Sunday, June 17, 2007

Godzilla 3D To The Max and Then Some

More internet buzz- the proposed 3D Imax Godzilla film that’s been sitting in development limbo for a few years has apparently been given the go ahead by Toho and is slated to start production early next year.

The effects will be handled by an F/X studio named Kerner Optical Research and Development. A blurb from their site:

Godzilla is returning to the big screen, for the first time in 3-D! This contemporary version of the largest classic cinema creature of all time will take full advantage of the growing popularity of digital 3-D theaters to bring Godzilla to its worldwide audience in a way that has never been experienced before.

Kerner Productions recently announced that Tokyo based Digital Motion, have provided initial development funding for the project. Kerner Productions and Kerner Optical LLC staff will also be providing miniature, creature creation, physical effects, and visual effects support.

Tokyo based Producer/Director Yoshimitsu Banno and Producer Kenji Okuhira, have teamed up with Hollywood 3-D veterans Producer Brian Rogers, Director Keith Melton, and Director of Photography Peter Anderson, ASC to form the core production team.

“Godzilla 3-D” will be designed to take full advantage of the composition, staging, and dynamic editing of original three dimensional photography. The film will also incorporate updated creature technology along with cutting edge motion capture and 3-D CGI animation to bring a more fluid and realistic energy to Godzilla. This will create more subtle facial moves and will allow the filmmakers to expand and enhance Godzilla’s character.

The anticipated start date for this original production is slated for February 2008, and will lens in South America, Mexico, Tokyo, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Casting for this English language film will take place in Los Angeles.

To be honest, I consider this announcement a mixed blessing at best. Allow me to explain.

Yoshimitsu Banno, who is set to helm this new project, is no stranger to giant monsters. As the director of Godzilla verses Hedorah (a.k.a Godzilla verses the Smog Monster), Banno is not only responsible for one of the more dated and clunky entries in Godzilla’s filmic history, but is notorious for his introduction of one of the most bizarre and downright embarrassing sequences in the entirety of the series- Godzilla using his atomic breath to propel himself through the air like a rocket.

Tomoyuki Tanaka, who had been the producer of the first twenty-two Godzilla films was absent during the production of Godzilla verses Hedorah due to an illness that kept him hospitalized. When he finally saw the finished movie, Tanaka accused Banno of single-handedly ruining the Godzilla series and told him that he would never direct for Toho again. Unfortunately with Tanaka passing away in 1997, a loophole has seemingly been created for Banno to step back into the director's chair.

Banno had always envisioned a follow-up to Smog Monster involving Godzilla facing off against a second Hedorah monster which had materialized in Africa. From what information I’ve gathered about this new movie, it sounds suspiciously close to said sequel idea, with the substitution of a similar creature called Deathla in Hedorah’s place and having the monster action begin in a Brazilian rain forest as opposed to an African one. Godzilla not only revives his role as a defender of the environment (an odd thing, considering his atomic origins) but also sports a kind of Gamera/”friend to all children” vibe as well; a supposed scene involves a group of children reviving Godzilla (after being incapacitated by Deathla) by offering up prayers to him. Even worse, Banno has proudly claimed that Godzilla in this new film will once again take to the air, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it’s about the last thing that any self-respecting fan would EVER want to see happen again.

Needless to say, while I’m always up for a new Godzilla movie, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about this news. It’s almost as if Banno is out to pamper his ego and prove everyone wrong by creating a Godzilla film that exemplifies everything he had been criticized for on his original outing with the character. As far as I’m concerned, Toho couldn’t possibly find a more undesirable candidate to put in charge of this film. It’s sort of the equivalent of announcing a big-budget Star Wars television series and then handing the production reins over to the people responsible for the Star Wars Holiday Special.

It’s also strange that this newest incarnation of Godzilla is going to be brought to life using CGI motion capture techniques, which would seem to insinuate that Godzilla himself will still be based around his classic portrayal as upright, tail-dragging creature. While I’m not opposed to “suitmation” techniques or Godzilla’s traditional design, I would think that realizing the character by way of CGI would finally allow for the creators to exploit the fact that they could give the monster a more dinosaur-like appearance and structure which would be otherwise troublesome to pull off with an actor in a suit (rubber or motion capture). Consider the Ricardo Delgado proposed redesign of the character for the original, unmade version of the 90’s American remake:

Now picture THAT cool design, but flying around backwards through breath-weapon expelled jet propulsion!

Yeah, I can’t either.

1 comment:

sportsgirl10116 said...

J'aime ce film, parce-qu'il est different. Vive la difference!