Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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Steven Soderbergh is in early talks to direct the film adaptation of ‘60s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Warner Bros. has been working on the project since the ‘90s, says the Risky Business blog, which adds that Scott Z. Burns, who wrote Soderbergh's The Informant and his upcoming medical thriller Contagion, is negotiating to come aboard as writer.
Most recently, U.N.C.L.E. looked like it would come together with a script by Max Borenstein and with David Dobkin directing.
According to BIZ, the Borenstein script was considered strong by Warners, but Dobkin is now moving to the role of producer, along with John Davis, and Burns will write a new script.
James Bond author Ian Fleming was a creator of the original NBC show, which focused on the adventures of American and Russian members of a secret agency.
Per BIZ, Soderbergh will aim to shoot U.N.C.L.E. at the end of next year.
Source: Hollywood Wiretap
Efron has expressed his determination to establish himself as a serious actor, after finding fame as Disney star Troy Bolton in the High School Musical movies.
And he's set to give cinemagoers a double thrill when he goes into action, playing a criminal who executes a series of elaborate heists while leading another life as an upstanding citizen.
The 22 year old will produce the drama with his Ninjas Runnin' Wild production company, reports Variety.
The story, based on a Wired magazine article by Joshuah Bearman, will be adapted for the big screen by Max Borenstein.
The show, starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as secret agents, enjoyed a successful run between 1964 and 1968.
The series was so popular it spawned a series of spin-off movies, which saw several episodes extended and shown in movie theatres as full-length features.
Vaughn and McCallum returned to the roles in 1983 for a TV movie, titled The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
And now executives at film studio Warner Bros have announced they are moving forward with plans for a new movie, based on the hit 1960s show, with the appointment of Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin and scriptwriter Max Borenstein, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
It is believed the picture will feature a new cast, and will follow in the footsteps of other big screen remakes such as Miami Vice and The A-Team.