Godzilla vs. Hollywood: Why The Latest King of the Monsters Resurrection Will Fail
If anyone wants this film to be both a critical and financial success it’s me. Godzilla sparked my love of film. But regardless of my most optimistic hopes and all this rushing good news that keeps being presented (Frank Darabont rewriting the script, the word rewrite is always a bad sign), to me it’s all as disposable as a used tissue. I don’t believe that anyone in Hollywood today has the ability to make a great Godzilla film (except perhaps Quentin Tarantino, cause he’s the man), but please Hollywood, prove me wrong. Following I’ve let my inner cynic take the keys to type up some reasons why Hollywood isn’t cut out to take Big G out of retirement just yet.
3. It’s Been Attempted Before… and Failed
Back in 98, Columbia and Tristar Pictures were distributing those over seas Kaiju films from Toho Studios. I’m not sure exactly what compelled them to give the genre a shot themselves, but they went ahead and did it anyways. They were jumping without a chute from the get go. What resulted was a messy monster film that had a giant iguana parading around Tokyo dubbed as Godzilla. In all honesty it’s more reminiscent of the last 25 minutes of The Lost World, or Ray Harryhausen’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (which is even referenced in the movie). Toho Studies themselves bastardized the film, stating that “Godzilla” was too concerned about laying eggs rather than rampaging through the city. The studio even chastised the monsters name, dubbing him Zilla. In the film Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all Out Attack, 2 Japanese soldiers make reference to a monster attacking New York, one of them brushing the comment off confidently assuring it wasn’t Godzilla. In the last Godzilla film, Godzilla Final Wars, the titular monster and his American rival battle it out in front of the Sydney Opera House while Sum 41’s “We’re All To Blame” plays in the background. It’s the greatest cinematic moment since the climax of The Good the Bad and the Ugly.
While Godzilla made more than enough of it’s budget back, I highly doubt it resulted from the reviews or word of mouth. It was likely due to its borderline brilliant marketing campaign. Godzilla was one of the first films to take advantage of merchandising and what I like to call creative marketing. Back in 98 Godzilla was everywhere, on your television, on the computer, in the magazines you read, and in your Taco Bell. All images of the partially exposed monster (an extreme close up of his reptilian green cornea, or a gargantuan foot smashing something we know to be large), all sported the tag line “Size Does Matter”. A teaser trailer consisting of a museum tour guide accenting the size and ferocity of a T-Rex to some bored school children, is interrupted by Godzilla’s massive foot smashing the skeleton of the dinosaur. Godzilla had one of the greatest ad campaigns ever. 2014’s Godzilla is no different. The comic con teaser poster and trailer are such sought after glimpses of what’s done on the film so far, that fan boys have already created full mock paintings of what the King of the Monsters will look like based upon a cell phone image of the beasts silhouette.
The Earth shakes as company credits play through a dirty filter, black and white archival footage of a city in ruins and flame flicker while the infamous speech of Robert Oppenheimer plays in the background. As the dialogue closes, the image of a vague Gojira appears, he lets out his trademark roar and the titles fade in. Just imagining these things weaved together is enough to give anyone the hebbie jebbies, but I fear that they’re at it again. When a trailer is put out before a film is even shot, or for that matter even written, I worry. Especially when the trailer is this good. They don’t even know the tone of the film yet, though I’ll gladly soak in the success of the trailer.