Sunday Sesh: This new Godzilla trailer is everything!
Yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con, Legendary Pictures unveiled the first full trailer for the next film in its MonsterVerse series, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And folks, let me tell you, the sequel to Gareth Edwards’s 2014 Godzilla looks incredible. In this Sunday Sesh, we’re breaking down the gorgeous new trailer and talking brass kaiju tacks.
If you’ve paid attention to the many teasers Legendary has been dropping since Comic-Con 2014, you may be aware that the studio is introducing some old favorites to their new spin on the venerable giant monster franchise. What you may not know is that new director Michael Dougherty (Krampus) is an avowed kaiju fan, and his bid to do justice to the legendary monsters in the new film is more than just lip-service or an attempt to circumvent the first film’s problems. No, long-time fans of the Godzilla series should be immediately familiar with the direction Dougherty is taking in KOTM.
RODAN! MOTHRA! KING GHIDORAH! END OF THE WORLD PROPHECY! THIS IS A MODERN TAKE ON ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED FILMS IN ALL OF KAIJU CANON, GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER!
SEE WHAT I MEAN? RODAN AND GODZILLA CAUSING WANTON DESTRUCTION! GHIDORAH MENACING MAN’S VERY EXISTING! MOTHRA LOOMING IN HER BENIGN GODHOOD!
I just need a moment.
So who are these monsters, and why am I practically doing the Planet X dance from Godzilla vs. Monster Zero? Indulge me for a moment, if you will.
The big ol’ critter that really has me jazzed in this trailer is Rodan, the giant Pteranodon. This flying fury debuted in Toho’s 1956 film Rodan, the studio’s first monster movie in color and a real hidden gem of the genre. Half horror movie, half kaiju film, the picture opens with a series of unexplained deaths in a mountain community before it’s discovered that a swarm of giant insects, awakened by corporate mining activity, have been attacking the villagers. Fortunately (but perhaps more unfortunately), the villagers soon discover that their mining awakened something much larger within the heart of the mountain that’s been feeding on the meganula. Not one but two Rodans emerge from the mountain to unleash super-sonic devastation on Japan. The creatures are lightning fast, able to crumble buildings with the hurricane force of their flight, and they’re only stopped by the Japanese defense force taking advantage of their roosting point and unleashing enough explosives to trigger a volcanic eruption around them.
Intriguingly, Dougherty seems to have flipped this concept on its head, as the Rodan featured in KOTM is at home in the heart of a volcano, its wings dripping liquid fire on fighter craft in the trailer. It’s a clever throwback to the monster’s origins and seems to evoke Rodan’s role as Fire Rodan in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II where the monster’s powers were elementally aligned with heat. I love the brief looks we got at Rodan in the trailer and can’t wait to see more.
Next we have Mothra, protector of Earth and guardian of Infant Island. Mothra, a giant lepidopteran deity, debuted in 1961’s Mothra where she avenged man’s rapacious greed and wanton destruction of the natural order while rescuing her supplicants, the minuscule Shobijin that share something of a psychic bond with the colossal creature. Mothra is perhaps best known for being one of the few monsters to actually defeat Godzilla in film, as seen in Mothra vs. Godzilla. In that film, Godzilla succumbs to the combined efforts of twin Mothra larvae and is pushed into the sea.
Interestingly, it appears that we’ll see both stages of the monster’s development cycle in KOTM, as Millie Bobby Brown (Strange Things) can be seen communicating with a gigantic caterpillar before a later shot gives us a look at the majestic imago form. I’m super intrigued to see if Brown fills a Shobijin-type role in the film; that would be another unique spin on a classic Toho element to have a child function as the monster’s avatar.
Last we brief glimpses of King Ghidorah, destroyer of worlds. King Ghidorah debuted in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in 1964 and has remained the most consistent nemesis of both Godzilla and Mothra throughout all four Toho Kaiju cycles. In fact, the teaser material for KOTM conjure images of Ghidorah’s original role in its debut as a conqueror of planets. It is revealed in Ghidorah’s inscrutable plot that the monster razed the ancient alien civilization on Venus, and it’s only due to Mothra’s intervention and recruitment of both Godzilla and Rodan (there’s a hilarious scene in the original translation where Godzilla seems to swear at Mothra about hating humans) that the reign of the terrible king is denied.
I’m curious to see if King Ghidorah will require an alliance between the other three titans in KOTM as it did in the film to which this all clearly alludes, or if this film will act more as a gauntlet preparing Godzilla for his final showdown with King Kong in 2020. I can say, with bells on my toes, however, that King Ghidorah’s signature gravity
blasts beams are evident in the trailer, and that’s just too damn good.
Dougherty’s use of the word “king” in this film also feels loaded. The American version of the original Godzilla film, Godzilla, King of the Monsters is the clear source for the title, and Dougherty is certainly hoping to smash that mf nostalgia button on that end. The word also seems to hint at the savage and climactic battle between Godzilla and King Ghidorah, a fight we’ve been promised will leave us breathless and will satisfy those disappointed by Godzilla’s minimal screen time in Edwards’s film. Plus, there’s the looming threat of King Kong in the wings to ultimately challenge Godzilla’s claim to the throne.
2019 can’t come quick enough. Hail to the King.