The Story of Three Unmade Godzilla Films
Seeing as how the new American Godzilla film from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. is out this week I’d like to briefly talk about some of the American Godzilla films from over the years that for better or worse never were.
Godzilla King of the Monsters 3-D
Now as far as I know there were only two attempts made at doing an American made Godzilla film with the second one actually being developed by Tristar the studio behind Godzilla (1998). And the funny/sad(depending on how you already feel about this film) thing about both unmade Godzilla films is that they were both aways into pre-production and both had their Godzilla’s fully designed and made in some form or another. The first unmade Godzilla film was simply titled Godzilla King of the Monsters 3-D and the film was to be directed by Steve Miner who you may recognize as the director of Friday the 13th part two and three. And he apparently enjoyed shooting part three in 3-D so much that he wanted to shoot this film the same way, which knowing how he used it in part three I think it would’ve been great to see how he used it as he most definitely would’ve put a shot of Godzilla shooting his atomic breath at the screen and have it pop out at the audience. The screenplay was written by Fred Dekker the man behind Monster Squad as well as the director of Robocop 3. At the time of it’s initial creation Steve Miner went to Toho sometime in the early 80’s and acquired the rights to develop his film while trying to get studio backing in the states. He even got Rick Baker to build a animatronic version of the Godzilla designed for his film for close up shots which you can see below and ILM was apparently interested in doing some of the visual effects work. As the time got closer to when Toho themselves decided to relaunch the Godzilla series in Japan they at one point decided that they would keep there film solely in Japan and let Steve Miner’s Godzilla be the one marketed world wide. But after failing to get any studio interested in producing his movie with a budget of 30 million he eventually gave up trying to make his film some time in late 1984 as no studio wanted to spend that much money on what they essentially though was a children’s movie. The fact it didn’t get made was a shame for quite a few reasons because not only was the film gonna be shot in 3-D and therefore potentially having some great moments to utilize that format, and not to mention that if this movie turned out to be successful they would have gone and done a 3-D remake of Rodan afterwards. But on the other hand while I do enjoy the design of the Godzilla for this movie he does really look way too much like a T-Rex with a variation of Godzilla’s Dorsal Fins on it’s back. And in a roundabout way the this film going under probably help us get Godzilla (1984) or as it’s known over here as Godzilla 1985.
For the second unmade Godzilla film Tristar originally bought the rights to the character and originally intended to make the film and release it back in 1994 titled simply Godzilla (1994) or as it’s sometimes called Godzilla vs. the Gryphon. The film was at the time such a sure thing that it was going to be made that Toho was actually going to kill off their Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II as it was meant to come out in 1994 as you can see in this rare announcement trailer by clicking here for the time being. Now the person that was picked to direct this film was Jan De Bont probably most known for directing the film Speed starring Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper. The script was written by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott who perhaps are most known for writing the script for 2003’s Pirate’s of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Not only that but Stan Winston and his studio built and design maquettes of Godzilla and the Gryphon as well. After reading the script for this film I got to say that at the time it was such a freaking shame that this film ended up not getting made especially when the reason De Bont left the project because Tristar didn’t want to spend 130 million dollars. Which is quite ironic since when Tristar eventually went with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin not only did their budget just about match that but after how expansive the marketing campaign they easily spent way way more than what Jan De Bont was asking for the budget of his film.
But as many fans know Tristar scrapped this script as soon as Emmerich and Devlin were brought on board, but it’s just such a shame that this movie didn’t get made. I mean just to start it off out of these two films and the eventual Godzilla (1998) Tristar made this design was the not only the most respectful to the history of how Godzilla has looked over the years since it was a nice design choice that was clearly based off the Heisei Godzilla. It was also the only out of the three that includes the Steve Miner film, Jan De Bont film and the actually made Godzilla (1998) is that Godzilla actually fought another monster in the De Bont proposed film. The Gryphon while not a classic monster seemed to be a rather interesting new foe for Godzilla and he definitely had a cool looking design. And while I wish so badly that this actually became a film as it featured a very new take on the Godzilla mythos while still being true to the character I can just look on the bright side. Because if this film had been made we would not have gotten the last two Heisei Godzilla films and if this film was successful we wouldn’t have gotten any of the Millenium Godzilla films either which also would have sucked. Not only that but this film does share a few similarities with Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera series and how he changed the character of Gamera in the first film at least, and if the new reboot turns out to be as great as I’m hoping for it to be we also wouldn’t have gotten the film we are getting later this week either. And like I said I would give anything to have seen that movie be a reality, but really there would be so much great things we would have missed out on because of it being made and I can honestly live with that. Though for fans of the script apparently someone involved with this film originally is trying to get the script turned into a graphic novel and the test images I’ve seen online of it look great.
Godzilla 3D to the MAX
Now this last one was never really going to be an American production as far as I know but it was going to have an American cast, but was eventually dropped in favor of the Godzilla movie coming out on the 16th of May. Not much in terms of the script is really known other than the name of the monster that Godzilla would be fighting was named Deathla and that Godzilla would not be confined to Japan, but actually featured the monster in Brazil and the finale taking place in Las Vegas. We also of course know from the title that this film was going to be an IMAX film shot in 3-D, but we also know that this film would have been directed by Yoshimitsu Banno the director of Godzilla vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) and that the film would have been approximately 40 minutes long. The film was even reported to be a remake of Godzilla vs. Hedorah as well, which honestly I think could’ve been great considering all they could do with that type of monster in that day and age. This film was actually in development for awhile with first word of the film popping up back in 2004 (which I remember quite well as Godzilla Final Wars had just come out in Japan or was about to so for people like me that’s all we could think about and then to have another film announced was just awesome) and was really close to being made back in 2007-2008 with a intended release date of 2009. But of course Godzilla 3D to the MAX unfortunately never got made as the producers of the film and TOHO eventually let Legendary Pictures develop their own film instead, though some people involved with 3D to the MAX are actually serving as producers on the Legendary film. With the most notable people still involved being Brian Rogers and Yoshimitsu Banno. Brian Rogers in fact was kind of the sole source of information that the Legendary film was still alive when he popped up being asked if there would be monsters Godzilla would fight against in the new movie, to which he said yes. Which I remember being a godsend for me since there was a good couple year wait after Legendary announced that they would be making the film and that Gareth Edwards would direct before Comic Con 2012’s proof of concept piece was shown to Attendee’s of Legendary’s panel. Though it seems like nothing of the plot from 3D to the MAX has been kept, but it is nice that from the looks of the trailers that at least some elements from Godzilla 3D to the MAX are still in as we’ve seen something happens in Las Vegas, be it Godzilla or the new M.U.T.O.s. Lastly I am extremely happy that there is quite a bit on the first two proposed Godzilla films that are mentioned in this article available on the internet because there was some cool things going on in each in my opinion. But in the case of Godzilla 3D to the MAX there’s nowhere near as much available other than this fan made poster that is sad to say no better version I could find around anymore that’s in better quality than the one below, and with the eventual Blu-Ray release of the new film sometime this fall I hope they bring up Godzilla 3D to the MAX at some point because I’d hate to see this movie that many G-Fans such as myself waited years for only for nothing really official to ever pop up that’s related to the film. Because you can’t tell me after so many years of developement that they have absolutely no concept artwork leftovers or protypes of the Godzilla that would’ve been featured in the film.
With all that said I really hope you all enjoy my brief look at these three unmade Godzilla films and hope you go searching online for more about them as it’s really worth reading and I hope you all go out and see the King of the Monsters’ return to theaters May 16th.