Note: This article contains potential spoilers for Godzilla, so read with caution.
Holy fuck. I do not write articles from my phone. I hate it. But here I am, sitting on a curb on 6th street in Austin, typing this out, because what I’ve just seen is too cool not to share. Here at SXSW we were lucky enough to watch the original Godzilla from 1954 with director Gareth Edwards on hand to discuss its influence on his upcoming 2014 film. Of course, we were all on the edge of our seats hoping for some new footage and our British filmmaker friend did not disappoint. Revealing the footage, Edwards told the crowd the score had been fast-tracked for the scene in the last 48 hours and that it was indeed a work in progress. Several shots in the clip were still in a pre-viz state.
The scene opens with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and a Japanese child riding in an airport tram. Suddenly, power is lost as Taylor-Johnson reassures the boy the power will be back on momentarily. The scene shifts to a luau on a Hawaii beach where a massive fire burns in the mountains in the distance. As partygoers are distracted a lone girl notices that the ocean has begun to pull away from the beach. When her father comes to collect her, he realizes the warning signs of a tsunami and yells for the crowd to run, scooping up his daughter along the way.
The clip then cuts to Ken Watanabe on a battleship. Massive plates move through the water toward land. Godzilla is coming. The monster dives further under the ship and moves toward the surface, overturning battleships as he breaches.
On the beach, a lone dog is left barking at the coming wave. He finally turns to run, snapping the leash tethering him to a palm tree. The dog quickly catches up to the crowd of humans that left him behind. The father/daughter pair find refuge in a restaurant as the wave crashes through what I believe is Honolulu. Onlookers have taken to the roof and look down as water and debris wash over the city now in chaos. Soldiers on the rooftops fire off flares to reveal the massive trunk of Godzilla’s abdomen and thigh at about ten stories high. This Godzilla is 350 ft tall.
Soldiers begin firing on Godzilla. The bullets aren’t just ineffectual, they’re completely unnoticed by the behemoth. As Godzilla moves through the city towards a definitive target, he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake, his tail disappearing behind a skyscraper.
In the Hawaiian jungle, a team of commandos is investigating the location of an unknown bogey that has put a nuclear submarine deep in the heart of the island. Word is they’ve located the monster.
We return to the Honolulu airport just as the power is being restored to the tram. The crowd on the train has a brief moment of relief before all awesome holy hell breaks loose. The tram is thrown from its tracks by a massive Kaiju that stylistically looks like a combination of a mosquito and the Cloverfield monster. It looks like this is the creature the government had a bead on over the radio.
The tram dangles precariously as Aaron Taylor-Johnson reaches out to save his young ward. But even if he does, who will stop the creature destroying the airport? Who the hell do you think? In a pretty heroic reveal for a character that has already caused mass destruction in his own right, the King of All Monsters steps up to put a smack down. With a massive roar, we get our first full look at the original big bad ass. And he is gorgeous! A perfectly updated look of Toho’s creation stands before us. Massive trunk legs and all. Cut to black. The crowd is immediately on its feet. In Gareth we trust.
Our own Jessica Chobot then moderated a great q&a, which we’ll have highlights of with our exclusive interview with Gareth Edwards tomorrow. When asked what she thought of the clip, Jessica used expletives. For now, know that Godzilla is going to be as equally awesome and badass as our imaginations made him when Legendary first announced the project in 2010.
Are you excited to see the film? What other kaiju would you like to see Godzilla fight? Let us know in the comments below.