Gareth Edwards made quite a splash with his micro-budget giant monster movie, “Monsters,” last year, and while it didn’t make my end-of-the-year list, I have real admiration for what he accomplished, especially working on the budget he did. He’s a smart filmmaker with a really interesting visual imagination, and it seems like one of the most obvious couplings of filmmaker with material in recent memory to hear that Edwards has been hired by Warner and Legendary to direct their upcoming “Godzilla.”
It’s an exciting choice in a lot of ways. If you see “Monsters,” you’ll see how clearly his focus is on character instead of spectacle, even in the moments where there are giant monsters onscreen. His idea of a money shot is defined by the emotion it evokes, not on how “cool” it is, and that’s one of the reasons “Monsters” may have confounded people expecting more conventional genre fare.
“Godzilla” is a big priority over at Legendary, and for good reason. Thomas Tull is a fan of the property and knows that it’s already been done really wrong in America before. It’s interesting… talking to him after “Clash Of The Titans” came out, he was more blunt about that movie’s problems and failings than almost any critic I spoke with. Tull is certainly not blind to the idea that his company can get it wrong, even when they’re trying their hardest to get it right. That’s one of the things that is most intense about filmmaking… sometimes, it’s just a matter of alchemy, and all the willpower in the world can’t turn a bad film good.
The way you deal with that is you treat development as an opportunity to make all those mistakes en route to the right way to do something. They’ve been working on the “Godzilla” script for a while now (and, no, they’re still not folding Travis Beacham’s “Pacific Rim” into this project), and the fact that they’ve moved on to hiring a director means they’ve finally got the material in the right ballpark.
I have no doubt Edwards will now work with the writer on a draft or two, but this means the ball is rolling. The train is leaving the station. “Godzilla” will walk the earth once more. And if it turns out all these dead birds and dead fish are just viral marketing for this film, I will be very, very impressed.
“Godzilla” is tentatively aiming for a 2012 release.