Hot on the heels of the giant, heaving pile of “meh” that was the Robocop re-make/boot/shrug, we have the trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. While Hollywood certainly seems hell bent on fixing what isn’t broke – 1987 Robocop is g*ddamn perfect, I will fight you on this – it’s nice to see them trying to fix what they broke the f*ck out of sixteen years ago.
In addition to being a throwback to the monster movies of the 50’s, this also has a dash of 70’s government paranoia flavoring. The monologue by Bryan Cranston in particular seems to have been heavily influenced by the interrogation scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Also, the references to the infamous Pacific nuclear testing contains two of my favorite tropes – the re-writing of history (X-Men: First Class did this very well with the Cuban Missile Crisis) and a clever twist on an old cliche; we didn’t create Godzilla with nukes, we were trying to kill his world-ruining ass with them.
Edwards’ last directorial effort was the zero-budgeted Monsters in 2010. In addition to giving us Scoot McNairy, it also was mostly a quiet character drama with a barely-present sci-fi backdrop. It’s unclear what he’s capable of with the Scrooge McDuck swimming pool of money they probably gave him for this, but his emphasis on character over spectacle is promising. Even in the ton of spectacle on display here, it looks well-choreographed and has a great sense of scale.
While this summer doesn’t look as absurdly packed as the next one, starting it with this in May and ending with the light-hearted space epic Guardians of the Galaxy in August, we’re at least book-ending it with some promising throwback sci-fi. That’s good to keep in mind when Transformers: Say Hi To Your Mother For Me comes out and makes a million dollars for every brain cell it kills.