Monday, July 28, 2014

A Potpourri of News from Comic-Con and Script Doctoring the Newly Announced Sequel(s) to Godzilla 2014

I saw some great films over the weekend.

I Origins was excellent. Although some reviewers say that the post-credits sequence hurts the film, I must disagree. I Origins is a smart, mature, science fiction film.

I also saw A Most Wanted Man. This is a good movie, one that is elevated by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance. He is so alive; and because he is so alive it was deemed that he must leave us early. A Most Wanted Man is a also a reminder that every character in a properly constructed dramatic work is there for a reason. If I were to say more than that, I would be venturing into spoiler territory. I do not want to ruin the surprises contained within A Most Wanted Man.

The lucky folks at San Diego's Comi-Con are being treated to some great events. They saw actual footage from the new Mad Max film(s), a clip from Avengers 2, were spoiled by a viewing of Hercules with its leading man Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and saw the professional wrestling legend, Sting, sit in on a panel with his (now) colleagues from the WWE.

Comic-Con also also featured an announcement about the upcoming sequel to this year's American reboot of Godzilla. IGN reports the following:
But while they had everyone’s attention, Legendary also teased Godzilla 2 -- as well as the monsters we might see in that sequel.

An old-school Monarch film clip was then shown -- that’s the group that studies and keeps tabs on the monsters in the rebooted series -- that confirmed the existence of…

King Ghidorah!

The Monarch analysis concluded that a battle is inevitable: “Let them fight.”
As readers of WARN know, I felt that Godzilla (2014) was a horrible, piss poor, (re)imagining of the Japanese kaiju King of the Monsters. I wanted to love the movie. Instead, I was disgusted by the embryo of what could have been a more than serviceable spectacle, that by its conclusion was a live action version of the 1980s Godzilla cartoon series.

If we are are lucky, horrible first films can birth acceptable sequels. I enjoy playing script doctor. In that spirit, I offer my rough outline of the next two American Godzilla films.

Godzilla 2 begins with a regional conflict between China and Japan over resources and territory. The United States is reluctantly drawn into the conflict because of its treaty obligations to Japan and other countries in the area.

Godzilla has not be seen for three years. As the various powers fight in the opening montage and first segment of the sequel, the conflict begins to escalate--several submarines, ships, and now an aircraft carrier, have been destroyed in short order. Godzilla is responsible.

The conflict winds down as the various countries now cooperate to fight the beast.

He/She is a force of nature, more like a hurricane or tsunami, than the benevolent, friendly, Earth spirit shown in the reboot. There is a complication. A faction of the now defunct "Monarch" program, the group that monitored the MUTOs from the first movie, have for their own purposes (revenge?), joined a Japanese group of environmental terrorists modeled after Aum Shinrikyo who believe that humankind has ruined the Earth.

The agents from the former Monarch program share a closely guarded secret with the environmental terrorists: Godzilla is one of many such ancient MUTOs on Earth...and one of them is dormant in Mount Fuji. Its name? Mothra. Using a portable nuclear device, they free the ancient creature. The Japanese, very much distracted, are caught off guard by this new monster who proceeds to fly around the country causing destruction in its wake.

Commandos hunt down the remnants of Monarch and the ecological terrorists before they can free additional monsters. Godzilla and Mothra fight one another. The humans defeat the "terrorists". Mothra and Godzilla fight to a draw. Both are bloodied and battered. Each retreats, with grudging respect for the other, to their respective sanctuaries.

Godzilla 3 begins in the Antarctic. There are several people in environmental suits walking on what remains of the glacial ice. They are putting odd looking black boxes in one of the largest remaining glaciers. The "researchers" retract the face shields on their helmets to reveal humanoid, but alien-like, features. They walk towards a small triangular shuttle craft as the devices begin to glow. A three-headed dragon is revealed through the now increasingly translucent ice and snow. It is King Ghidorah: the greatest of Godzilla's foes.

