposedly neutral work?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:39

    I would never, but I hear it happens.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:41

    Okay. So two things. One, I am the only person on the planet who’s extremely upset about the shelving of coyote Viacme because I love the New York historian, which is based. It’s unbelievably hilarious, and we deserve the Ian Fraser cinematic universe. Two, don’t you think though that that attitude towards Netflix and the streamers actually represents sort of a deep well of condescension towards them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:02

    Right? Like, if it’s a question of fairness, then there is sort of a fundamental presumption of unseriousness in the lack of attention paid to their slights and what they do about it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:13

    I mean, I totally I mean, again, I I I I believe that there is an absolutely this this art versus widget mentality. That’s why I framed it that way. I I really think that that is that’s that’s a real thing. But I also, Peter, I mean, look, I I do think it gives if you hand people, an extra brick to throw at David Zasloff, they’re gonna chuck it. They’re gonna they’re gonna rear back and throw it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:34

    And that doesn’t you just don’t see it. You don’t see the same sort of tone or attitudes, again, specifically on this issue. With regard to, the text streamers when stuff gets canceled.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:46

    Tesla makes for a good villain. There are a lot of people who don’t like him. Yep. And I think some of those reasons are good. Some of those reasons are are not as good.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:54

    It’s complicated. We could do a whole episode just on Zezlov. But the other thing though, you sort of if you wanna compare Zazlov’s canceling of a bat girl, or a coyote versus acne to to mothership, there are two differences there that we should note and that that I think are important. One is Cody versus Acmy and batgirl both take place use popular existing IP. There are fans of looney tunes, and there are fans of the Batman movies, right, and the the bat verse characters.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:26

    And and the filmmakers frankly are there have have fans. Mother ship is does not is not connected to anything except people who like Halle Berry. I don’t even know who directed it. And I’ve read a couple of stories about this. But the other thing, so so there’s the IP difference, and that that makes a big that that’s a big divide.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:45

    Right? Because people fixate on. I wanna see more Batman stuff in a way that they don’t fixate on. I wanna see another weird science fiction movie, from Netflix that is probably I will forget two hours after I see it. But the other thing is the mothership news came afterwards.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:01

    And there’s, like, to some extent, exhaustion gets burned out on these things. Right? So it’s batgirl first and then coyote versus Zach Me, and then mothership. And in order there by the time mothership was canceled. It was just another movie.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:14

    They had canceled for tax reasons. And and, like, to some extent, you how many times can you write that story?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:20

    Maybe Netflix has better PR people.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:21

    I think it’s fair to say they have better PR people than David Zazolov personally. That’s for sure. Alright. So what do we think? Is it a controversy or an This is that that the studios are treated more harshly by observers than the tech streamers peer.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:34

    I don’t think it’s actually a controversy that people who are invested in movies as an art form are very focused on the movie studios. Maybe they maybe those people should be equally focused on large tech companies but it’s just not at all surprising to me that they reserve more passion, what whether it’s positive or negative, for the companies that are devoted primarily to making movies. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:01

    It’s a controversy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:02

    I think it’s a mild controversy. I do think that I think they’re should be there should be more equity, more equity in the in the brick bat swinging in, I think, in the in the media. Take it. Take it take it to the give the studios a little more credit. They’re trying real hard folks.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:16

    They gotta they gotta tough. They’ve been dealt a tough hands. Oh. They’re up against these bottomless pockets. Of this, the tech giants.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:24

    They gotta make things happen for for the for the rest of us. Make the make good things for the rest of us. Alright. Make sure to swing by Bulwark clause for our bonus episode on Friday in which we’re gonna offer up some pitches for Hollywood, in the wake of the blockbuster success of godzilla b kong and those movies. What franchise face off should the studios pursue next?
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:43

    We got some pretty crazy ideas. You’re not gonna wanna miss some things or getting things are gonna get silly. Got a feeling things are gonna get very silly. We’ll see. Speaking of the big lizard and the big monkey, on to the main event.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:55

