The New Godzilla

Concept art for Godzilla 2012
released by Legendary Pictures at Comic-Con 2010.

I have been a lifelong Godzilla fan. While I do not obsessively watch movies with the Big G over and over again, I have seen some of the 28 films a few times and collected toys, comics and magazines inspired by this immortal kaiju. The franchise never dies. Even when they “killed” Godzilla at the end of 1995’s Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, his son survived, roaring defiantly as he was going to continue his father’s monster-fighting, city-stomping legacy. And while 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, which featured all of the monsters from the then 50-year old franchise, was intended to be an epic farewell, it seems that our favorite overgrown lizard will be coming back in 2012 in a rumored 3-D film from Legendary Pictures, who cut a deal with Toho Studios to make this version.

To be honest, I’m mixed about this whole thing. The first (and last) time an American company made their own version of this classic creature, it was Roland Emmerich’s disastrous 1998 movie in which the Big G did not look or sound like himself and spawned a load of eggs that hatched in Madison Square Garden so the filmmakers could attempt to outdo Jurassic Park, which they failed miserably at. And with this installment possibly being filmed in 3-D, I wonder if it will simply be a quick cash-in and nothing more.

My thoughts for a new Godzilla film: Bring in a new monster, not regurgitate repeatedly successful reboots like Mechagodzilla or King Ghidorah. Perhaps take the action away from Tokyo. It was great to see the Big G in Sydney (however briefly) in Final Wars. Don’t make it too kid-friendly. I hate that. Temper it with the fun, self-referential sense of humor found in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. And don’t make it all CGI. The impressive mixture of rubber suit mayhem and digital effects in the last wave of Godzilla films — not to mention the incredible FX work in Gamera 3 in 1999 — prove that you can have an organic monster that looks vibrant and alive. (Let’s be honest, the rubber suits do hold sentimental value for longtime fans.) The 3-D format does have great possibilities for monster mayhem, and on top of the obligatory crumbling buildings, tail swatting and giant creature smackdowns, I expect one shot of Godzilla spraying the audience with his nuclear breath.

Perhaps I’m a purist, but you’ve got to do these things right. At the same time, throw in some surprises. Just don’t make it a lame story with bad dialogue and baby dinos running around. Please.

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