[NOTE: The following post (and video above) contain story details that could be considered minor SPOILERS for Godzilla]
When it was first announced that Monsters director Gareth Edwards would reboot Godzilla, reactions were mixed. Edwards was always an inspired choice to helm the film – given that he’s a visual effects wizard who also managed to tell an emotional character story on a shoestring budget; yet, many fans (not to mention casual moviegoers) were still feeling the sting of Hollywood’s last attempt at modernizing the iconic Japanese lizard for the American market.
Roland Emmerich’s 1998 attempt failed to honor the source material, side-stepped many of the series’ most enduring themes, and (worst of all) made it unclear how audiences should even feel about the Godzilla character: all she wanted to do was lay her eggs in the heart of New York City. Was that too much to ask? Fortunately, Edwards appears to have learned from Emmerich’s mistakes, setting the stage for a major Godzilla comeback with an epic Comic-Con reveal, shrewd teaser, and gripping feature trailer. The pre-release marketing all point to an exciting and affecting movie experience – one that is also faithful to the original roots of the character.
The full length trailer was packed full of enticing easter eggs and potential connections to fan-favorite Godzilla lore – so many, in fact, that the director has now released a video break down of the trailer that offers new story details and behind-the-scenes insight (check it out above).
Reminder: The rest of this post will contain story details that could be considered minor SPOILERS for Godzilla (2014) – so if you do not want to know anything about what’s to come, turn away now. You have been WARNED!
As mentioned, Gareth Edwards takes fans through a play-by-play breakdown of the latest Godzilla trailer – revealing a significant number of new details and providing context for the larger story.
We’ve compiled the most interesting tidbits below (along with the timer marks for reference):
- [00:10] 15 years ago a “natural disaster” (read: giant monster attack) tore apart the Brody family – now father and son, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) once again find themselves caught in the middle of another “natural disaster.”
- [00:40] Edwards indicates the “flying” origami in the trailer foreshadows future events – e.g. the unnamed flying monster we see later in the trailer.
- [01:10] The story takes place on a global stage (including Las Vegas) – but is centered on Ford’s journey (likely searching for the origins or home of Godzilla and the other monsters).
- [02:40] Edwards teases a key scene and memorable performance from Ken Watanabe (who plays Daisuke Serizawa) that has deep thematic relevance to Godzilla lore.
- [03:20] A bomb intended for “nuclear tests” (read: attempts to kill Godzilla) is stamped with a “Ghostbusters style” icon of the bomb’s target – Godzilla.
- [04:00] The idea that nuclear tests were actually failed attempts to kill Godzilla was part of Edwards’ original pitch to the studio. The challenge was figuring out where to go from there.
- [04:35] Edwards comments on the theories surrounding the mysterious “tentacle holding a bomb” (Note: it’s not actually a tentacle holding a bomb).
- [05:10] The director wanted Ford to be a related hero (not a superhero). The film starts with him returning from a tour of duty to his family (including wife Elle played by Elizabeth Olsen) – before his history with “natural disasters” pulls him into the current crisis.
- [05:30] Edwards used score tracks from other movies to help him conceive shots – including the work of Godzilla composer Alexandre Desplat as well as the 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) track “Requiem, for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, 2 Mixed Choirs & Orchestra.”
- [06:40] The director lists the terms that he often uses to describe the film: epic, realism, and emotional. Edwards asserts that if audience members don’t get close to tearing-up, he will have failed – highlighting a scene between Joe and his wife, Sandra (Juliette Binoche), as an example of the film’s commitment to emotional character drama (a scene that likely takes place in flashback).
- [07:20] Edwards comments on the “big bones” (an enormous skeletal structure) shown in the trailer – claiming that the monsters in Godzilla are not “magically created.” He asserts the film attempts to be as “realistic as possible” – even in exploring where the creatures come from and how they got here.
- [08:30] A montage of scenes that Edwards claims are “little clues” to what the film contains. For our own analysis of these scene, check out our feature Godzilla: Other Monsters We Could See in the Reboot.
- [08:50] The director reiterates his rules for designing Godzilla: Imagine he really existed and in the 1950s someone saw him in Japan and they tried to explain him to the guys at Toho – who then made movies based on that description. Yet, when you see him in the new movie, you understand how they got that look but the reboot version “feels” like the true version of Godzilla.
- [09:37] Edwards explains the work behind updating the character’s classic roar to fit with the modern more “realistic” design.
While Edwards is mum on some of the more heavily debated details in the trailer (such as the monster remains, clawed foot, and missile/tentacle combo), his insight into the footage adds appreciated context for the larger storyline. Without question, one of the weaker elements of the 1998 Godzilla movie was the explanation for how all of the various factions of characters came together.
Fortunately, the Monsters director appears to have crafted a smart mix of impactful character drama and epic creature mayhem that, if it actually delivers, has the potential to draw-in moviegoers who might otherwise have scoffed at the idea of a new Godzilla film – while also providing fans with an updated version that pays much-appreciated homage to the Toho original.
Godzilla roars into theaters May 16th, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Godzilla, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
Source: Empire Online