Release Date: 05/16/2014
An ancient colossal creature is accidentally awakened by mankind, and seemingly leaves nothing but destruction in its wake, as its presence becomes known to the world.
I'm going on record and saying that this is the next movie I'm really psyched (pun intended) for. Monster movies are the original apocalyptic film scenario, and where most other scenarios are very vague in their antagonist, with nuclear war presenting rival governments, or zombie plagues offering endless hordes to blame, monster movies are finite. There is one thing that personifies our extinction, and if we could just kill it, we could possibly recover (Even Them! had a queen). This presents our extinction as an actual tangible antagonist, and the concept is rife with potential. And while monster movies stand alone among apocalyptic films, one monster stands alone amongst all the others: Godzilla. It took Hollywood 16 years after 1998's awful attempt at it (they did know they weren't working on a Jurassic Park movie, right?) to recover and decide to give it another go, and boy did they ever. Throwing a massive $160 million budget at this thing ensures director Gareth Edwards has all the tools at his disposal to put exactly what he wants on the screen. And what he seems to want is simple: almost poetically-visceral devastation.
If the name Gareth Edwards isn't familiar to you, there's a good reason for that: his directorial efforts before this one encompass exactly one movie: Monsters (often confused with Charlize Theron's Monster or Pixar's Monsters, Inc. when fans mention it). Made for the paltry sum of $500,000, Monsters showed incredible skill as Edwards actually did all 250 special effects shots himself using off-the-shelf software, remarking, "You can go in the shop now and you can buy a laptop that's faster than the computers they made Jurassic Park on". In Monsters, Edwards showed the same sort of restraint in revealing his creatures that he seems to use here. However, while the man has certainly proven capable of crafting a good monster movie, leaping from his $500k budget to $160m must've presented a few challenges.
The trailer shows that Edwards has shown admirable with the creature's design, with only minor modifications (narrowing the snout, etc.) but keeping the iconic look intact, while giving it an equally implausible, but at least easier to stomach backstory. Nothing in the trailer is making me think this won't be the highest ceiling possible. Honestly, to come up with a worst case scenario, I have to imagine that Edwards has growing pains in his first big budget movie, that Cranston is picking pieces of the scenery out of his teeth for the whole movie, or that there's a reason Elizabeth Olsen doesn't have any dialogue in the trailer. But let's be clear: that trailer is awesome. If this winds up not being an amazing movie, file this one under "reasons trailers should have an Academy Award".