NR: The King of the Monsters

James here with Wednesday’s News Reflections.

There are a couple of film series that I watch purely for nonsensical gratuitous action-packed thrills.  One is the acclaimed ‘James Bond’ series, and the other is Toho Ltd.’s legendary slice of cheese, ‘Godzilla’.

After 50 years in which Toho produced 28 films, the series went into hibernation, awaiting a third reboot. Now, working with Legendary Pictures (responsible for reboots such as ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’), Toho shall wake the king of all kaiju for a Hollywood film in 2012. The last time Toho left the series in American hands, it turned out as a drive-thru action picture, not a feast of monster mayhem. The folks at Legendary seem to understand the franchise’s essence and appeal, however, so I’m quite positive about the project.

Now, as Collider (among others) reports, Legendary has hired the reboot’s director: Gareth Edwards, a new kid on the block.  This guy just brought us an independent monster movie, appropriately titled ‘Monsters’, that I, unfortunately, missed in the preferable theater experience.  The critical reaction was mostly positive, citing it as intelligent, emotional, and effective, and Edwards’ reputation got a level up.  I wish I could say something of value about his skill set, ideas, etc., but so it goes.  There is reasonable doubt of whether Edwards is too green to handle a project the size of ‘Godzilla’.  It’s a lot on his shoulders, and I would understand if he played it safe, or went with the studio’s agenda without much resistance.  In question also is his ability to handle a larger-than-life action picture, having jumped from conservative filmmaking to a film devoted to colorful excess.  I can’t answer either question, of course, but it has me somewhat worried.

‘Godzilla’ is a B-movie icon because of the violence inherent in the premise. Still, the creature was born from legitimate fears.  It’s not only possible, it’s certainly preferable to tell the story about the apocalyptic paranoia at its heart.  This, hopefully, is why Legendary hired Gareth Edwards.  I hope that he can prove the monster’s transcendence.  He’ll also have to deliver on the fiery intensity, awesome visuals, and monster mashes the franchise is known for.  For what my wishes are worth, I wish the project luck.  Go for it, folks.  Earn my ten dollars.


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