Godzilla: Our Report on an Early Footage Presentation

Reported by Guillermo Troncoso.

Thanks to Roadshow Films, we were invited to a Special Footage Presentation – an exclusive first look at Godzilla.

Godzilla-2014

The twenty minutes or so that we were shown of Godzilla didn’t reveal as much as I would have wished. Perhaps my wishes were a little far-fetched, but I wanted get a better look at the titular creature. Still, we were given a better look at many sequences of the film, and so far, it’s looking pretty good.

On-screen, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) thanked the necessary cast and crew of the film and pointed out that the special effects were still being worked on. Those that complained that the CGI in the film’s second-last trailer looked somewhat amateur need to relax – they’re still working on some of these giant sequences.

godzilla-poster-2We’re going to put a minor spoiler alert here. We don’t give away anything drastic, but sensitive types may want to look away from here on out. While much of what we were shown seemed to be slightly longer moments from those shown in the trailer, we did get some impressive sequences to tell you about.

We meet up with scientist-type Joe Brody, played by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), as he gets into his car. I can’t be a hundred-percent, but it looks like the setting is Japan. His wife Sandra, played by Juliette Binoche, follows him. He is on the phone to what seems to be some sort of government agency. He complains about the abnormal tremors that have been occurring. He hangs up. Friendly banter follows.

We meet up with Joe in what seems to be a giant underground science research laboratory. His wife also works at this facility, albeit a completely different area. Suddenly, an earthquake occurs, causing a chemical gas leak in Sandra’s sector. Alarms ring out. Staff panic. Joe runs towards his wife’s area as everyone runs in the opposite direction. He reaches the entrance to a small corridor and places his hand in front a big red button. He nervously looks down the corridor, waiting for his wife to appear. His wife talks to him via walkie-talkie. She says she won’t make it. He looks down the corridor in shock as the gas turns the corner and comes rushing towards him. He waits until the last second before he hits the red button. The doors to the corridor shut. The screen goes black. We come back to the scene. Joe and his wife stand on opposite sides of this glass door, as outer metal doors slowly close between them. It’s a sad scene, as she tells him to look after their son. Tears ensue.

Text on-screen: 15 Years Later.

In a setting that looks strikingly similar to some of the landscapes in the great PS3 game The Last of Us, we open up on an abandoned post-apocalyptic city. Joe walks with his son Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass). They are both in Hazmat suits, until, to the worries of Ford, Joe takes off his mask. The air is safe to breath here. It seems that they have arrived at their old house. Many electrical items suddenly turn on. Joe asks Ford if he touched anything. He didn’t.Godzilla-2014-Teaser-Trailer-Poster

What follows are slightly elongated snippets that we’ve all seen in the trailers. That is, until we get to two other big sequences.

A train carrying U.S. soldiers rolls along at night. Ahead, they notice that a long bridge has had a giant chunk taken straight out of the middle. A group of soldiers step out to inspect. In this team, is none other than Taylor-Johnson’s Ford. There’s nothing but mist and fog covering what lies ahead on the bridge. A few soldiers, including Ford, make their way across, guns at the ready. Through the smoke they see lights. These lights seem to be getting bigger. Suddenly, it’s very clear what this is. A burning train comes rushing towards them. They all try to run back off the bridge and Ford is forced to jump off the side at the last second. An underwater shot now, as we see some burning wreckage come crashing down after him.

The final big sequence we received was of a giant tsunami, caused by the arrival of one of the film’s monsters, most likely Godzilla. A little girl stands at the beach as the water recedes. A dog barks towards the coming disaster. Water comes rushing through city streets. It’s a scene reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow, as people and cars are thrown about with the force of the water. There’s certainly going to be a high body count here. And, in a scene straight from Independence Day, we even quickly follow an aforementioned dog as he tries to outrun the waves. I’m not too sure if this canine survives though. It’s an impressive sequence; terrifying in its execution, even with unfinished special effects detracting somewhat from the early footage.

Godzilla-2014-Movie-PosterRegarding the titular creature, we were shown a tiny bit more to whet our appetites. We were given a bit more from a key trailer moment: a scene in which soldiers shoot up flares only to illuminate a fraction of Godzilla’s thigh. They’re really aiming for you to feel the scale with this film, as the camera seemingly tilts forever to see this monster’s head. Though mostly silhouetted, it’s the best overall moving image we’ve seen. Short T-Rex type arms and giant thick legs, with an overall stocky structure, this imagining is, or at least appears to be, damn terrifying.

Apart from these great sequences, the early look consisted of quick snippets of destruction and panic stricken faces. The tone delivered with the piece was one of deadly seriousness. The film may have humorous moments to break up the doom, but we didn’t really see any of that. All in all, this is looking like a solid film. I’m wondering how they’ll juggle the ultra-dramatic tone and just how much of the film will show these creatures. Will it be mostly a human-focused story, à la Gareth Edwards’ Monsters? I’m very intrigued, and counting the days till Godzilla stomps onto our screens.

Here’s the film’s latest international trailer:

Starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Sally Hawkins.

ETA: AUS – 15 May, 2014. USA – 16 May, 2014.