Thanks to Warner Bros Türkiye, we had the chance to attend to the press screening of this monster-of-a-movie: Godzilla: King of The Monsters. Rest assured, we don’t have any intention to give any spoilers at all.
As a franchise, Godzilla is a 65-year-old monster and even though he has been portrayed in Hollywood only three times, in his homeland (Japan), he’s the protagonist of more than 35 films and counting. The first ever Godzilla movie dates from 1954, directed by Ishiro Honda (1911-1993).
Two years after this first Japanese movie, an American version is made: Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) The exclamation point is part of the official title! Ishiro Honda is directing again, in collaboration with Terry O. Morse. This time a big part of the anti-nuclear references existing in the original movie was removed, making the monster more “neutral” to the WWII.
The 2019 Godzilla, the forth American installment in a long-running franchise, bares the same name as the first Hollywood version, and this choice of title tells us a lot. Director Michael Dougherty clearly loves and respects this righteous monster:
- The title of the movie is nearly identical to the first Hollywood production.
- The choice of Japanese (Ken Watanabe) and Asian (Ziyi Zhang) actors.
- Design of the monster, faithful to the original design.
- The writing at the end of the movie: “In memory of Haruo Nakajima”.
Haruo Nakajima passed away in 2017, he was a brilliant Japanese actor, who also gave life to the Godzilla suit in the first Godzilla movie.
Writers Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields and Max Borenstein chose to put a family in the center of all this Armageddon, just like it was the case for the Independence Day (1996) by Roland Emmerich. Kyle Chandler is great as the father figure, Vera Farmiga plays the mother and we watch Millie Bobby Brown from the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, as the child of this family trying to hold on to each other in the worst possible conditions, one might say.
The writing of this 2019 Godzilla is not flawless (the main story changes its course drastically a few times) but it keeps everything together and pays successfully tribute to this prehistoric monster. At this point we should also mention The Fog Horn, a short story by Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), because it is most likely thanks to the cinematic adaptation of this story that Godzilla is born. The adaptation is entitled The Beast from 20.000 Fathoms (1953) directed by Eugène Lourié. Here, a ferocious dinosaur named Rhedosaurus terrorizes New York City and you be the judge if this reminds you of our beloved Godzilla or not. The animation was in the hands of the legendary artist Ray Harryhausen.
Towards the end, a little guide before you see the movie:
- Godzilla is a monster getting its power from nuclear energy, created as the answer of Japan to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and all the nuclear experiments around the world.
- This is also why the main “weapon” of Godzilla is the atomic heat beam.
- Godzilla or “Gojira / Gozira” in Japanese language, derives from two words: Gorilla and Whale.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the follow up to the 2014 movie Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards.
- The third installment of the franchise will be Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020, by Adam Wingard.
- The 2019 Godzilla movie has a link with Kong: Skull Island (2017) by Jordan Vogt-Roberts but Kong is not a must-watch before you see this one.
All in all, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a great watch, you should go see it even only for the fact that you will feel like you are watching a monster movie in the 1950s and taking part in movie history thanks to the nearly unchanged appearance of Godzilla, this radioactive monster that we all know, respect and love.
Godzilla: King of The Monsters hits theaters around the globe on May 31st.