For writer Max Borenstein, 'Godzilla' is about nature's dominance over humanity
All of that being sort of the broad thematic strokes, when you started to drill down and work on these characters, what were you interested in conveying with the human drama?
Well, you know, one of the interesting things about a Godzilla movie as it relates to human characters is that it presents a very unique challenge as a monster movie. You know, in King Kong you have a monster who inherently by his very nature relates to human beings. The whole idea of King Kong — because he’s at a scale that is bigger than but not that much bigger than human beings — he scares human beings but ultimately bonds with some and has this anthropomorphic quality. Godzilla, on the other hand, is so big at such a scale that human beings become like ants to him. So there without changing the tone that we were going for, which is a more grounded, realistic tone, without changing our tone to something campier, it’s very difficult to imagine a human plot where Godzilla really relates in an anthropomorphic way to the human characters.
So you have to take that challenge and say, well, how do we create a human plot that’s compelling in its own right and that is — it doesn’t feel just sort of random That really ties organically into the plot of Godzilla and the monsters, but also does so in a way that feels that it’s not stretching our tone and asking that, you know, let’s say the humans have psychic communication abilities with Godzilla — which has been done in the past in different Godzilla movies. So, facing that challenge, it becomes a question of, if Godzilla represents this force of nature, then maybe it’s about how people relate to these forces of nature and these disasters. So it’s about survival and it’s about family and it’s about reminders of what’s important.
Given that you've already started to build out this mythology, do you have any interest in drawing in some of the other creatures from the Toho universe?
I’m certainly a fan of all those as I now Gareth [Edwards] is and Thomas Tull. If we’re lucky enough to be able to do a sequel, then I guess we’ll cross the bridge at that point and see what would be appropriate and what might fit into the tone that we’ve sort of tried to establish. And I think there would be a way to do that with new monsters, with existing monsters, if that opportunity presented itself.
It's funny — and this is a bit of a SPOILER for anyone like me who didn't watch a bunch of trailers beforehand — but I was not expecting all the extraneous stuff with the MOTUs. I literally thought it was just going to be a Godzilla movie, so I was sort of blown away at the other stuff and how well it worked.
Oh, cool! That’s so great. See that’s — I love that. I mean it’s like, it’s this fine line these days, isn’t it? The marketing has to release a certain amount and fans are so ever-present, and thanks to the internet, able to pay attention and scrutinize things. And we all do it, so that’s great that you were able to go in pretty fresh, because that was in conception, you know? We wanted people to arrive at that scene, the base camp, and think is that gonna be Godzilla. So that’s great. I’m thrilled to hear that.