Enough hate has been spewed at the debacle that was 1998’s attempted reboot of Godzilla to last several lifetimes. However, putting that aside today, it was an extremely exciting time to be a fan. Never before had I ever seen the Big G in the spotlight like he had been in the year or so leading up to the film’s release.
Growing up in a rural area during the mid 90’s, the internet was a seemingly unattainable luxury at the time. News about Godzilla up to this point had been largely non-existent for an American fan like myself and I was largely unaware that while I patiently waited on the off chance a new VHS would one day appear in my local department stores electronic section, that the entire Heisei series had been made overseas. My only hint that something was happening was the excellent line of Trendmasters line of figures that kept popping up and I was absolutely infatuated with.
That all changed around 1997 when the Roland and Emmerich film launched a promotional campaign that I’ve seen few films rival. From fast food commercials (some of which I am sure we can all quote today), to the cover of Entertainment Weekly, to hour long specials on the E! cable television network it was pure pandemonium and I’m sure I speak for other fans when I say I enjoyed every minute of it. I’ll never forget the evening my family was watching, and I can hardly believe it to this day, a two hour long segment on one of the home shopping cable networks dedicated completely to Godzilla merchandise. It was not only the first time I had ever seen the last 5 films in the Heisei series available for sale but I could barely say I knew for sure they existed before then! When they arrived in the mail (thank you Grandma, R.I.P.) I could barely contain myself as I had my own personal Godzilla marathon.
Who could forget classic (*snicker*) knocks offs like this one?
I’m sure we are all familiar with how the story ends of course. Somehow I had convinced myself the pictures in the Godzilla novelization I had bought couldn’t POSSIBLY be what he looked like in the actual film. Surely it was just a series of bad angles and that when I saw the movie and the monster was fully revealed on screen, he would be the Godzilla I had known and loved since I could walk. But again putting that aside, it was perhaps one of the best times ever to be an American daikaiju fan.
Oddly enough, this picture pretty much illustrates my feelings about the film.
Fast forward to 2013 and now that good ol’ feeling is back again, but the scenery is much different this time around. Once again we’re staring at an American made Godzilla film headed down the pipeline, but gone is the fanfare, gone is the pandemonium, and gone are the talking chihuahuas lamenting the inadequate size of their box. That’s not to say Legendary won’t promote their next film, but not in the way, and certainly not on the scale that its predecessor was. The media has changed and while films like The Avengers prove that the summer blockbuster is far from dead, the days of the epic promotional campaigns certainly seem to be. Regardless of that fact there is hope that this could be the rebirth of the genre we were hoping for a decade and a half ago. Films like Cloverfield and Pacific Rim I believe prove there’s plenty of gas in the tank for the genre, and that giant monsters can be genuinely terrifying again.
Could I perhaps borrow a cup of sugar?
Now its time for the King to reclaim his title. The recent footage from the Godzilla Encounter certainly is reason for fans to celebrate. It’s dark, scary and, most importantly, it’s obviously Godzilla. That alone is cause to rejoice that maybe, just maybe, after all these years we can finally see a big budget Hollywood Godzilla film that stays true to the character. As the familiar juggernaut with a modern coat of paint lumbers past the windows in the video I find myself unable to look away, my eyes wide with the same child-like wonder for the monster that has captivated me all my life.
In those few precious seconds you can clearly see that Legendary knows and respects the character. Whether its the savior of the genre, or even a step up from the disappointing Godzilla: Final Wars, remains to be seen but the promise in this short clip should keep us fans salivating for more until we get an official trailer. One thing is for certain that same old excitement is back, and if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, we are in for a much happier ending.