A few weeks ago, Legendary Pictures hired writer Frank Darabont to re-write the screenplay for the upcoming Godzilla reboot. The Godzilla production is quickly coming together as it marches toward a possible March production start. Many fans of the giant monster are wondering whether this reboot will be more faithful to the original 1954 Japanese film, or if it will more closely resemble Roland Emmerich’s horrible 1998 movie of the same name.
In an interview with io9.com, Darabont opens up about the direction of the Godzilla reboot. The production team is on the same page about Godzilla’s origins and what this new film will be about. When the original Japanese Godzilla film opened in theaters, the radioactive monster was seen as an allegory of post-World War II Japan, but somewhere down the line, Godzilla became increasingly sillier. Darabont explains:
What I found very interesting about Godzilla is that he started off definitely as a metaphor for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And some of the atom bomb testing we were doing in the South Pacific in the subsequent years. The giant terrifying force of nature that comes and stomps the shit out of your city, that was Godzilla. Filtered through the very fanciful imaginations of the Japanese perception. And then he became Clifford the Big Red Dog in the subsequent films. He became the mascot of Japan, he became the protector of Japan. Another big ugly monster would show up and he would fight that monster to protect Japan. Which I never really quite understood, the shift.
It’s refreshing to see that Frank Darabont has a firm understanding of Godzilla’s history, but will that origin story translate to an American audience? One of the reasons why Godzilla became so campy as the series progressed was due to its worldwide acceptance. Happily, Darabont and director Gareth Edwards don’t want to do the same thing with their version of Godzilla. Darabont continues:
What we’re trying to do with the new movie is not have it camp, not have it be campy. We’re kind of taking a cool new look at it. But with a lot of tradition in the first film. We want this to be a terrifying force of nature. And what was really cool, for me, is there was a very compelling human drama that I got to weave into it. It’s not that cliched, thinly disguised romance or bromance, or whatever. It’s different, it’s a different set of circumstances than you’re used to seeing. And that’s tremendously exciting as a writer when you’re asked to do something else.
Gareth Edwards has promised that the new Godzilla film will take a more realistic approach than its predecessors. It seems like Godzilla will not be a traditional monster movie, or perhaps will be a little ambiguous and open to interpretation, like Darabont’s 2007 film, The Mist. Hopefully Edwards and Darabont can find a balance between something smart and big-screen action. After all, we didn’t just pay $12 to watch Godzilla not demolish a city.
Godzilla roars into theaters everywhere on May 16th 2014 in 3D.