The Real Reason Godzilla Has So Little Screen Time

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Movies


The secret is out about Godzilla.  He has only about 20 minutes of screen time.  Critics are complaining that there is not enough of the King of the Monsters and not enough Kaiju vs Kaiju action, even though they all agree that the big battle, when it comes, is beyond awesome. 

Back in 1975, Steven Spielberg made Jaws and the critics still made the same critique.  It can go back  all the way to 1851 and Herman Melville chuckling over the commentators complaining that there was too much Ahab and not enough whale in Moby Dick.  It is nice to see that literature has outpaced those who make their living reviewing it.  

Max Borenstein in an interview with Lucas Shaw of The Wrap, notes that the reason for the monster slow tease is older than Godzilla himself.  

It’s a fine line. Everyone is going to have a different opinion about it. When you go into a movie and from the very beginning it’s go, go, go with two monsters fighting and you see everything, the only thing the viewer has to look forward to is another fight.

It’s hard to build tension if you’ve given the ghost away early on. A lot of my favorite films and a lot of Gareth’s favorite films do suspense. That’s a feature in all those great Spielberg movies; they use suspense to gradually build to your climax. Nowadays movies give more immediately.

Borenstein goes on to note how important a sense of human drama is to a monster tale. 

It’s challenging in any case, and it’s very challenging in a movie like “Godzilla.” The scale of the creature dictates there is no anthropomorphic relationship to humanity.

Without that, your options become constrained and limited. You dig deep into the creative well to try and come up with human stories that will feel engaging and emotional. Coming up with set pieces is really fun, and that’s the collaborative business of working with the director.

  1. hybridZone says:

    I watched the movie yesterday, and I must say the tease was worth it, I saw Gareth Edwards previous film Monsters and how the whole dramatic relationship among the humans played out, the same thing applied to the movie itself, too much of Godzilla could have ruined it for me

  2. hybridZone says:

    And besides unlike Pacific Rim, where logic is thrown out the window and the fights are the pinnacle of the movie. That worked well for that movie. Godzilla and Pacific Rim is like Grand Turismo and Burnout, one is based on reality and human emotions while the other is full out popcorn fun

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