    Godzilla Con, the new empire. That’s right. The x and the title is silent for some reason. It’s not godzilla x kong or godzilla times kong. It’s Godzilla Kong, the new empire, news you can use.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:07

    You don’t wanna sound like a fool when you mention godzilla Kong, new empire to your friends, do you? As the film begins, Kong lives below us in hollow earth. He’s searching for more Kongs. He wants he wants more kongs to play with. Godzilla lives on the surface occasionally fighting massive kaiju’s in leveling cities in the in the process after taking out one big fella, he curls up for a nap in the coliseum, much to the chagrin of Italian authorities who were told they could shut up about it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:34

    Just shut up Italy. You can’t do nothing about godzilla. That’s what that’s what you can do. On the human side of things
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:41

    you’re gonna give this movie a thumbs up because somebody said shut up to the Italians.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:44

    I I mean, it’s, you know, you you just you love you love to see it. On the human side of things, Aileen Andrews, who’s played by, Rebecca Hall. Trying to figure out why her war, Gia, who’s played by Kaylee Hoddle, is seeing and drawing weird spikes of electromagnetic energy. It’s the thing kids do. You get used to it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:00

    She’s also reconnecting with Trapper, who’s played by Dan Stevens, a veterinarian who replaces Kong’s impacted tooth with a titanium crown, and, conspiracy Secret Podcast Bernie who’s played by Brian Tyree Henry, who just wants everyone to believe him. He was there. He helped. He helped. Save the world for Meckett godzilla just believe it, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:19

    He just wants he just wants some credit. And now look, I could describe I could describe the plot of this movie. In detail. Probably, it involves Kong, finding more Kongs, and an even hollow earth. And then one of the Kongs is an evil Kong, and he he rides the ice godzilla, and he wants to come to the service and conquer the earth.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:41

    That’s that’s the plot of the movie. But it would be kinda pointless because this movie is aggressively dumb. And what I admire, about the dumbness of it is that it doesn’t hide from its dumbness. It doesn’t make excuses for the dumbness. It doesn’t even really wink at the dumbness.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:56

    It’s not like some it’s not like you got somebody off screens saying, oh, well, that just happened seventeen times. A minute. So maybe it it happens once you try. But it doesn’t happen that much. This is a movie where King Kong throws sand in godzilla’s eyes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:10

    Right before perfectly suplexing him into the desert next to the Giza pyramids. And then, the evil king kong, again, he rides up on his ice godzilla to do battle, and then earlier in the film King Kong picks up baby kong and uses baby kong as a club against the other clubs. He’s just swinging baby kong around. I this isn’t in my script. I’m going off script here for a second.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:29

    I was gonna take my kids to see this movie, but I think seeing the violence done to baby calling and those opening minutes would send screaming from the theater. I don’t think he’d be able to handle it. Poor baby kong. Luckily, they they make amends by the by films end. I to get worked up about the mechanics of how any of this works, like, of how mothra comes back to life to save the day.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:49

    All it just feels beside the point. Again, the movie never shies away from its dumbness, and that’s why I’m a little bit torn on it because, yes, it is objectively one of the stupidest things I’ve ever watched on a large screen. But it leans into the dumbness in a way that I kind of admire. It’s it reminds me of Independence Day in a way. Independence Day really dumb movie, but so much fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:09

    I love that movie. Also, I just really enjoy watching Dan Stevens. His turn is the gonzo giant animal doctor. I’ve been watching his FX show Legion recently. It’s been my gym show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:20

    I watch it while I’m on the elliptical or whatever. And he has, this, like, kind of fantastically twitchy manic energy, and, like, also just, like, fairly standard movie star good look Right? Go good for him. He’s a good looking guy. I I’m not entirely sure why he hasn’t hit that top tier of movie stardom.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:35

