Considering how awful Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Godzilla remake was, the thought of another American stab at the beloved Japanese franchise has made many fans wince. But some good news arrived recently: filmmaker Gareth Edwards, the man who directed the well-received indie film Monsters this past year, is on board to direct Legendary Pictures’ new take on the Big G, due out in 2012. Given Edwards’ emotionally resonant approach to the genre in that picture — in spite of a spare budget and limited appearances from his creatures — there is a good chance he will do something interesting with Japan’s most famous mon-star.
Edwards spoke last week with Shock Till You Drop about his thoughts on this seemingly daunting endeavor.
“I’m a big fan,” Edwards told Shock’s managing editor Ryan Turek. “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.”
To catch some readers up to speed — Toho Studios “retired” the franchise in 1995 with the death of Godzilla in Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, but they rebooted it with Godzilla 2000; some think because of the disgraceful, Jurassic Park-style way that Hollywood remade it in 1998. Toho released six films in the ’00s, culminating in the all-out creature clash Final Wars in 2007, which featured every monster from the entire franchise’s history. But more people Stateside have undoubtedly seen the crappy American version than any of the last wave of Japanese releases — which featured an excellent blend of organic and digital effects and some dark humor — so perhaps Edwards can import that magic into his rendition.
The 35 year-old director will not be writing the new film — last month he told the Coventry Telegraph that he is “concentrating on a few ideas, including working on a script with [Wanted and Night Watch director] Timur Bekmambetov” — but he has been a long-time aficionado. “My earliest memories were [from] 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 — 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 [time] to adjust to the dubbing. It took me some time to get through that.”
Hey, this one won’t be dubbed. Let’s just hope the essence of the Big G does not get lost in translation. But Edwards and Bekmambetov sound like they speak the right language. Fingers crossed.