As details continue to trickle out regarding next year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the producer and writer of Roland Emmerich’s oft-reviled 1998 Godzilla shares his perspective on why this earlier attempt at bringing the legendary beast to Hollywood missed the mark.
Dean Devlin, who’s collaborated with Emmerich on several projects including Independence Day and Stargate, believes that one issue with their version of the city-leveling lizard is that they regarded their subject as, well, just a lizard.
“Roland and I made an intellectual idea that was interesting but not compelling filmmaking. We said in real life, a lizard is neither evil nor good, it’s just a lizard. So what if one got to that size and in its effort to survive, it threatened us, but it wasn’t mad at us?
It was just simply doing what it did and it causes this problem for us. Well, that’s interesting, but that’s not Godzilla. If you go to the very first movie, Gojira, it was an evil monster. Movies after that, it was a hero. We didn’t choose either.”
While it could certainly be argued that the critically panned Razzie-winner had bigger problems than this (plus any blockbuster filmmaking advice from the director of Geostorm should maybe be taken with a pinch of salt), Devlin raises an interesting point. Given how many films in this series have the word ‘vs.’ in the title, it’s clear that much of the franchise’s appeal stems from its literally outsized conflicts as gargantuan creatures duke it out over the fate of the world. It’s hard for things to get too emotionally heated when the only monster in the fray is a mere docile reptile who just happened to suffer the inconvenience of getting really, really big.
To make a monster movie with a neutral animal as the monster may not have been a bad idea in itself, but it certainly wasn’t true to the spirit of the iconic property. Perhaps it’s appropriate then that Emmerich’s take on the 64-year-old beast was later rebranded in future Godzilla releases as its own creature named ‘Zilla,’ a separate character from the star of the franchise.
With King of the Monsters set to pitch its titular behemoth against a whole host of classic creatures from the series, it thankfully looks like the upcoming film will be offering a more traditional and fan-pleasing take on the scaly kaiju than the 1998 Godzilla did when it hits cinemas on May 31st, 2019.
Source: Cinema Blend