Hello, beautiful. Haven’t I seen you stomping a city before?
Whoa. Sorry. I forgot myself there for a moment because I was so hypnotized by the sight of Toho’s new Godzilla: Resurgence. I love that Toho retained the rights to make their own Godzilla films regardless of whatever Legendary and Warner Bros. are doing in the United States. Now that there’s an official trailer for this summer’s Godzilla: Resurgence, what’s become doubly clear is that they’re going to keep making Godzilla movies their way, no matter what. Man In Suit forever, evidently.
When I attended the premiere of Godzilla Final Wars back in 2004, I was assured by all the Toho execs I met that they were sincerely ending the series with that movie, and they’ve kept true to their word ever since. This film is meant to be a rebirth for the series, a hard reboot that abandons all other continuity, with Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi co-directing the film. Hideaki, who also wrote the movie, is the co-creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion, one of the most enduring anime properties of all time, and this is a big summer movie for Japan.
It’s interesting to see that they’ve made Godzilla scary again this time. One of the reasons it’s hard to dismiss Godzilla as mere monster mayhem is because you can chart shifts in social attitudes by charting how Godzilla is portrayed at any given moment. In the original film, Godzilla was a terrifying force unleashed on Japan, a direct shadow of the bomb that had just been dropped on them by the U.S. It’s hard to watch that original film and not feel some true horror and sorrow. It’s a remarkable use of pop mainstream filmmaking as a way of dealing with a national trauma. Over time, Godzilla has also played protector, eventually standing as Earth’s safeguard against other far more malicious monsters.
There’s still no real story information here, but come on… it’s Godzilla. He’s very strange looking in this incarnation, with a sort of molten-lava appearance to his skin. When they started work on this film, Toho put together what they called the “Godzilla Conference,” a number of creatives working together to plan an overall approach to future Godzilla movies. They’ve got a plan. There are rumors that Anno might be planning to collaborate with Toho, somehow combining Evangelion with the Toho kaiju-verse, but nothing confirmed.
What that overall plan is remains a mystery so far, but it’s good to see that they’re definitely starting with Godzilla as something to fear, a terrifying monster in the tradition of the original film.
Godzilla: Resurgence opens in Japan on July 29, 2016.