Last year, Gareth Edwards stole the show in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, by debuting a teaser – or, if you will, a “mood piece” – for his new take on Godzilla. The response earned not only a second play of the brief video, but the crowd response evoked much emotion from Edwards (who clearly feels the pressure and responsibility of such a project).
A year later, principal photography on Godzilla has wrapped (just two days ago, at the time of writing this) and Edwards has returned to the scene of the crime for the 2013 Comic-Con – with much more to show, like died-in-the-wool footage and a cast in tow.
The presentation began with a replay of last year’s teaser, which still holds up and on its own could even be considered a highlight of this year (despite it not being new). After the Q&A with the cast, it was time for the new stuff.
The footage begins with a sizzle reel of establishing shots showcasing a flooded area, a dark street, Bryan Cranston wearing a Breaking Bad style gas mask, multiple shots of scientists in hazard suits, paratroopers jumping out of a plane, a military style refugee camp, etc (mass hysteria and emergency response were the themes). This led to the major scene, which started out by following two armed helicopters flying in the night sky, firing machine guns.
The shot continues, revealing a massive, skinny, four-legged monster. It seemed to have smaller arms on its chest and looked as if it had wings as well.
The next shot is from inside the airport terminal and through the glass walls, we see a plane crashing in a ball of fire right in front of the structure as the monster approaches in the background. Godzilla’s foot lands in view as well.
Next shot is the most clear yet from the front as we see the beast seemingly opening its wingspan as Godzilla – clearly several times larger than the aggressor – rises from behind it, roaring, as if it’s going to destroy the creature to protect the land. It cuts to the Godzilla logo.
The Godzilla footage was noticably different in tone and visual style than Pacific Rim – released by the same studios – and it works for the better. The video was super clear, with long, slower wide shots with no weather or light effects hindering view. It still manages to emphasize the scale of the beasts vs. humans, especially when it comes to Godzilla – who, so far, seems to be the biggest monster – at least bigger than the two others they’ve debuted at Comic-Con.
A notable highlight from the panel and the words from Edwards, cast members Bryan Cranston (a scientist), Elizabeth Olsen (a mother) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (a soldier) is that all of their characters have a reason to be in the heart of the situation. None of it is forced or out of place.
Another point Edwards emphasized is how it’s a “true Godzilla movie” and that they’re working closely with Toho – the Tokyo-based monster movie distributor and production company beyond the classic Godzilla films – and making sure to have Japan playing an important part in the story, remaining faithful to the original concepts.
Godzilla stomps into theaters on May 16th, 2014.