Godzilla is a tough property to reboot. When the concept was fresh, the idea of a giant lizard-monster that could smash cities by stomping on them was an awesome notion, and a way for the country of Japan to externalize the trauma of the atomic bomb in a way that also sold a lot of toys to kids around the world.
These days, however, it is not fresh. Not only did we see Godzilla fail in a reboot attempt in 1998 that was critically reviled and barely made back its budget at the domestic box office, but we’ve also seen cities smashed by all manner of creatures: giant monsters based on a variety of fauna in Pacific Rim, sociopathic aliens in Man Of Steel, and charmingly evil masterminds plotting revenge in Star Trek Into Darkness. With all of the competition, how does just one giant irradiated lizard hell-bent on destroying Los Angeles even begin to compare?
Those questions make it a surprise that the trailer for Godzilla actually makes us optimistic. The 60-second preview opens with a human-level look at how a person fights an, er, irradiated lizard the size of a skyscraper, as soldiers prepare to jump out of an airplane. We get a glimpse of the impressive cast: Bryan Cranston as someone who presumably will not attempt to kill Godzilla with a remote-controlled machine gun that pops out of his trunk, as well as Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe. More encouraging still is the fact that the film’s director, Gareth Edwards, earned the job by making a compelling, character-driven movie about giant monsters with 2010’s Monsters. There are a few reasons to find hope that being stomped by a giant lizard will appeal to us in 2014.