As much as we thoroughly enjoyed Gareth Edwards’ recent Godzilla reboot, we can’t and won’t argue that it’s a great movie in many ways. The story is totally bogus, and anything that even tangentially relates to the human cast is a complete and utter waste of time, save for two lines from Ken Watanabe (the first time he says the King of the Monsters’ name, and later when he says, “Let them fight,” those are, admittedly, pretty fantastic moments). One of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about the film is that he title character, you know, Godzilla, is barely in the damn movie (there’s a similar problem with the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles revamp, among other issues). You may have noticed that, but it begs the question, just how much is the giant titular beast actually in the movie that bears his name? The answer is, not much.
This video by John Nemesis compiles all of the footage of Godzilla from the movie called Godzilla, a movie that is 123 minutes long, and it all adds up to just under eight minutes of screen time. According to the Honest Trailer we wrote about the other day, it’s 11 minutes and 16 seconds. The two obviously have different ways of counting (perhaps one took into account scenes where you can only see his back as he swims across the ocean and the other didn’t), but it doesn’t matter. The point is, whoever is correct, there’s not much Godzilla in Godzilla.
Wired did the math and, based on the Nemesis compilation, Godzilla is actually on the movie screen for 7% of the movie. That’s barely a supporting role. We get the impulse to keep your big screen monster hidden until the right moment. Edwards used this strategy to great effect (as well as for obviously budgetary and logistical reasons) with his 2010 low-budget indie creature feature Monsters. You should never reveal your monster until the proper moment, we understand that, but beyond a certain point, after he has been fully unleashed, it’s just silly, not to mention kind of annoying, to keep him in the shadows.
Godzilla was a massive hit, with a mammoth opening weekend, and Godzilla 2 and Godzilla 3 are on the way, though not until Edwards directs the first of the standalone Star Wars movies. At this point we know what the monster looks like, so there’s no point in keeping him under wraps. There will be plenty of time to play coy with the other creatures (like Mothra), let’s hope that next time around there are only eight minutes where Godzilla doesn’t appear on screen. We can support that.