Beard: Godzilla returns May 16Written by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Godzilla, that radioactive remnant of man’s folly with nuclear destruction, is facing down a bomb. The giant lizard’s newest American film foray, out May 16, faces not only all the challenges within its storyline, but also the ill-will generated by his disastrous first attempt to conquer America.
The producers of “Godzilla,” this time from Warner Bros., have an uphill battle to win over American audiences after the 1998 Columbia TriStar bomb of a film, but advance trailers seem to indicate they got it right. The previous flick offered a Godzilla that didn’t much resemble its famous Japanese progenitor, but today’s American monster sports features that echo the original while endowing the look with modern sensibilities. Add to that hints of another creature to battle the Tokyo Titan and star Bryan Cranston, hot off “Breaking Bad,” and we may be able to put Matthew Broderick and his baby Godzillas behind us forever.
Born in Toho Pictures’ 1954 “Gojira,” the rampaging reptile soon became a perennial box office player and enjoyed a long string of films in his native Japan.
Up until the 1990s, Godzilla films made their way to the U.S. to become popular popcorn programmers and fodder for afternoon TV film festivals. Toho continued the series into the new millennium, but American audiences grew too sophisticated and enamored with CGI special effects to embrace men in rubber suits crushing miniature cityscapes.
Today, Godzilla’s screen adventures are considered kitsch of the highest — or lowest — order, so the new movie needs to sweep away that taint and deliver something along the lines of the 1954 original: a serious treatise on the dangers of playing God with nature.
Can they do it? Recent giant monster films such as “Cloverfield” and “Pacific Rim” didn’t exactly set theaters on fire, but then again, this is Godzilla. The Granddaddy of ’em all. The Big G. The Terror of the East. If he can’t enthrall America, no one can.