    Hopefully, the eighty million dollar opening here nudges him toward it. The problem with this movie, and the reason I can’t really give it the full thumbs up despite being fine with the dumbness of it is that the monster on monster action is, I regret to say kind of, you know, typical wait list CGI nonsense. It’s video game cut scenes. Outside of that wonderful professional wrestling bit I mentioned earlier, nearly every fight takes place either in the hollow earth, which kills our sense of scale because, like, I don’t know what any of this stuff is supposed to look like. Or more weirdly out of sight and underwater.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:06

    Like, two distinct fights take place underwater and are finished underwater. We don’t actually see what happens. Part of this is probably the budget. Right? This movie cost just just just in scare quotes there, a hundred thirty million dollars, making it relatively cheap for this sort of thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:21

    Or maybe it’s a simple misunderstanding of how to use these monsters. Whatever it is, it makes everything kind of blah. And that is ultimately why the movie fails. Unfortunately, it does fail. As much as I enjoy Kong, basically playing, you know, either Riggs or Mirtaw, one of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:36

    He’s, you know, he’s just getting too old for this shit man. He just wants to take shower. He wants to eat a sandwich. His tooth hurts. He’s got a toothache.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:42

    He’s he just wants a he just wants to go to the dentist and have somebody pull out his tooth. It doesn’t Spire awe. It’s goofy and it’s fun, but it’s not awe inspiring. Godzilla minus one, which we I think we all saw maybe I don’t think we did an episode on. I can’t remember.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:58

    I can’t remember. I can’t remember anything now. My brain is much. I saw godzilla calling the new empire. It godzilla minus one inspired awe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:04

    Right? The Garrett Edwards godzilla inspired awe. Even skull Island had a little awe in it. This movie Allless. It’s not no ah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:13

    There’s minus ah, and it’s godzilla minus ah. Take that. I wanna be odd. Damn it. Alyssa, what did you make of godzilla not X Kong, the new empire?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:24

    So I did not take my children to see godzilla calling the new empire because, as my daughter put it, it’s scary. The giant dragon turns into a giant bear. My two year old seemed more interested. Act. He told, Sonny and Peter after last week’s podcast, I like the bear, but I think he was mostly trying to be cool.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:43

    It did not particularly enjoy this movie. Like, it’s very dumb, and I can sort of get how the dumbness would be amusing. But it was not to me, I just I didn’t care, and I think for dumbness to be enjoyable, it has to be sort of transcendently dumb. To talk about it, it’s just a very different movie. The original Anchorman is dumb, a lot of the time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:08

    Like, it’s a purposefully dumb movie, like, you know, but, like, Steve Corell, just sitting there and saying totally sincerely, I love lamp, is incredibly stupid, right? But there is sort of a the dumbness, it’s it’s so dumb that it’s kind of transcendent. And it’s unexpected. It sort of the dumbness is transforms ordinary situations and things into something that sort absurd and wonderful. And I didn’t really find anything about con Confy, Conx, whatever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:42

    Cog, the movie with the dragon and the bear. I did not find any of it particularly transcendent. I will say the only thing that’s funny about it is the entire world telling the Italians to shove it. And I say that Rome has been getting it just really Rome has been shafted in an action movie, slightly. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:57

    Like, it gets completely destroyed in most recent past and and furious movie, it gets blown up a bunch in, the latest mission impossible movie, and now Godzilla is sleeping in the coliseum. So, I feel bad for Rome. It’s funny when people tell Italy to shove it, but nothing about this movie. Like, nothing about it really made me laugh. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:17

    It’s just, like, it’s just sort of dopey. It’s okay. Like, it’s sort of dopey. There’s room for sort of dopey movies in the world. But, Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:24

    I, I, I think I would have enjoyed the version of this movie that my kids thought was going to be presented for me more than the one I actually saw.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:33

    Yeah. No. I I think that’s all about right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:34

    I don’t know. Peter, what did you make of godzilla kong new empire? Alyssa compares it to Anchorman. And Anchorman is kind of dumb, but Anchorman is dumb in a really smart way. And the thing about this movie is it’s dumb in a really, really dumb way.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:50

