Jan De Bont: the Unimagined Godzilla Film
Written by Barney Buckley
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This story was created from the information that Keith Aikens of Sci-Fi Japan had taken a long time and effort to write and give us the information, so thank you Keith for doing this!
Godzilla 2014: The Start of It All
The motion picture company Warner Bros. and legendary pictures did eventually create an adaption of Godzilla that most fans today can appreciate. This particular movie was released in the United States on May 16, 2004 with a total budget of $160 million this particular movie is an adaption of the longtime running Toho Company franchised Godzilla. This particular movie is coproduced by legendary pictures and it was directed by the not so famous Gareth Edwards did a low-budget film called “Monsters” and they brought him on board simply because he was a big fan of sci-fi giant monster movies and Godzilla was no exception to this rule. Why did they bring Gareth Edwards on board other than the fact that he’s a big fan because he is a big fan he would give the many disappointed fans out there that Saul and did not appreciate the movie Godzilla 1998 that was directed by Roland Emmerich and it was produced by Dean Devlin this particular film was a serious disappointment to Japanese Godzilla fans.
Godzilla 2014 would receive mixed reviews from the critics as well as the audience however it was classified as a box office success and we will be garnered with a sequel that will come out in 2018 1/3 movie that will come out in 2022. There were generally positive reviews based on this film based on the very 1st American release of Godzilla that is pretty much totally accepted by all audiences around the world. In October 1992 TriStar pictures (a subsidiary of Sony pictures entertainment) did in fact announce a deal with the Toho Company to produce an American Godzilla film with a list actors as well as screenwriters and directors which if it proves to be successful it would potentially launch a series of sequels. It would be on May 19, 1998 it would be 5 ½ years after the official announcement that TriStar is Godzilla would finally open on a record-breaking 7363 theaters were screens across the United States alone.
The Godzilla Movie That Most Fans Did Not Want.
The new rendition of Godzilla that would come out in 1998 was co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich and the producer Dean Devlin this would be the very same team that would create a blockbuster movie Independence Day that came out in 1996. This particular movie ran into certain discrepancies when it came to a budget however by the time Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin came on board this particular budget went out to $130 million and it also included a year-long advertising campaign that would cost the company another $50 million. They would literally push this particular movie to the ultimate heights that was widely expected to break box office records and become the top grossing film of the year. However initially when people started seeing this film they were unimpressed by the filmmaker’s interpretation of Godzilla as I was for better part of a year seriously disappointed in this film but I soon got over that. I learned to appreciate the movie for what it is! The reason would be it is because when Roland Emmerich met with the Toho top brass they created a Bible for this particular movie of the do’s and don’ts of what he can do with the movie and he honored it however as he progressed into the movie he totally did things his way and did not go by what the Toho Company wanted in their Godzilla. Anyway by the initial release of the film it was quite successful however it did drop off after people have seen the movie the TriStar is Godzilla did eventually finish its US theatrical run with a total of $136 million the form box office bring in the worldwide total to $374 million respectively. According to the industry analysis did not fare as well as they would like it to do? It was technically classified as a financial bomb and the reason they say this is because this film did not deliver what the audience expected as well as a licensees and merchandising companies expected.
Even after all this entire travesty the TriStar Motion Picture Company wanted to initially consider moving forward with the next movie but eventually they abandoned their proud plans and they eventually let their Godzilla film rights revert back to the Toho Company in 2003. This would allow Warner Bros. and legendary to make a new deal with Toho in 2010 and that’s how we got the new movie Godzilla 2014.
The 1st Attempt
As many fans and people are aware Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s version is not the 1st attempt as it is the 2nd attempt and we all know what happened with that attempt there was another version just before this that fell through the cracks. It would be on July 1994 that the TriStar motion picture company the studio is so would sign on the director Jan De Bont in case you’re wondering who this particular director is he has done films such as the movie Twister which starred Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt this is a great movie. Other movies like Speed which starred Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock about a boss that has a bomb on it and if the bus and it’s speed drops below 55 it goes boom this is also another great movie. This particular director would come on board with the screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio who did screenplays for the movie parts of the Caribbean and the entire series so these guys know how to write a good action type movie.
