On this day in 1998 Roland Emerich’s Godzilla film was released. I was in the theatre, having bought special event tickets with a little folder and soundtrack CD. After the first appearance of Godzilla I knew there was a problem. It wasn’t the design, it was the direction.
In my favorite Godzilla movies there’s a money shot – the camera pans up from foot to head and the Big G lets out his signature roar. It’s a moment where the monster claims the city as his own. The advertising of the movie had made such a big deal about keeping Godzilla’s look a secret I was waiting for that shot. And it never came.
If Emerich had grown up like me, watching these movies and absorbing their tropes, then he would have known that such a shot was necessary. Keeping a full body shot of Godzilla until the second time he shows up took away the impact of what should have been an amazing reveal.