    It’s just dumb, dumb. There’s not like a a genius behind it or a kind of cleverness. There’s just it’s just idiocy all the way down. And there is something kind of amusing about that that I appreciated. It it it it really reminds me, more than anything except maybe the second to it in third bay transformers, which were smarter dumb, in their own way, but which had a similar sort of a similar sort of, like, just incredible chaos vibe to them where nothing needed to make sense and it was just big stuff happening and big thrown all over for a couple of hours.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:25

    Really reminds me of if you’ve ever asked, a very young child who’s like playing with a whole bunch of boys action figures in particular just like given sort of thing, but, like, a kid playing, like, a, like, a five year old within a sandbox with a whole bunch of toys. Right? And, like, it’s not like, oh, it’s I’ve got all the superheroes lined up. It’s like there’s some transformers and, you know, there’s some dinosaurs and there’s some trucks and there’s some great and like, and there’s some sort of story in this kid’s head that connects all of it and they’re just fighting. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:54

    They’re just doing stuff and, like, and they try to tell you, like, they’re happy to just, like, spend, like, forty five minutes explaining to you why all these guys are fighting because this one has a hat. He’s so mad, but the other one is a hat. It’s a terrible hat. It’s but he punched the other guy. He got really mad.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:09

    He was driving a big truck, and the big truck came right. And, like, it just you keeps going like that. I’m gonna make just about that amount of sense. And it okay. Some five year olds are actually pretty smart about this stuff, but it has that sort of just like did anyone think this through kind of childlike logic and it’s appealing in some ways on that level.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:29

    I do think, like, it’s not quite appealing enough. I, ultimately, this is not a movie I really wanna go back. And watch a a bunch more times, certainly not, like, sitting in a theater or sitting and paying attention to it, but it is It is the kind of movie that I will probably turn on on Sunday afternoons, like, when I’m, like, kind of exhausted, I won’t take a nap on top of my dog, which I do sometimes. And in fact, the previous one, godzilla versus kong, which is also by Adam Windgard, and really very similar in a lot of ways except more godzilla focused. So in this one, they fight a a a sort of a a kong doppelganger, right, an evil kong in the end of the previous one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:11

    They fight and evil godzilla. Right? It’s very, like, the structure of the movies is very similar. They’re just kind of invert, you know, negatives of each other. And I watched that one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:20

    I watched godzilla versus Kong, not like every week or anything, but with some frequency, And it what? And when I say watch it, I don’t mean I turn it on and watch it. I mean, I turn it on and I go to sleep and, like, parts of it just kind of seep into my brain.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:38

    It’s funny. I find this genuinely shocking. I do do we even know you anymore?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:43

    Yeah. That’s the that’s the weirdest thing. So, like, I can I can deal with you saying that you’ve watched reservoir dogs seventeen thousand times or ever?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:51

    That one I’ve actually just, like I mean, I do watch that one sometimes, we’ll fall asleep, but that one I’ve, like, actually watched for You
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:56

    watch reservoir dogs while falling asleep?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:59

    I can I can It’s not
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:00

    as good as seven for knocking me out, but yes?
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:03

    I can understand a lot of your weird rewatches, but the idea of ever putting any of these movies on it. I could even understand watching rewatching the first godzilla, the two thousand fourteen godzilla or whatever whenever that came out. The one with the one that Garrett Edwards directed. I get to see rewatching that. I I wouldn’t necessarily I I have rewatched it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:23

    I wouldn’t necessarily do it all the time. It’s at least kind of interesting formally in what what some of the stuff he’s doing in terms of showing godzilla and all that. But but The final third
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:32

    is is really pretty great. It’s it’s it’s a beautiful, third act. It’s not a it’s not a great movie, but it’s it’s often gorgeous to look at.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:39

