With the release of a new American-made film Godzilla coming on May 16th, there is hope (based on the trailers) that the mistakes made in the previous American effort won’t be repeated. That film from 1998 directed by Roland Emmerich had a giant iguana-type creature that ran through the rainy streets of NYC and dodged fire from attack helicopters, which ended up hitting many buildings. It was shown that the army did more damage to the city than Godzilla himself, and he was vulnerable to their attacks when he was hit. This description illustrates what went wrong with that film and shows what Godzilla isn’t.
In all of his Japanese films, Godzilla is portrayed as an unstoppable force of nature that has to be endured. He causes massive destruction on an unimaginable scale, almost like a typhoon or tornado. That is why military strikes against him don’t really work. You can’t bomb a hurricane into submission. All you can do is wait for it to pass and deal with the aftermath. The ’98 film Godzilla didn’t seem to grasp this concept and made Godzilla seem like your run-of-the-mill monster. If it was not called Godzilla, the movie can be enjoyed as a decent monster flick. But when given the title Godzilla, there are certain expectations that fans have, and hopefully the new film will fulfill them.
So far, the trailers for the latest Godzilla film seem to show the same serious tone that the original 1954 film had with a dark and moody feel. They also evoke a sense of dread and awe at the sheer size of Godzilla, and the chaos he leaves in his wake.
If done correctly, this film can lead to a new series of American-made Godzilla movies and reestablish the character as a film icon, something the ’98 film failed to do. That misstep forced Toho films to resume making their own Godzilla movies. The first of which (Godzilla 2000) was a nice return to form for the Big G. The new film will also have him fighting other creatures, which should be fun to see and bring back memories of his many bouts with other fan favorites like Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidora. The thing with those films is that they were somewhat more light hearted in tone than the original film. So hopefully this new one will combine the serious outlook of the 1954 film with the monster match ups of later Godzilla movies.
In any case, it is nice to see another Godzilla movie after 10 years of his absence since Godzilla: Final Wars from 2004, and should bring the King of The Monsters renewed attention and attract new fans.