Three days after opening, after raking in almost $200 million, it was announced on Monday that a Godzilla sequel is happening! Great. Awesome. Fantastic! But what should they do with it? How do they move forward and avoid the pitfalls of other Godzilla sequels while ensuring we get five more movies out of the franchise!?
The issue comes down whether or not to re-introduce any of Godzilla’s old foes. Nobody cares about Baragon, but how do you dismiss King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, Gigan, and Anguiris? Should they bring these classic monsters back with new shiny coats of paint, or should they come up with new monsters for Godzilla to fight?
That’s the thing, isn’t it? The Godzilla remake has the King of Monsters playing a hero, not a destroyer. While Godzilla may be indifferent to humans, in the “force of nature” way Dr. Serizawa looks at him, he’s still been portrayed as kinda of a good guy. So it’s natural to assume they’ll keep the focus on Godzilla showing up to defend Earth from imbalance in the form of other other monsters. It’s the standard format. One that can’t be tweaked much at all.
First let’s look at the merits of bringing back familiar monsters. Who wouldn’t love to see King Ghidorah re-imagined with modern special effects? I quake with joy at the prospect… But is that wise? Ghidorah is an alien monster, so would they use the same premise? They could really work the alien invasion angle. Maybe some other advanced species has harnessed the power of their ancient kaiju. Maybe these radiation-eating behemoths exist on many other primordial worlds. Mothra would be difficult because even if they use the same story as in the original movies, the end result would look something like what was done with the MUTO in the new film.
Even Anguiris, Godzilla’s oldest foe (and eventual friend… if you need to ask, don’t…) could show up as just another one of the prehistoric beasts from Godzilla’s time. But that would be too flat a story to get excited about. The writers really need to do something special with Godzilla 2. And I think that means going the route of developing new monsters for Godzilla to fight.
Right off the bat, it gives them creative freedom that re-tooling an old character doesn’t allow for. You can use the look and feel of an old monster, and just change the story behind him, but then what’s the point? While I’d love to see classic monsters show up, I think the new film was so well done that it deserves a fresh start with its sequels. But then again, you run the risk of having this sequel turn out like all the others: new monster shows up, Godzilla saves the day, everybody sings the Jet Jaguar song until Godzilla 3 comes out… repeat…
They’re going to have to get really creative to make the sequel work. It’s going to have to be something never before done in Godzilla. That is, put some real effort into a subject that is basically restricted from the start. Honestly, what else is there besides having Godzilla fight other monsters? The answer is, nothing. It’s how you craft the story around that fight that matters. While previous sequels have tackled that issue in all sorts of different ways (although aliens are usually the most often employed method) the stage has been set for a new type of Godzilla sequel. One where the story actually drives the plot, not just happens to be there to fill time.
Sequels in this rebooted Godzilla franchise need to find a way to link the new monsters to the story in new and creative ways. If I could come up with the aforementioned King Ghidorah example, what can professional movie-making minds think of? Treated with respect and seriousness the previous films rarely ever had, the possibilities for a truly epic monster movie franchise are endless! The bar has been set surprisingly high, so a successful sequel has that much more chance of falling on its face. Honestly, I don’t see that happening. I think we’re in for something special!
image source: [wikipedia]