In the ten years since 2014, the Earth's ocean levels have been rising even faster than previously predicted. While the United Nations meets in conference to continue its talks on global warming and how to protect humanity from what is feared to be an extinction level event, King Ghidorah makes his first appearance, laying waste to various Canadian and European cities. The Earth's militaries, much more hardened and practiced from fighting Godzilla, Mothra, and the first film's MUTOs, quickly respond.

They fight valiantly--even using a new type of experimental mecha--but are eventually defeated by King Ghidorah.

An alien craft then appears in Earth orbit during humankind's losing battle with King Ghidorah.

The visitors announce that they are friendly, and have come to help humankind fight the monsters. A group of intelligence analysts, spies, and Edward Snowden types have been trying to convince the media that the Earth's government was infiltrated by aliens decades ago (Planet X?). Their worries are now proven correct. The successor to the Monarch program has been monitoring Godzilla and Mothra. It is revealed that this new group has actually placed sensors on the creatures' bodies, as well as on or near those of other MUTOs who remain in hibernation, to monitor their status. As the aliens publicly declare their plans of world domination, they release King Ghidorah to continue his rampage.

Godzilla and Mothra are shown traveling towards King Ghidorah. The successor to Monarch sends a signal to the creatures "code-named" Anguilas, Rodan, and Gamera. They will fight the extraterrestrials who have now established a base on Earth. The Earth's governments will coordinate a strike on the alien ship in orbit using a swarm of nuclear warhead armed Cold War era satellites.

The "alliance" of the ancient Earth creatures and humans defeat King Ghidorah and the aliens. The Earth has suffered great losses. However, its governments have been brought closer together. They are now supposedly dedicated to living in harmony with the environment and each other.

The movie ends with an Easter Egg. Various governments are depicted salvaging the alien technology for their own purposes against treaty...Godzilla is then shown underwater, dormant, and his eyes suddenly open at the viewers' revelation that human society is no more wise for its recent experiences.


What would you like to see out in the future Godzilla films? And on the topic of sequels, what are your thoughts/concerns/joys/upsets about the new Star Wars movies?

Abrams has certainly enlisted a great set of diverse talent for the new Trilogy.

Unfortunately, the click bait leaked story treatment for Abrams's Star Wars is not very good.

[Yes, I am very humble. Yes, my armchair quarterbacked Star Wars sequel crawl is better than the leaked supposed plot synopsis.] 

However, I am worried that the leaked Star Wars sequel treatment is so derivative and poorly conceived that it could very well be a real version of (what I hope) was an earlier version of Abrams's Star Wars film before a series of rewrites. Am I alone in having that anxiety?


Myshkin the Idiot said...

I like the opening of your second Godzilla movie. I don't know much about the original plots to Godzilla, but yours sound very interesting. An entertaining thought program at the very least.

I don't have the background knowledge to critique sci-fi movies of this caliber. I honestly can't wait to show my son the Star Wars series. It would be great to be able to show him in a theater, the originals and the first trilogy.

chauncey devega said...

It is easy to write up ideas for films from one's couch. I just hope that the movie is better than the horrible first one. I also hope that the rumored storyline for the Star Wars Prequels is not correct.

Would you make him suffer through the prequels or just show the original trilogy. And if you do show all the movies, will you do it in the correct order, i.e. how we saw the films, or in chronological order?

Be prepared for Jar Jar to be his favorite character.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

haha jar jar. Was that a racist Sambo caricature? I heard that somewhere along the way.

I wanted to show him a movie. We only have the first trilogy (Episodes 1 2 3) on VHS, but he said no. He always says no. I think he would have found it exciting despite only being 2 1/2.

I would want to show him episodes 4 5 6 first though. I think the graphics of 123 would catch him too much and he might not appreciate the storytelling and effects of 456.

chauncey devega said...

Many many problems with the Star Wars prequels. Jar Jar is as much Lucas's' fault as the actor who portrayed him.