The other day I had a conversation with someone who just thought it was absolutely absurd that I was excited about a new American Godzilla movie. She just couldn't believe after the debacle that was the Godzilla '98 that anyone could trust Hollywood to make a good Godzilla movie.
If you feel the same way this person did, that's understandable. Godzilla '98 is awful; they should have known they were in trouble when they were including "from the producers of Independence Day" as a reason to go see it. Independence Day is a great, bad movie; Godzilla deserves better than a great, bad movie. At least it gave us this awesome clip of the real Godzilla beating the crap out of the Hollywood Godzilla in Godzilla: Final Wars.
I'm here to argue, however, that there are a some very strong reasons to think that maybe they'll get it right this time. Let's watch the trailer and breakdown why there's reason to believe that this Godzilla could be amazing.
Consider this: this is a giant monster movie with a cast that includes Elizabeth Olson, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Bryan Cranston. Yeah, that's right, Martha/Marcy May/Marlene, Secretary of State Seward, fake Ra's al Ghul, and Walter freaking White are going to be in a Godzilla movie. That's a step up from Ferris Bueller and... well... I can't think of iconic role for Maria Pitillo. Sorry.
3. Gareth Edwards knows how to make a giant monster movie.
If you've never seen Gareth Edward's debut film Monsters you should definitely seek it out. Edwards wrote, directed, shot, and did the special effects on Monsters. From the script, we know he knows how to world build because the world of Monsters feels believable. The acting isn't anything groundbreaking, but it works which means Edwards can direct to get the performances he needs. The movie has great compositions and looks beautiful, so it's clear he's got an eye for cinematography. By doing his own effects, he knows the value of getting them right, so we should at least expect the monster to look good. Speaking of...
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2. Godzilla looks awesome.
That shot at the end of Godzilla rising out of the dust is amazing. That's a monster that looks like it could do some damage, without being rebooted by Hollywood to look sleek or sell toys. More than that, it's clear that he's giant, perhaps bigger than the character has ever been in a Godzilla movie before. Notice how when the jumpers are falling out of the sky, the POV shot we get shows a monster so big the guy we're with can't even see all of Godzilla. This is a Godzilla build to bring destruction. Which is good because that means...
1. It actually takes Godzilla seriously.
Listen, I like a good, silly Godzilla movie as much as the next person. I've watched my share of man-in-suit flicks that were completely ridiculous and totally fun. And while there's a place in the world for a fun Godzilla, I guess, people often forget that the original film is great and frightening. Godzilla isn't a lovable hero- he's a force of nature that kills thousands. It's good to see a Godzilla movie that might actually let the giant beast be the nightmare he's supposed to be. It might not sell as many toys, but it makes for a much better, much more interesting film.