14 August 2009

Another U.S. Godzilla film in the works?

Update: Yes, it’s happening. And now I’m just ridiculously happy about.

File this under “maybe / maybe not / good / not so good”:

According to the site Bloody-Disgusting, Legendary Pictures (the production company behind Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, 300, and Superman Returns) wants to take a crack at doing another U.S.-made Godzilla film. And this time do it, you know, right.

It would be hard to do it worse. The 1998 Godzilla was not only an insult to anyone who loves Godzilla and other kaiju films, but pretty much a sharp jab in the face to anybody who walked into the movie. We could argue about whether the creature in the ‘98 Godzilla is really Godzilla or not until we start to breathe radioactive fire, but the film stinks no matter where you stand on the identity of the creature. (Toho has officially declared the monster not to be be Godzilla, but a different monster called “Zilla,” and I’ve made this my stance as well.)

After the relative failure of Godzilla: Final Wars, the 2004 Japanese film that crammed nearly every monster in history into its running time, along with kung-fu mutants and aliens, I thought we wouldn’t see a new Godzilla film for at least a decade. Toho Studios had indicated as much, and they had even said so before the release of Final Wars. However, with re-boots coming fast these days—just look at the brief span between Hulk and The Incredible Hulk, the idea of a shorter span between Big-G films seemed possible. But I had not expected that a U.S. company wanted another shot at a huge-budget version of Godzilla.

At this point, I have no idea if anything will come of this. There are no details, except that this will be a re-boot and have no connection with the ‘98 film. Of course it won’t; who would want any connection to that franchise-killer? But will it be any good?

I say . . . what the hell. Can’t hurt at this point, and filmmakers will have learned a lesson from the failure of the first U.S. Godzilla that you can’t simply ignore forty-plus years of iconic character history and do your own thing, and then expect audiences to go for it. People expected a Godzilla movie in ‘98—and they just got Sony’s attempt to make their own version of Jurassic Park using a somebody else’s brand name. So if the people who make this potential film at least have an upright walking gray fifty-meter radioactive behemoth who belches radioactive flames and can smash a line of tanks flat in three seconds (and doesn’t lay eggs), then they will already be far better than the old film.

Oh, and if possible, could you please have Godzilla fight another monster? People like that, you know. Remember how people complained that Superman never fought another super-powered adversary in Superman Returns? Same thing. Just FYI. Now please go make the movie.