The wait is over kaiju fans in Fresno and all over the world. After months and months of tight-liped rumors and speculation, the first official trailer for 2014's Godzilla has now been released.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film is a reboot of the most famous daikaiju (Japanese for "giant monster"), Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Originally created for the classic 1954 Japanese film Gojira, the character has gone on to star in 29 films, including the 1998 American version of Godzilla directed by Roland Emmerich. Despite turning in a total $379,014,294 in gross revenue both domestic and internationally, Emmerich's film received negative reception both from critics and from fans, with critics complaints centering mainly on the film's thinly plotted script, acting, and directing, while Godzilla fans targeted the drastic reinvention of the character himself, which included its radical redesign and lack of remaining faithful to the source material. Since it's release, the 1998 film has been a source of resentment and parody for fans; in fact, the 1999 Toho film Godzilla 2000, which was the starts to the third Japanese Godzilla film series, has been theorized to have been released in retaliation to the character's American portrayal; furthermore, the American Godzilla (now referred to as "Zilla" in Japan) was actually defeated by the "real" Godzilla on-screen in the 2004 film Godzilla: Final Wars.
The point of all of this is, with the failure of Hollywood's last attempt to realize this concept for American audiences, will this 2014 reboot far even remotely better? Well, that remains to be seen, but based on the trailer, it sure looks like they are going in the correct direction.
The trailer opens with a platoon of soldiers, including a young lieutenant named Ford Brody (played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson), about to perform a HALO jump, with the commanding officer acknowledging that he realizes that not all of them have had hands-on experience, but also that no one has ever faced a threat like this before. But having complete faith in their ability, he orders Ford and the platoon to leaps out of a military plane, red smoke trailing behind them, and dark cloud everywhere they turn, down toward Earth below for a mission unlike any other, and it is as this platoon in in free fall that we see a P.O.V. shot from Ford's eyes of something moving through the city, something that appears to be a gigantic creature, though it is shot so close up and shadowed that is cannot be made wholly visible.
What follows is a series of chaotic images as we see several characters played by such actors as Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and others as this gigantic creature tears a city apart like a unstoppable force of nature, as well as the military's actions to try and defeat this creature; though we can already sense that they will likely be for not. But then, finally, we end the trailer with an extended shot of the creature barely coming out of a thick cloud of dust, buildings in ruin all around it, as what appear to be a familiar-looking tail, row of back-spikes, head are silhouetted behind the dust, capped off by the monster making that iconic roar.
As this examiner said, this trailer, which can been seen here, seems to be taking the series in the correct direction by playing nothing up for comedy and instead presenting the arrival of Godzilla like it were a force of nature; after all, the character was originally created to be a metaphor for the mass destruction of the atomic bomb. The trailer does not tell us much at all about he actual plot, or really who any of the human characters are. But to be fair the human characters are rarely, if ever, what people look forward to seeing in a Godzilla film. The goal o the trailer was to announce that the film in coming next years and to set the tone we can expect, and while I could have got a bit farther, it does that job well. The reveal of Godzilla himself, which of coarse is the number one thing fans will be waiting to see from this trailer, is handled very well, taking the necessary steps not to show him in full, but giving us just the right clues that this Godzilla will actually look the way he is meant to, unlike the mutated, fish-eating lizard version seen in the Emmerich film.
Godzilla will be the final co-production between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, ending a decade-long partner ship that has resulted in such hits as the Batman Begins, Superman Returns, 300, The Dark Knight, Watchmen, The Hangover, Clash of the Titans, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, and Pacific Rim.
Godzilla in slated to hit theaters in 2-D and 3-D on May 16, 2014.