According to their script this would be an updated version of Godzilla with a new opponent that they call “the Gryphon” there is also additional sketches and scopes as well as storyboards that were drawn up for the designs of the sets and locations are also created as well as a production team was assembled for this movie. Also I’d like to add there was casting choices that were discussed during the construction of the 1st set and then after a while everything fell apart as the TriStar motion picture company would eventually cancel this project, and believe it or not it was over a budget dispute with Jan De Bont simply because he wanted a bigger budget for his movie.
In between the years of 1992 and 1995 the announcement of the cancellation and sudden death of Jan De Bont’s Godzilla film which eventually would be covered by a handful short articles and news bytes within the film industry and through the years after the creation of the film there would be information and images that would gradually reveal itself in bits and pieces over the years and it came to the point that many Godzilla fans would have loved to seen Jan De Bont version of Godzilla over Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s version. According to the fans this would have been a missed opportunity or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the iconic monster to cinematic life with the latest affects technology however we would never get to see this.
It is during the filming of Godzilla 2014 that it may have softened the anger of most fans who have seen Godzilla 1998 as we all know that the spiritual of this Godzilla disappointed fans. This particular Godzilla by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin was more like a very large animal running through Manhattan rather than Godzilla. By the time Godzilla 2014 came out it would eventually police those who were offended by the Godzilla 1998 movie release.
Some Interesting Facts about What Transpires in Godzilla Films
as of the year 2004 it would be at least 50 years that the original Godzilla came out 1954 had been launched on the Japanese monster movies fans of the world and to celebrate this particular milestone the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles California did in fact host the Godzilla 50th anniversary tribute film at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood on June 24 through to the 29th in the year of 2004. In this particular event we do see screenings of more than a dozen Godzilla and Toho movies plus there was a special guest appearance from the director of Godzilla against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo SOS director Masaaki Tezuka and also special-effects director Yasuyuki Inoue and Akinori Takagi was also the special-effects director for the show and Heisei series of Godzilla films.
The Continuation of Godzilla Films
Now we visit the Stan Winston Studios in case you’re wondering what this is this is the actual studio that is Oscar-winning special-effects Film Company that does a lot of the famous creatures and characters as well as movie machines in modern cinema today. As most people have taken a tour within the Winston studio where the visitors met with Mr. Winston himself as they take the tour they were shown some pretty amazing models and as the group mangled and looked over the various life-size figures of the Terminator, The Predator, Alien and Face Hunger and even Jurassic Park velociraptor’s as well as the spinous source and T Rex is for the movie.
They also came across something pretty pretty cool it was a mock at all of the character of a particular film that never made it to the silver screen it was the actual Marquette of the Gryphon that was actually supposed to be created by the TriStar motion picture companies on made Godzilla film. Naturally if you are in a group of Godzilla fans they were actually surprised and excited to see this particular beast as this almost was a costar that the kingdom monsters would have faults. Keith Aiken took this tour did in fact as the vice president Brian Gilbert if the studio still had their Godzilla Marquette. They answered with an exciting yes we still have although they had to pour out of storage for us to see it later on during the tour. However he was eventually sent out that the Marquette could be seen but could not have any pictures taking up it was for the upcoming John Favreau movie Zathura which came out in 2005.
Fans of the Unmade Film Godzilla by Jan De Bont
Steve Ryfle had originally been covering this particular movie and his development as well as expanded overviews in this highly anticipated bulk of his called “Japan’s Favorite Monday-Star” which is a book I do have and I will be giving some further information at that book into this particular story. Another fan favorite of this particular movie is the comic book artist Todd Tennant (All-American Kaiju, it came from beneath the sea… Again) did in fact provide some information and leads and is a longtime enthusiast for this particular unmade film. Todd is currently collaborating with Terry Rossio on an American Godzilla 1994 online graphic novel based on the Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio Godzilla screenplay if anyone is interested in the visual representation of this graphic novel it is definitely worth a look because I had checked it out and it is quite interesting so far.
