Just show us the monster already! I believe I’ve seen this in a number of comment threads below articles about Warner Bros.’ upcoming Godzilla reboot. People want to see the big guy, standing out in the open, in the light of day. But up to this point the best look we’ve received is the one above from the latest extended look trailer (seen below). Nerds don’t want to be teased only to find themselves watching a movie where all the best stuff happens at night in the rain (ahem, Pacific Rim).
Yet while the marketing department is playing mostly coy with the beast, there’s a heavily understated reason why you don’t need to see a lot of Godzilla and whatever other monsters exist in this movie. And it’s all tied to the film’s ambitious director Gareth Edwards.
Edwards doesn’t yet have the kind of name recognition that would lead to his name being in big letters on a poster. And you won’t see Warner Bros. leading any trailers with “From the Director of Monsters.” But there’s something about him that has real cinephiles sitting back in the corner, oddly silent about not getting to see the damn monster. The secret that gives them that knowing smirk is that they’re aware Edwards’ capabilities. If there’s one thing he accomplished with his low-budget debut Monsters, it was a sense that whatever threat was out there for the characters, it was large and terrifying.
Even if we didn’t see the threat, we felt its presence in the performances of Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able. And later in the movie, the big reveal of the titular monsters was pretty spectacular. Beautiful even. It was in those final moments where audiences realized that Edwards wasn’t just a Swiss Army knife filmmaker (serving as writer, director, cinematographer, production designer and visual effects supervisor). He was a filmmaker who had a strong sense of suspense and perceived scale. It’s not always about showing the monster.
Which is why I’m not too worried about missing out on a good look at Godzilla in a trailer. So far the marketing, from the same studio that has carefully led us around the Internet garden path chasing viral clues about Batman movies, has shown us everything we need know. This includes:
- Tons of destruction, the result of something massive moving into town
- A carefully assembled cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche and Ken Watanabe — actors who can absolutely sell the suspense while the big guy is off-screen
- Just enough of the monster to let us know that they haven’t Roland Emmerich’d the design — Godzilla has his classic look back
These are the only things that matter right now. In fact, this is more than enough to hold us over to the film’s release on May 16. If you need to be more confident in this movie, look to the past. Monsters is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Netflix. It’s a challenge I put to a few friends who recently read me the riot act over (a) the need for a new Godzilla movie and (b) the fact that the trailers aren’t showing them the goodies. Their response a few days later after watching Monsters: “Oh, I get it now.”
Take one last look at everything you need in this extended trailer, then chill until you can buy your ticket. You’ll want to see this one on the big screen: