As Geek and Sundry’s resident Godzilla freak, I have a lot of stake in every new movie release. There are so many ways to get Godzilla wrong, especially if you treat him as any old interchangeable giant monster. There’s a rich cultural and mythological aspect to Godzilla that tends to get ignored.
So take it from somebody who cares too much: the Godzilla Resurgence trailer is exciting. I have to be a little cautious because it’s so cryptic with its story and characters, but visually, everything looks right. You can watch the trailer at the top of the page, and then, when you’ve seen it once through, watch it again with my roughly chronological blow-by-blow:
0:01) The trailer opens with the classic Tohoscope logo that preceded most of the beloved Godzilla releases in the 1960s and 1970s, in all its colorful and glittery vintage glory. It’s pure nostalgia geek fodder, but hey, it works! And it lets us know that directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi are happy to embrace Godzilla’s past.
0:05) And there he is, the Big Guy! Very quickly, we get to see the well-crafted blending of puppetry, rubber suits, and CG that is very often superior to just using one over the others. It really looks quite good, especially the shots digitally compositing the new suit with real backgrounds and environments.
0:20) I know that the object crossing the frame is probably Godzilla’s very long tail, but I got kind of excited at the thought of there being another monster for him to fight. Maybe next time? Please?
0:24) Here, we get very quick intros to the main characters. Again, I wish there was some dialogue or setup so I could get a sense of them, but a little research let me know something about them. Rando Yaguchi, played by Hiroki Hasegawa, is the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, which means that he has a major responsibility in coordinating the executive efforts of Japan, especially during disasters. I think Godzilla qualifies as the biggest disaster there is.
We get a quick glimpse of Satomi Ishihara’s character, Kayoko Ann Patterson, who is apparently a Special Envoy of the US President! Many of her lines were in English, and her name suggests she’s playing a Japanese American, which sets up an interesting potential conflict. How will these traditionally xenophobic and insular Japanese men react to interference from a more liberalized American woman? Finally, there’s Hideaki Akasaka, played by Yutaka Takenouchi, who’s the aide to the Prime Minister. All I can say is this guy looks scared – a lot. There’s a bunch of other characters we see too, some of which I have to assume are cameos I don’t recognize. We’ll have to wait for more info to really know what they’re all about.
0:41) Here’s something I was happy to see: a focus on the human impact of a giant monster rampage, and how eerily it resonates with Japan’s history of frequent natural disasters. It’s a promising indicator that we might actually be made to care about the actions of the human characters. That’s something that the great Godzilla movies were always able to do.
0:54) This is a really deep-in Godzilla nerd thing, but this “mobilizing the military montage” is also very nostalgic. They always did this in the old movies and the results were always hilarious ineffective in repelling the giant monsters. It’s fun to see it again, albeit in a much different context. They remain as ineffective as always, though.
1:13) Finally, we end with a slow tilt up Godzilla’s massive, scorched body. This is the first chance I’ve had to see the new Godzilla design in motion, I have to say I like it a lot. Godzilla has always been a mutant, a scarred freak of nature, but taking that to a more extreme and gory place is a fun original take. He really looks like he’s in terrible pain, running off anger and nuclear combustion more than bodily strength. Even those tiny, skeletal hands seemed to be clenched in pain and fury.
While it’s impossible to know until we see the movie itself, it looks like there’s a lot to love about Godzilla Resurgence. There’s a combination of taking the character in a new and startling direction, while invoking aspects of the old movies that made him so beloved in the first place. It absolutely has a chance to blow Japan’s collective socks off with its nuclear death breath. I can only hope we hear news about an English-language release soon!
Do you have any thoughts on the new trailer? Let us know in the comments!