A ravishing display of intelligent, often wonderfully witty visual design, every frame alive with coherent language, in the service of what is at heart a children's story. A children's story for a very dark time, our own, about a very dark time as children understand such things: monsters, from beneath the bed — our own or the ocean's! It restores heroism to the realm of the humanistic, an extraordinary accomplishment given so much of the film culture of our day. The protagonists know, and demonstrate that they know, that it isn't about them. A sweetly simple fable, for all the titanic grandeur of its cosplay (which I took to be the message of the slowly pumping wooden bellows in the kaiju-drifting machine, which became for me the sly sweet heart of it all). A demonstration of the degree of heart *and* physicality that even very big-ticket FX can convey when there's an honest will to avoid the opposite; mega-scale FX that don't drain either away. A baroque that doesn't curdle, that never fetishizes itself.