Hollywood is serving up blockbuster spectacle in high doses this year, but no film looks as towering and monolithic as Godzilla. The film looks to be the biggest thing hitting cinemas this year, and we’re not talking about the measurements of it’s Kaiju namesake. Godzilla seems like pure event filmmaking, simply massive in both scope and spectacle. But beyond the enormity of it all, director Gareth Edwards seems keen on not just creating a film about a giant monsters wreaking havoc, but about all the people being trampled out of existence.
If the latest extended look at the film is any indication, Godzilla looks to be a film about humanity. It’s a film about pure, ragged, hard fought survival. A film about a species fighting tooth and nail against it’s own extinction. The trailer has an overbearing sense of dread that gives the film a more weighty feel than the other tentpole films populating the crowded summer calendar, and the marketing thus far has been very cautious to keep the focus on the people as well as the monsters. In fact, the trailer winds on for a dramatic minute and a half before even showing a glimpse of Godzilla. Instead were treated to a campaign that’s focused mainly on the human drama.
The trailer opens with an accident at a nuclear plant. We see Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) investigating a problem at the plant before a breach occurs and sends a team of scientists running for their lives. Sandra’s husband, Joe (Bryan Cranston) is forced to close a containment door that stops the toxic threat and his wife from reaching the outside world. We see husband and wife staring though a glass window one last time before they’re separated for good. Next we see Brody explaining to his son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) that he did everything he could to save her.
Beyond the giant Kaiju rampaging through a city, This trailer is about a husband losing his wife, a father begging forgiveness from his son, and people struggling to understand a terror that’s looming in the ocean deep. Any film can dazzle with whiz bang special effects, CGI spectacle is cheap commodity these days. It’s wildly abundant. It’s story and emotional resonance that seems in short supply, and Godzilla looks to have those in spades. These are real feelings being delivered by actors giving the material its due respect, and really letting us understand the terror that they are facing.
Godzilla isn’t a movie that will cause you to doze off into your nachos until the next booming set piece flickers on screen. There’s something special happening here. The trailer dives into spectacle in the last few seconds, but the actual story and people seem more than just fodder to progress the plot between the action. It looks like we might actually care about the people in this film, and they actually seem just as interesting as the monsters themselves. Let’s hope the film delivers on all this promise. It has already delivered on the monster designs, because the updated Godzilla looks all kinds of awesome.