Godzilla. There’s a name you don’t hear too often anymore. While the Hollywood landscape is increasingly littered with the corpses of franchises gutted by reboots and remakes, Tomoyuki Tanaka’s giant lizard creation has laid dormant on American shores since the release of the laughably bad 1998 blockbuster starring Matthew Broderick. Well guess what: we’re one step closer to adding a giant, atomic ray-breathing body to that pile!
It’s not news that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros are producing a Godzilla reboot. That was confirmed last year. The news is that a deal with a director is just about closed, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s someone with giant monster movie experience, but probably not a name you were expecting: Gareth Edwards.
Who? Edwards is the director of Monsters, a microbudgeted indie released late last year. The story follows two people making a journey from Mexico to the United States in a near-future world in which giant monsters roam the planet. Land has been split into safe zones and quarantine zones, but really — we’ve been here before, right? When monsters are about, no one is safe. The movie is notable for keeping the beasties mysterious and at the periphery for most of the movie, focusing instead on the relationship between the two travelers.
Which certainly makes Edwards an interesting choice. The logic is sound: Roland Emmerich, master of the blockbuster, took a crack at Godzilla in ’98 and the result was disastrous. Baby-Godzilla-eggs-hatching-in-Madison-Square-Garden disastrous. Edwards, a young up-and-comer with a clever genre subversion in the bank, is pretty much a polar opposite as far as choices go.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Monsters personally, but I think this is a good move for Legendary. Edwards’ feature debut was clever; he got great performances from his two main characters and he created a very cool world for them to travel through but the so-so script the movie was saddled with took the bite out of everything. A problem that will hopefully be rectified with a killer Godzilla script, from a writer who has yet to be named.
It’s progress though, right? Edwards is a bold choice, but a smart one. Maybe the corpse of the Godzilla franchise won’t be joining the steadily rising heap beneath the Hollywood Sign.
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