Bigger is Better
From little killer critters to human-sized anomalies to large, man-eating mutations, monsters come in all forms, shapes and sizes. But, what really fuels our imagination are those monsters that tower over us like ants—the giants. Those behemoths that could stomp us like insects and crush us like tomatoes—the really big ones could level cities. And it would take armies to stop them, and a whole lot of luck. But, not all giants are hell bent on destruction, there are benevolent ones that are just as lonely as the next giant. Perhaps, it’s true how it gets lonely at the top. A lot of them are just misunderstood creatures protecting their turf or just trying to survive…like the rest of us.
Here are the best giant monster movies from 2010-2017 that are worth a look.
A Monster Calls (2016)
And if you have to break things, then by God, you break them!
Directed by J.A. Bayona
To help him cope with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal cancer, young Conor O’Malley (Lewis McDougall) gives life to a giant tree monster (Liam Neeson), who tells him three stories which relate to what he is experiencing. In return, Conor must tell his own story and ease his pain. A Monster Calls is not a feel-good kid movie. I doubt they’d be cheering in the end. It is set in a very adult reality where bad things happen for no reason, and you have to accept them. This is a very painful movie, well-acted and ultimately delivers what it has intended to—a grand feeling of hope that everything will be okay after a tragedy.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
This is a good group of boys. We're all gonna die together out here. You're a good group of boys to die with, I'll tell you that much.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
During the Vietnam War, a group of scientists and soldiers go on an expedition to a remote island. They are composed of Bill Randa (John Goodman), tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), Lt. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his helicopter squadron. Their expedition turns to a fight for survival as they find out the island is inhabited by a mythical creature called Kong and other prehistoric monsters. They get help from a soldier who has lived on the island since WW2, Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) who knows the island’s secrets. The second movie in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse (see Godzilla, 2014), Kong: Skull Island has probably the best portrayal of Kong—a lethal combination of savagery, instinct and intelligence. Action sequences are awesome and wonderfully shot. As far as reboots go, this one’s a monster.
You know, it's different looking at America from the outside-in. You know, just sitting right outside, and looking in.
Directed by Gareth Edwards
After a NASA space probe crash-landed in Mexico near the border, it brought with it intelligent life forms that grew into giant tentacled monsters. Years later, Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy), an American photojournalist is tasked to escort a woman, Wynden (Whitney Able) from Mexico across monster territory to the safety of the U.S. border. Monsters has themes of isolation and destiny in a seemingly godless world. Its about two strangers who build a relationship as the story progresses as they are thrown into very real and dangerous situations both physical and psychological.
Pacific Rim (2013)
There are things you can't fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you're in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
The near future. Earth has been defending itself from inter-dimensional colossal monsters called Kaijus that arrive through a portal in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Earth’s primary line of defense are equally huge mecha-robots called Jaegers, manned by two mind-linked pilots. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), a former Jaeger pilot who retired after the death of his brother, also a pilot, is called back to action against an impending Kaiju attack, more vicious than before. Pacific Rim is a ready-made movie franchise that has robot and giant monster geeks beside themselves in glee. Not all monsters are alike, like each Jaegar has its own unique weapons and capabilities, bring in ultimate fantasy battles that make Pacific Rim an exciting eye candy popcorn movie.
It's always the quiet places where the mad shit happens.
— Garda Lisa
Directed by Jon Wright
In a small island community, Irish policemen (or Gardas) Ciaran (Richard Coyle) and Lisa (Ruth Bradley) find out that tentacled, alien sea monsters have invaded, and when a local drunk survived one of its attacks, discover the monsters’ weakness is alcohol, which is toxic to their system. This seems to serve well the oft inebriated town, but bigger monsters are yet to come. The Gardas gather the townsfolk inside the only bar in the island, binge for protection, and look for a way to kill the invaders. It’s a little movie with a lot of laughs. The fact that they have to be totally inebriated to kill the monster is a hilarious idea, add the traits of the island setting, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable horror/comedy.
The BFG (2016)
Never get out of the bed. Never go to the window. Never look behind the curtain.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), a 10-year old London orphan girl befriends an amiable, 24-foot giant (Mark Rylance) she calls BFG (Big Friendly Giant) who takes her to “Giant Country.” There, she discovers that there are other giants, twice as big and meaner, and they bully the BFG around. Sophie convinces the BFG they meet the Queen and warn her of the giants’ threat. Based on Roald Dahl’s book, this children’s fairytale is a visual splendor and fun enough to dismiss its rather narrow storyline. The CG work is fantastic as is the art direction capturing the imagination of the book and making it even wondrous.
You hate yourself. You can’t stand that your life feels so small.
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Having had enough of her drinking, Gloria’s (Anne Hathaway) boyfriend (Dan Stevens) breaks up with her and sends her packing from their NY apartment. Gloria moves back to her hometown and re-connects with old childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who gives her a job in his bar. In the news, a mysterious gigantic monster suddenly appears in Seoul, South Korea, and wreaks havoc before disappearing into thin air. Then the unexpected, as Gloria discovers that she may have something to do with the monster’s existence. Quite obviously, Colossal is not your usual, run-for-your-life monster movie—it's a romcom that ventures out of its comfort zone and into dark territory. Crazy and unusual, but enjoyable.
Mommy, look. Dinosaurs!
— Sam, Ford's Son
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Giant monsters classified as MUTO (Massive Unidentfied Terrestrial Organisms) appear near Hawaii and the U.S. Military gather its forces to meet them head on. One of the soldiers is U.S. Navy explosives expert Ford Brody (Aaron-Taylor Johnson). The ensuing battle awakens an ancient beast called Godzilla, and to the surprise of the military, the behemoth is on their side. The first movie in Legendary Pictures Monsterverse reboots, this is a 2-hour grand spectacle and probably the biggest Godzilla movie not only on the sheer size of the monster, but of scope and production budget. Although it suffers from story dragging and uninteresting characters, there’s enough action to compensate.
I Kill Giants (2017)
I find giants, I hunt giants, I kill giants.
The movie shares the same premise as the earlier A Monster Calls (2016) but this movie is capable of holding its own. Barbara (Madison Wolfe), an introverted teen who wallows in fantasy games like Dungeon & Dragons fancies herself a giant killer setting up monster traps in woods and railroad cars. She also believes she's in possession of a mighty warhammer she kept hidden in a small bag that she intends to unleash on a Titan as a sort of finale. These make believe fantasies shields her away from the painful truth of her mother's eventual death. Anybody who expects an action-filled adventure, David vs Goliath-like, may be sadly disappointed because this is actually a heavy drama, but the radiance of its main character keeps you watching until the end--a memorable starring role by Wolfe.
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