Big meets bigger.
Monster Hunter World came out recently for the PC, and I've been sinking a lot of free time into it. It's actually somewhat humorous that on that game's release I had intended to watch this movie, but swapped out to a different one to get more game time in. This week, however, is a movie that's about another video game, despite the similarities in giant creatures. Why choose a game that really had no plot and was essentially just high-score runs to smash buildings as various oversized anthropomorphic creatures? My money is on the "nobody will care if we make a stupid and fun action movie out of this." Let's see if I'm right or my expectations are just on a total rampage.
I've played some of the games this draws from - the first and a later rendition that had even more monsters to it than the first. That opening comment about there not really being a story isn't so much a joke as it is just honest truth - but not every game required an actual story to make it enjoyable back then, when a lot of things were all about getting a high score and the endless repetition that comes with that. In that regard, this really was a perfect opportunity to turn into a movie - any plot you added would technically be better than it's source's practically not existent one, and the only thing you really have to worry about putting into the movie to satisfy people are giant creatures breaking buildings - something movies have been shown to do well enough. Sure, you could nitpick some aspects of it - the monsters for example not being people whom turn into these giant beasts - but for what it's worth anyone who dumps on it for being "too different" from the games is just trying to hate the movie for no reason, or isn't quite sure what they really don't like about it.
There is plenty a person could not like about it too. Sometimes the effects work isn't the greatest, making it feel like there is some obvious green screen or computer works going on. Oddly, they always still somehow look totally passable despite that - at least in quality. You may go "that's totally not a real thing," but you aren't going "did they just not bother to finish that scene" like you would during the minotaur fight in Gods of Egypt. Heck, sometimes they even have little details that seem totally unnecessary - such as our big gorilla friend's arm hair moving from the wind. The wolf creature has the most variance to it - becoming this spiney, flying squirrel wolf hybrid that seems somewhat bizarre considering how little genetic aberration there is in the lizard and gorilla. It gives it some free roam to punch things up a bit I suppose, but also largely doesn't serve much purpose besides some extra flashy rampaging and a one-liner here or there.
One also might complain about the plot. It's pretty standard fair action tier in presentation. Science does bad, because greedy corporate goons, and things go wrong and escalate. It's pretty much that simple the entire way through it, and it all starts with an explosion in space. The nice part of the simplicity is it lets you focus on the action - which with things like giant monsters that eventually make their way to a city, isn't entirely a bad thing. There are some things that are points here and there that make you question how things may play out later - such as how a big metal spear can essentially trump a barrage of bombs and heavy air-support gun runs. You won't really get answers to it either, so you really just need to stick to the flow as to why extreme regeneration will recover missile volleys and gunfire but not sticks - but if you really care that much, you could probably pseudo-science your way around it with a throw away like "well, it can't regenerate through a barrier" or some such thing. I mean, when it comes down to it it shouldn't ruin movie enjoyment that much when we as an audience accept space wizards that can create lightning while using laser swords to cut things or any of the super hero things that are all the rage.
Of course, both of those might have better character arcs going on in them than this one. That said, and maybe oddly enough, the chemistry between the Rock and his gorilla friend is actually quite good. Joking back and forth, and enough interactions to show they do in fact care about each other in that man-ape bromance sort of way. Yes, there is some interaction between the main female lead and the Rock, and all of them with various other supporting characters, but by far I'd wager the only one really worth mentioning is the one I already did. We also get two villains to help form the evil corporate bad guys, and they do a role reversal of expectations similar to what was drastically overdone in that most recent Ghostbusters attempt - except it works here, because it isn't overdone. Comedy is best when the entire 2 hour set isn't the exact same joke after all - regardless of the fact that comedy will be hit or miss depending on person.
I did laugh at the start and end of the movie though, and that's a great barometer for the mood of the movie. It's a fun summer flick kind of movie, with big effects and a big name or two, that's just meant to entertain. All the actors here are railing their parts like a train track for better or worse. There isn't really any severe moments where I'd call out "terrible acting" - but that wouldn't be the same as saying all the characters are good either. The Rock is a blast as usual, and our main good lady sort of pales in comparison, despite doing a decent job regardless. Our main bad lady on the other hand drastically overshadows her male screen-share, being the cool and collected cunning corporate baddy you would expect to be running some illicit experiments in space in comparison to her constantly worried and panic-eating brother. On the flip side of all of it comes folks like the scene-chewing accent of the gov't agent (whose otherwise pretty well a blast on screen) or the relatively lame and generic air force commander whose option when one weapon doesn't work is just skipping to a bigger one.
Hey, it's not all about characters, plot, and effects though is it? Well, in this case it's kinda mostly just fun and effects on point, but there is audio and costumes in there as well. It's a modern flick, so some of the costume are generic as can be (although a good job in feeling like they belong), with a few moments where I'm pretty sure somebody had at least a monkey suit's arm to be used. Audio is pretty well balanced, and I think I really only missed one line I was trying to here (although it wasn't really an important one at all as far as I can tell) despite the heavier action that crops up towards the end. The music helps set the mood and do its job as a scoring, but largely didn't exactly strike me in any real retainable way.
If your just looking for a fun action movie to catch and kill some time, this should be a good candidate. It's got some jokes, plenty of action, and some likeable characters (even if it's not all the characters). It very much knows where it came from, and doesn't try to be the masterpiece that it probably never would have been should they have tried that hard. Easy to follow, fun to watch, and put together in a nice fashion that lets you appreciate whats on the screen without making you wish it would get to the point. Also, let me tell you, it is way better than that other guy's Rampage movie (or any of his movies really).