    The idea of sitting down and rewatching either of these godzilla versus kong movies is that’s sickness. You need to be studied by a doctor.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:48

    So, again, I I wanna say I don’t sit down. I lay down on top of my dog. My my boy dog likes to take naps with me on the weekends. And this is like a it’s the thing we do sometimes on Sunday afternoons. It’s like we go for a long walk in the morning, and then it’s like, it’s kinda tired.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:05

    They put on intentionally put on a trashy movie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:08

    But you turn it on of your own coalition. It’s not like your television just flickers to life. And, like, A godzilla because
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:14

    I’m looking for something that requires zero brain cells. Oh, I don’t want something that I think that I have to think about. But here’s the other thing. That, that actually out one thing I wanna compliment this movie on, I agree with Sonny, that the is that it looks kinda garbage y. Though I think it actually looks kinda garbage y on purpose, I I think this is a this is an aesthetic that the director has adopted and that there are fans of at this point, even though I do not in any way I don’t enjoy it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:41

    I don’t think it looks all that good, but I’ve seen even people complimenting, like, oh, there’s so many textures on display. Right? There’s so many different colors. Right? Because it’s either just a bunch of stuff like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:52

    One thing this movie does really well, and the previous one also did really well. The sound design is actually really good. It’s just pleasingly awesomely loud, and that’s true in the Alamo Draft House, and it’s also true if you’ve got a big subwoofer that you can turn up and you can be surrounded by just like monsters booming, and I find that comforting, like brainless monsters, stomping is what I want to take a nap to. And that is the that is the best compliment I can give this movie is that this is a great brainless monster stomping subwoofer movie that you can take a nap to with your very large dog who also enjoys this on a Sunday afternoon and and I will probably do that at least a couple of times in the next few years after this movie hit streaming.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:38

    I don’t know if this podcast can recover from this revelation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:41

    It’s sick. That’s sick behavior. You’re you’re
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:44

    It’s a special class of rewatchable garbage film. There’s there’s other movies. There’s nothing
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:50

    special about this movie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:52

    There’s something. You can do better.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:53

    So, like, I I’ve I’ve watched the the Len one been total recall remake this way a number of times, even though there’s the Arnold shorts and anchor version that’s sitting there and it’s much better. But the Arnold shorts and anchor version, I wanna actually watch I wanna I wanna I’m I’m waiting
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:08

    for the This is why you this is why
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:09

    For kwatsu to come out. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:11

    This is this is why you throw on Like, the resident evil movie is or, like, the underworld movies.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:18

    I I, you know. I totally agree. Both of those movies. The both of those franchises, I should say, absolutely meet this criteria. Sometimes I watch Van Dam movies from the nineties.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:29

    I I could I don’t even know what the names of them are. Like, I think one of them is called double team. But they’re right? It’s just like, you, like, you kinda wake up after about an hour or something. And, like, he’s got he’s, like, kicking somebody, like, through a door with a hammer knife.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:45

    Maybe maybe if I had time to nap in the afternoons, I would understand this phenomenon. But, Sonny, I think we have to end this podcast episode so we can do an intervention.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:52

    My dad used to do this while watching baseball. I don’t watch sports, so I watch godzilla
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:00

    Stop talking. Alright. What do we what do we think? Is it thumbs up or thumbs down on godzilla calling the new empire? Oh, god.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:06

    Peter.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:07

    Best sleep aid. I’ve seen this year thumbs up. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:12

    Thumbs down, and I’m gravely worried for the mental health and my podcast cohost.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:18

    Thumbs down. That’s now I’m depressed, frankly. That that whole that whole bit, god. Alright. That is it for today’s show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:25

    Many thanks to our audio engineer a pizzeria without whom this program would sound much worse. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus on Friday for our bonus episode. Tell your friend’s strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences, when O’ Girl will die. They did not love two days up, so please complain to me on Twitter at Sunny Munch. And she let it is, in fact, Metro in your podcast feed and see you guys Friday.
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