The first official trailer for Legendary Pictures's resurrection of "Godzilla" has finally been released, and with it comes proof that the big atomic lizard's still got what it takes to be the King of the Monsters ... even in the face of heavy competition provided by the many impressive beasties of the production company's own "Pacific Rim."
The trailer opens with an intense sequence in which David Strathairn delivers a grave speech to a group of military men (one of which is played by "Kick-Ass" himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as they skydive from a plane and into a partially decimated city ... and, seemingly right onto their target, Godzilla himself.
From there we get glimpses of the film's impressive supporting cast — including Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen — as they frantically run all to and fro, surrounded by images of desperate military operations and mass monster destruction. Not surprisingly, the tone comes across as dead serious, making director Gareth Edwards' film perhaps the first "Godzilla" to emphasize the staggering loss of human life that comes with a kaiju attack.
The most striking thing about the trailer is, of course, the final reveal of the mighty beast, and how much he looks like ... well, Godzilla. He's sleeker and a bit more muscular than usual (CGI allows you more physical nuance than a rubber suit, after all), but otherwise he could best be described as an upgraded version of his 'classic' look from the very first "Godzilla" film.
And that's a very good thing. We'll take "classic" Godzilla over "Roland Emmerich" Godzilla any day. We speak, of course, of the film that many insist never be mentioned: "Godzilla" (1998), the woefully ill-advised Hollywood reimagining that features a perhaps more 'realistic' but still dumb-looking CG beast laying waste to rain-soaked New York City as the director of "Independence Day" somehow makes accomplished thespians such as Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, and Michael Lerner come across as talentless hacks.
A none too subtle big green metaphor for the threat of nuclear war, Godzilla first appeared on screen in Ishiro Honda's "Gojira" (1954), in which he was simply a (totally awesome) guy in a rubber suit who stomped around a cheap small-scale set of Tokyo. Since then, he's become a beloved pop culture icon, a cathartic rage monster who's appeared in no less than 28 feature films as well as television series, comic books, novels, and video games.
His last big-screen appearance before next summer's newfangled "Godzilla" was in Ryuhei Kitamura's completely gonzo insane 50th anniversary celebration, "Godzilla: Final Wars" (2004), which put him up against a legion of alien monsters and featured some of his classic kaiju colleagues such as Gigan, Mothra and Monster X.
"Godzilla" will invade theaters on May 16, 2014.