Bryan Cranston tries and fails to keep his cool in the new trailer for "Godzilla." Credit: Kimberley French
The makers of the forthcoming "Godzilla" don't want you to think about "Godzilla," the notorious (and more importantly, non-moneymaking) 1998 reboot from "Independence Day" destructo-director Roland Emmerich. Nor, for that matter, do they want you to think about any other previous "Godzilla" — not even 1974's "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," in which the fire-breathing super-lizard battled both a robot doppelganger and a race of apelike aliens from "the Third Planet from the Black Hole." In keeping with many of today's superhero pictures, this is a serious tale, with serious actors emoting seriously as they look genuinely terrified at the serious decimation of actual cities by a serious radioactive beast — just in case that really happens one day. Sorry, New Yorkers, but after barely surviving whoever those baddies were in "The Avengers," you get it again, as seen in this new trailer:
Admittedly, it's a bluntly effective ad, one that luckily forgoes the usual Hans Zimmer "whooooooom" scores from "Batman" pictures and uses a distractingly close rip-off of the unsettling avant-garde Gyorgy Ligeti music Stanley Kubrick used in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "The Shining." There are the expected too-brief glimpses of 'zilla himself (although some say it's a she), plus even briefer shots of actual actors Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Kick-Ass"). In fact the real star — after the sickening levels of dread, that is — is Bryan Cranston, who eats up the narration track with wild warnings about a looming apocalypse, and is seen crying even harder than that one time something really tragic happened on "Breaking Bad."
It's worth nothing, though, that however intense this "Godzilla" looks, one should approach with trepidation. Its maker, Gareth Edwards, previously made "Monsters," and based on that title — and the film's inclusion of giant aliens — you'd think this would make him a shoe-in. One thing, though: "Monsters" was terrible. It was a great idea — that it was an indie version of an alien invasion picture, one that focused on real characters dealing with a realistic (or realistic-ish) depiction of what would happen if our planet was visited by dangerous, but not belligerent, extra-terrestrials. But the characters remained thin, and they worked through a rote, hesitant romance as they walked around aliens who did nothing but look pretty — not roo unlike any dumb blockbuster, in other words, only cheaper and less exciting. There's every chance this could be a dreary plodfest about an emo Godzilla who destroys cities but is crying on the inside — just like Skoora the Gentle Shark from this classic Kids in the Hall sketch.
Or it could be great. You really can't ever know, can you? The movie will be out May 14.