It's all about the tease.
I have no doubt that when the new "Godzilla," directed by Gareth Edwards, arrives in theaters in May of 2014 that Godzilla will be seen onscreen extensively in some big giant crazy action sequences. None at all. When I had a long conversation one afternoon with Thomas Tull of Legendary Pictures way back at the start of this process, part of the attraction for him was getting Godzilla back onscreen and actually treating him like a character.
But for now, this first official trailer for the film is pure tease, and smartly handled. In particular, I love the way it starts. What I want most from this film is some sense of the awe we would feel if giant monsters suddenly woke up and started roaming the Earth, and it feels like they may have nailed that. Edwards wasn't the immediate choice to helm this film if you're just going by box-office accomplishments, but anyone who saw "Monsters" knows that he's very good at finding quiet moments even amidst chaos and mayhem.
Wisely, this first trailer focuses on the human beings who are going to be the focus of the film, and the hardest part of making a Godzilla movie is figuring out what the balance is supposed to be between humans and monster action. As much as I loved the Godzilla films when I was a kid, when I see them these days while my kids watch and re-watch them, I am struck by how little time is actually spent with the giant monsters. Even so, that shot from above as they're plummeting towards him makes me feel awe towards the character for the first time as an adult. Finally, he looks the way he looked in my imagination as a kid, majestic and terrifying, a primal force of nature unleashed.
Ultimately, if they get the human story right and they make it genuinely compelling while also offering us a very real glimpse of what it would look like to live in a world like this, then the sky's the limit for how big the film can be. We have to be able to relate to it, and he's certainly got a cast that is capable of that. Here's hoping the script came together during the shoot and that Edwards is able to bring the tone of that sensational earlier sizzle reel for the film to the actual feature.
"Godzilla" will level the competition on May 16, 2014.