Over the course of six decades, Godzilla has made numerous appearances in film, television, comic books, novels, and video games. The iconic monster is instantly recognizable in most corners of the world, and yet America’s largest contribution to his mythology is the embarrassing 1998 remake directed by Roland Emmerich.
However, concepts as elemental as Godzilla are capable of surviving the most dubious of adaptations and it was only a matter of time before someone else decided to take a crack at it. Last March, Legendary Pictures stepped up to the plate and announced their plans to re-imagine the creature’s origin story as “a modern day epic”.
Last month we learned that Gareth Edwards will direct Godzilla and as a big fan of his debut film, Monsters, it’s hard not to be excited by what he’s bringing to the table. Edwards has proven that he’s quite adept at focusing on the human element that’s often overlooked in these types of stories – and while that’s certainly encouraging, there’s still very little known about which direction this new Godzilla will take.
The concept art that was shown at Comic-Con seems to support producer Brian Rogers’ assurance that this will be a return to Godzilla‘s roots (including seeing the titular character battle other monsters), but it remains to be seen whether this will simply be an update of the original 1954 film or something entirely new.
Edwards recently spoke with Shock Till You Drop and not only gave some insight into the approach they’re taking with the new film, but also admitted that his introduction to Godzilla didn’t result in an immediate attraction:
“My earliest memories was channel 4, they showed them every Friday night. As a kid I wasn’t quite sure about the dubbing, the English-dubbed versions. They threw me for a bit. I love science fiction and, well I call them B movies but they’re not, but I love ’60s and ’70s sci-fi. But these would come on and be dubbed and it would take my kid brain to adjust to the dubbing. It took me some time to get through that.”
Despite a less than desirable introduction to the character, Edwards reveals that’s he’s keenly aware of the pressure he’s under and that he intends to deliver a Godzilla film worthy of the moniker:
“I guess I will say I’m highly aware – and everyone involved is incredibly aware – of everyone’s opinions on what this film has to do and what it has to be. And no one will do anything but the right thing. Without addressing anything specific, everyone knows how important is to get it right.”
It seems extremely likely that he’s referring to the 1998 film and the missteps that were made regarding the monster’s origin, appearance, and characterization. It sounds like everyone involved is anxious to wipe the slate clean and get back to basics.
Over the years, Godzilla has been presented as both a menace and a hero. In my opinion, the most successful films are the ones that treat him like a destructive force of nature rather than a super-sized defender of the people who knows martial arts. However, most Godzilla movies have a tongue-in-cheek aspect to them – whether it was intentional or not. It’s probably a big reason why they remain so endearing to a lot of people.
Certainly films like Cloverfield (which was partially inspired by a Godzilla toy) hint at the potential of a no-nonsense approach to the material, but I wonder if there might be a few instances where they’re sort of winking at the audience. Taking into consideration all the different versions we’ve seen of Godzilla over the years, I’m just really curious what sort of tone this new film will have.
Source: Shock Till You Drop.