This first footage from Gareth Edwards's upcoming American Godzilla movie — which unfortunately Warner Bros. has taken off YouTube —is simple, reassuring, and incredibly effective. Here are a few comments on what we saw.
The quote playing over the video is from Manhattan Project participant J. Robert Oppenheimer, which is obviously quite appropriate. "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Oh, we can't wait for this one, although I guess we'll have to wait until it premieres on May 16th, 2014, at least.
When we spoke with director Edwards at Comic-Con in July, he promised that the movie would stay true to the roots of the Japanese 1954 version, which is a fairly scary morality tale about the use of atomic weapons. And this teaser — with the long, ominous quote from atomic scientist Oppenheimer — definitely makes good on his claim.
Also, we're seeing a crisp, realistic world, albeit with cartoonish levels of destruction. Again, this goes back to what Edwards told us, which is that he wants this Godzilla to be like the hyper-realistic version of the fairy tale we saw in the original Godzilla movie.
While this movie has a clear and chilling message about atomics, it's hard not to see this kaiju story as a message about natural disasters and climate change in today's world. Like Pacific Rim, this is a story about forces beyond our control that have come to lay waste to our civilizations. Unlike the kaiju of Pacific Rim, however, Godzilla does not come from beyond our universe. It's a monster from Earth, representing the terrifying power of nature itself.
Also, in the rubble, we see hints that Godzilla isn't alone. There's a fallen monster here — perhaps even two — who has been reduced to what look like four limp claws and a pile of spines. Though the original Godzilla movie which inspired Edwards' version only featured the Big G, the following films introduced a whole pantheon of creatures — some of whom we are likely to see here.
We've been saying all along that this film is based on early Godzilla movies, and that's because this film is a joint venture with Toho, the Japanese studio that owns the Godzilla franchise. And that's good news for all the Godzilla fans who hated the Americanized 1998 flick — this is in no way related to that movie. It's part of the Godzilla canon created by Toho, and Toho signed off on the whole thing.
You should expect this Godzilla kaiju to look as scary as hell, but also be completely recognizable as the iconic creature whose battle cry echoed through a lot of our childhoods.