Dean Devlin, the writer of the 1998 Godzilla reboot, reflects on what went wrong with the American adaptation of the popular Toho property. The film has been ridiculed by fans and is commonly considered to be the worst Godzilla movie ever made. One of fans' biggest problems with the movie is that its version of Godzilla barely resembled the King of the Monsters, both in spirit and in appearance.
Long before Gareth Edwards and Legendary Pictures created the MonsterVerse with 2014's Godzilla, TriStar Pictures tried their hand at an American adaptation of the Japanese classic. With Roland Emmerich at the helm, Godzilla was expected to be the biggest film of the year. But after a huge marketing campaign, Godzilla failed to meet box office expectations. Although it made enough money to avoid being labeled a flop, the film was still regarded as a major disappointment. Fans and critics alike bashed the film, and it remains a movie that fans would rather forget to this day.
In an interview with Syfy Wire, writer Dean Devlin talks about the film's failures. Devlin seems to agree with the majority of fans' complaints that the movie doesn't honor Godzilla's legacy in the way that it should have:
"I think part of the biggest problem was that I pushed Roland into doing the movie because I was a huge Godzilla fan. I grew up with Godzilla and it wasn't something that Roland had grown up with. He didn't have a giant passion about Godzilla. He was able to find a story with me that he could get passionate about and he was passionate about the movie we made, but this was his take on it as opposed to honoring the Godzilla legacy in a way that would make the people who loved Godzilla happy."
Devlin goes on discuss their idea of reimagining Godzilla as a giant lizard who wasn't good or evil, but was simply trying to survive. "That's interesting, but that's not Godzilla," says Devlin. He argues that their plan for Godzilla made sense but, unfortunately, wasn't "fulfilling," as the film doesn't commit to how fans should feel about the monster. Devlin feels that this was an even bigger problem than Godzilla's babies, which was another aspect of the movie that fans were highly critical of. (That's what happens when sequel set-up takes over the story.)
However, Devlin also believes that another contributing factor to the film's failures was "a perception problem," as some fans had negative expectations before seeing the movie. This persistent negative attitude toward the film is obvious to Devlin, who says he finds it "heartbreaking" that 1998's Godzilla is often overlooked and ignored at science fiction conventions that celebrate all other versions of the King of the Monsters. Even Toho, the Japanese studio that owns Godzilla, has distanced their character from the 1998 version. In the 2004 film, Godzilla: Final Wars, fans can watch Godzilla easily kill a much smaller monster who looks suspiciously like Roland Emmerich's Godzilla.
Source: Syfy Wire
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020