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“Godzilla” 2014…why my hopes are sky high!

First of all, the trailer kicks ass(see above). But that alone can’t move me, because I’ve been shot down by such before. Also, I just recently(last month)caught “Godzilla” star Bryan Cranston in his Broadway debut(find the “All the Way” review in the April and/or Theatre archives), and you’ll find him very prominent in the above video. But that’s not it either. So, let me tell you a name that you’ll be hearing a lot from now until the official North American opening of “Godzilla” on May the 16th. Gareth Edwards. Remember it, vault it, and tell people where you heard it first. Because I think he’s going to be a big deal as a director.

Mr. Edwards is British and in his late 30’s, with just one feature film(besides “Godzilla”)on his resume, so far. But that motion picture just happened to land on my Top Ten list of 2010. The name of the movie is “Monsters”, and it was made on a miniscule budget of a reported “under” 500,000 bucks. But it played much bigger. It also contained Godzilla-like giant creatures and showcased some stinging social commentary regarding immigration. Ask George A. Romero how important making a societal statement can be. Or John Carpenter for that matter. “Monsters” starred Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able as a pair of unlikely Mexican wanderers, trying desperately to return to the United States. What’s impeding their return? Oh, only some gargantuan, lizard-like, glowing creatures that have overtaken the country. And what ensues is a brisk, yet thoughtful, 90-minute journey that recalls the sensibilities of “Cloverfield”, “District 9”, and, believe it or not, 1934’s “It Happened One Night”! As far as I know, I’m the only one to make that last connection. But it’s there, and I’d love to hear from Mr. Edwards if an homage was intentional, or not.

Gareth Edwards directed “Monsters”, plus he wrote the screenplay for it. He was also the film’s cinematographer, and designed the impressive special effects. And along with showing us some terrific shots of the “monsters”, he also kept things tense and weighty—and yet subtle—when the creatures were only being anticipated. His patience and sure hand were remarkable. There is a scene towards the end of the movie, involving two of the massive beasts,  that is astonishing, wondrous—and even touching. It’s better than anything you saw in 1993’s “Jurassic Park”, and it’s cost was completely “bargain basement”. Will Mr. Edwards be able deliver with a reported 160 million dollar budget for his sophomore effort? It must have been daunting, but the results appear spectacular. Gareth has an uphill battle following the critically derided “Godzilla” feature from 1998, that was expected to rule the box office that summer. That one did actually make a small fortune, but it is mostly despised by fans of the big, green, atomic dinosaur. This is the second-time that a North American production is taking a stab at rebooting the franchise of Japan’s favorite monster. And this time round it looks like a winner. 2014’s “Godzilla” also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn. And come May…I’m there.

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4 comments on ““Godzilla” 2014…why my hopes are sky high!

  1. I am not a lover of disaster movies. I’ve skipped some of the “best” blockbusters because I just can’t find the destruction of cities and people entertaining. That said, this trailer is done so well I actually wonder if I can sit this one out. Very smart marketing team that put together an intellectual approach instead of “woohoo explosions!” And of course Cranston and Watanabe lend legitimacy. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Sandy, you and Brian should really catch “Monsters”. Your hubby would LOVE its political metaphors. Plus, most of the destruction in it is simply suggested. Also, lovers of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, like myself, should easily discern that the marketing team for “Godzilla” has used some of the very same classical musical in the trailer that Kubrick utilized for his 1968 classic. Another chip in the upcoming film’s favor! ML

  3. Thanks for this post Mark. The title of this had turned me off, but now you have me excited about it as well. These sort of big movies are my favourites to see at the cinema. And I love Bryan Cranston (even though I couldn’t fit in All the Way on my recent Broadway visit)

    • Having just seen Cranston weeks ago, Simon…I’m even more jazzed then I’d ordinarily be. Happy for him that he’s having such a big year…I’ll bet he takes the Tony in June. And try to check out “Monsters”…it’s superb. Plus, I love “Godzilla”…but not that 1998 incarnation. I’m one week from “Violet”, btw! ML

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