Legendary Pictures has secured the rights to develop and produce a new feature film starring Toho Pictures’s biggest star Godzilla. Warner Brothers is set to co-finance, co-produce and distribute the film, which all parties hope will be in theaters for 2012. Outside of a few producers attached to the film to represent the various studios involved no creative personnel have been announced as attached to the project.
Previously, Godzilla stormed US shores in Sony’s 1998 eponymously-named film from disaster maestros Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. While it isn’t a bad monster movie per se, it wasn’t a good Godzilla film. The design of the monster deviated a bit too far from tradition for many of the monster’s fans. On a more thematic note, there was no sense that Devlin and Emmerich really understood the allegorical nature of Godzilla or tried to bring that to the big screen, opting instead for a rather empty roller-coaster ride. And finally, there was no radioactive fire breath. Seriously, why even do a Godzilla film if you’re going to leave that out?
The Japanese didn’t think too much of the Americanization of Godzilla either. In 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack there was a sly slam against the movie. In response to the news about a possible attack by Godzilla on the United States, a soldier comments, “The Americans said it was Godzilla, but all the Japanese scientists denied it.” Still, feelings about that version of the monster must have mellowed a bit across the Pacific by 2004 enough to allow a version of the monster to appear in Godzilla: Final Wars, even if he does get beaten down by the true Godzilla fairly quickly..
Before the Devlin and Emmerich version reached the screens, a few other attempts at Americanizing Godzilla had been made. Cashing in on the 3d revival of the early `80s, a version came close to going into production (See storyboard panel at right) before the project fell apart. Before Devlin and Emmerich came on at Sony, Speed director Jan de Bont was developing a version with future Pirates Of The Caribbean scripters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.