The kaiju are titans, hidden in the Earth and ready to balance the scales of some catastrophe on the planet. So says Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) in the just dropped trailer for the eagerly anticipated blockbuster, Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Saturday is Warner Brother’s day to dominate the headlines at San Diego Comicon, with Disney, Fox, and Universal not having a large presence in Hall H this year. So, with the field cleared of competition, WB/Legendary rolled out a full slate of films, including this big one.
In a word… spectacular. Spectacular in the awe-inspiring sense of seeing Mothra unfold her wings from the sea, and Rodan perched atop a volcano. King Ghidora is shown frozen in a block of ice. The movie looks and feels appropriately BIG. The colors are vibrant. The city destruction looks epic. The music soars and roars. The cast is full of quality actors Kyle Chandler, Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford, Zhang Ziyi, and Charles Dance. Featured most prominently is the red-hot young actress Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), who appears to be the central figure of this story. Like the Gareth Edwards directed film, there appears to be a family separated from each other in Brown, Chandler, and Farmiga. I half suspect that the exposition providing Farmiga may meet an untimely end during the course of her research. It does appear that Brown is left to fend for herself in a world in collapse.
So, great look, a reasonable story plot, an A-List cast, and the hall of fame of Kaiju monsters, plus a wealth of potential reveals yet to come.
And yet… it’s still just a trailer.
But it’s a trailer that has me salivating for next summer to hurry up and get here! The trailer creators did a fine job of spacing the monster reveals throughout the trailer. They show you just enough, but not too much. That would be a big reveal that had not been announced previously. It also looks like the monsters have crossed the Panama Canal… or perhaps have marched across the Continental US to reach Washington. Looking at the skyline of the opening sequence, I’m trying to figure out what City Millie Bobby Brown is in, watching from the rooftops.
Legendary has done a good job laying down this monster sized brick road, in a dare I say, Marvel-like way. So many movie production houses have tried to start a Marvel-like connected universe from their intellectual properties, DC Comic, Star Wars (of course), Universal Monsters, Hasbro Toys, all of which have struggled to replicate that model of success. This has a decent chance of success, largely stemming from the vast library of Toho goodness that can be mined. That said, DC comics has a wealth of back-story and their scorecard has been hit-or-miss, to be kind. (I’m actively rooting for Aquaman to succeed… and that’s another trailer that drops today.) One thing a trailer can do is confirm the level of commitment necessary for a franchise, and this trailer gives me comfort that we could be in for a good long run of Hollywood produced Kaiju films. This being the third leg of the franchise, it can hit its full stride leading right into the next film which will be Kong vs. Godzilla. Have you got a favorite in that fight?
The two previous movies Godzilla, and Kong Skull Island were successful at bringing back the behemoths in a serious way. Kong Skull Island gave us the cave paintings that revealed the existence of Ghidora, Mothra, and Rodan. There is the appearance of a giant terrapin at about the 1:06 marker that suggests that maybe Gamera is making an appearance? Giant gods that stride the Earth, with the humans standing by trying to figure out whether they mean us harm or good. I am guessing here that King Ghidora gets the first reveal, and he starts laying waste to cities, and the humans are trying to find worthy titans to do battle with this destructive force of nature. I also wonder if they will use the idea that Ghidora is a being from space, and that the other Kaiju are Gaea’s protectors, and will battle to protect the planet. It sure would seem that’s the play. It’s also unknown as to whether we’ll get the Mothra fairy ladies this time out. (I do hope so.) Will we see mega-caterpillars? Wooly Bears! Wooly Bears! (Oh please, oh please!)
A slight bit of concern for me is that the director, Michael Dougherty, is making the jump from writer to director in this film. I have enjoyed his scripts from X-Men 2 and Trick-r-Treat, but he’s also responsible for Superman Returns and X-Men Apocalypse… so it’s a spotty track record without any major directorial credits. I will be very interested in what our friends at the Kaijucast will have to say about the trailer. As a lifelong Godzilla fanboy, this seems like a dream come true! Just… show more of the big guy this time! And lots of Mothra, too!