Last summer Legendary Pictures sent enormous monsters on a rampage across the planet in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, and now Earth is in line for another serious stomping as Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot rears its head and crashes into theaters this month.
Godzilla looks more like an apocalypse movie than a monster movie, and despite the enormous mutated lizard towering over the story it also seems to have quite a human heart. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson play a father and son whose lives were torn apart during a so-called “natural disaster” fifteen years previously, and as Godzilla goes on a rampage that no amount of media spin can disguise, the two characters find themselves caught up in a mission to stop a creature that can withstand nuclear blasts.
Most of the trailers and teases for Godzilla so far have been very coy about showing the monster in full, though that might be something to do with the fact that it’s hard to get all of him onscreen at once. Early screenings of the movie have now begun, however, and it appears that the movie itself takes a long time to get to the full reveal. In fact, Godzilla himself doesn’t actually get a huge amount of screen time. Reactions to this have been mixed.
Just got back from a screening of #Godzilla. Movie was well done but you get very little of the title monster. People will get restless.— Kate Twesten (@katetwesten_) May 2, 2014
Edwards says they designed the movie to build and reveal Godzilla and action incrementally. Doesn't blow his load on first Godzilla shot.— Devin Faraci (@devincf) May 2, 2014
While Godzilla not being seen much might sound a bit disappointing, there is such a thing as overkill and revealing the creature in increments is probably going to be a lot better for suspense than having him storm out in full glory within the first five minutes. Based on the other reactions to the movie – which have been overwhelmingly positive – it looks like Edwards’ approach works.
Reviewers are still under embargo, which is why most of the Godzilla reactions are quite reserved and some after-screening tweets (like MikeReactor’s comments that it “surpasses all expectations” and “everyone cheered and clapped throughout the entire film“) have since been deleted. However, one anonymous poster on avpgalaxy.net, who offered some blurry photos from the theater and three “spoilers” as proof of having attended an early screening, gave a very enthusiastic review. Here’s the spoiler-free version.
“This film was f**king monumentally awesome! I wanted to write a bad review just to piss off Aspie but I can’t. First things first the serious tone of this movie works incredibly well. It’s not so serious that you can’t have fun, the fun is all with GODZILLA. They nailed his character. He’s intelligent, badass and above all scary. He’s terrifying and yet you’re on his side to kick the MUTOs arse. He’s massive, and his ridiculous size is totally believable: every step, every roar, every movement carries so much weight. His roar is sooo loud, I was watching this in a screen with a Dolby sound system and it shook the room, literally. if this doesn’t win an Oscar for sound design I’ll be surprised! It was like the first time you heard Jurassic Park. I could cream more over how amazingly well they nailed the G but I think that sums it up. They nailed Godzilla.”
If this response isn’t much of a surprise then it’s at least everything fans were hoping for. With so many excellent trailers and a great cast of humans, hype for Godzilla has been growing steadily with each new glimpse of the movie. Not everyone has been so kind, however; THR notes that some Japanese fans have been gently poking fun at Godzilla for his physique.
“He’s an American fatty,” one fan posted after the Japanese trailer and images were released. “He got fat in America on cola and pizza,” tweeted another. Such comments have been cropping up a lot, with Godzilla referred to as “chubby and cute,” “couch potato Godzilla,” “Supersized,” “Marshmallow-Godzilla,” and weighed down with “middle-age spread.” One commenter pointed out that he didn’t seem to have much of a neck, while another said, “It looks like a seal.”
It’s worse than high school. Poor Godzilla.
Godzilla is out in theaters on May 16, 2014.