An announcement dropped yesterday that filming of a new GODZILLA adaptation has begun in Vancouver, Canada. Hearing this news, the initial temptation was to scoff at the thought of another attempt at a film which has “cheese” written all over it. However, the initial word is that the plan is to take this version in darker, more realistic direction, in the same vein as what Christopher Nolan did for the Batman franchise, which we often forget was for a moment (post Tim Burton, pre Chris Nolan) one of the most horrifyingly bad comic adaptations ever. When looking at the past decade, even not including The Dark Knight trilogy, there have been a number of fantastic turnarounds similar to this. One of the biggest themes in cinema over this time frame has been the idea of taking cheesy, poorly acted franchises and flipping them with a serious tone. This evidence considered, I’d say that Godzilla becomes a little more intriguing and at least deserves some attention.
Another piece of good news for our friend Godzilla from my perspective is that the man in the Directors seat is Gareth Edwards. Edwards is very new to the Directing scene, but his debut feature “Monsters” was one of my favorite films of 2010 that everyone should check out. Monsters was well made, and managed to blend thrills with truly touching character interaction and drama, and if he is able to add some of this to Godzilla, with a huge budget behind him I think he could really do some damage (yes, this is a rather suitable words I suppose).
The cast also suggests good things, with young stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elisabeth Olsen joining up with veterans such as Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn and the FANTASTIC Bryan Cranston, who has already had a great year with his show Breaking Bad and his great turn in Argo. Add Ken Watabe to the mix, and I definitely sense that we could be onto something.
Even with all these factors, making a giant monster movie “realistic” is a difficult concept to grasp. However, my theory with these situations is that you add as much realism to the situation as you can, but at the end of the day a monster is a monster no matter how you spin it. Where you set your tone, and create your plausibility and drama is in the way you have your characters react and interact with the situation. You may not make us believe that a giant monster could be real, but if you show us the way that people would REALLY react if it was, then you can have success with it.
Let’s hope Warner and Legendary Pictures can make it happen with the latest Godzilla version. Many of you may not be, but I am intrigued. I’ve always been a sucker for a great disaster movie, but unfortunately they have been hard to come by!