The Movie Synopsis to Jan De Bont’s Godzilla
In a remote location somewhere on the frozen coast of Alaska, a salvage ship excavates a nuclear reactor core that were illegally dumped at sea long ago by the Soviet Union. Suddenly, something goes awry and a huge explosion destroys the ship. On the shoreline, giant snowbanks mysteriously catch fire and a huge crevice opens in the ground, streaming and eerie red-black fluid. In the middle of the night, Dr. Keith Llewellyn, a government scientist, is flawed to the site of the accident, where the military has launched a top-secret investigation into the giant Fisher in the ground (there is a scene where he regretfully leaves behind his wife, Jill, and young daughter Tina, both of whom figure in the store later). Soldier’s part away drums full of this mysterious red-black liquid which, tests show, resembles an embryonic fluid (the substance fetuses gestate upon in the womb). In the underground cavern, Keith sees what is 1st appears to be a huge stalactite formation lot, upon inspection, it’s actually the claws of a huge creature embedded in the settlement. Keith finds the head of the perfectly preserved creature is a huge dinosaur and clients atop its model to look down the length of its 247 foot long body. Suddenly, the beast opens his eyes it’s alive! And breaks free from the ice. Everyone in the cavern is crossed and the beast destroys the entire military care, then heads south into the sea. Soon thereafter, the dinosaur appears at the Kuril Islands off of Japan and destroys the entire village. It is seen by fishermen who believes it is Godzilla, a legendary monster.
Now we fast forward to 12 years later Aaron Vaught, a particular scientist whose theories about dragons and dinosaurs have made him a best-selling author, and Marty Kenoshita is his assistant sneaks into the Japanese mental hospital to visit the fishermen who saw Godzilla. The fisherman shows Vault’s drawings of Godzilla, images that come to him in his dreams. In one picture, Godzilla is locked in battle with a monster that they call the Gryphon. Meeting and Martin to theorize that this monster Godzilla actually does exist, he must have an adversary. Just then, military police arrived to escort Vault and Marty out of the country. The men think they’re being busted for sneaking into the hospital, but I assume the government has admission for them.
Meanwhile in rural Kentucky, a huge fireball plunges into Lake Apoka, you really raining fish and frogs on a nearby town. Jill Llewellyn, Keith Llewellyn’s widow, is now director of the top-secret St. George project in Massachusetts, a military effort to find the beast that called the Alaska disaster. Thomas was last seen 6 years ago, when it destroyed an oil tanker Jill is not pleased to learn that Vaught, the Dragon enthusiast, whom she dismissed as a folklorist, will be co-director of the project with her. Jill superiors hold Vaults popularity will help the project get funding from Congress. In the midst of this conflict, Jill gets a call from the base police: Tina, now 16 years old is being detained for trying to steal a car. The relationship between the workaholic mom and rebellious teen is loving, posturing.
Back at the “Godzilla womb” sites in Alaska, were a military installation have been established, 2 military guards see streams of curious light coming from a yet-undiscovered ice K and illuminating the sky.
At the same time, a mysterious alien probe that is metallic, yet alive and it is stirring at the bottom of the Lake Apopka in Kentucky. Flowing like liquid chrome, the program enters a cave, wraps dozens of bats and absorbs them into its own matter. The creature forms dozens of “pro-bats,” evil creatures with 12 foot wingspan’s that sail out of the cave and into the night sky. Vault, Marty, and Jill all fly to Alaska and discover that the red-black fluid have been flowing from Godzilla’s will, and Erin deduces that this day is or was supposed to be, anyway Godzilla’s birthday, had the monster not been released prematurely. The trio enter a newly open ice K, which is lined with intricate and organic formations. A strange reminiscent of an ancient civilization with advanced biotechnology. No one notices when a microscopic alien organism swims down and burrows into Marty’s neck, not even Marty.
Another chain of events: in Kentucky a stable of milk cows are slaughtered overnight, their carcasses removed of their lives and organs; in the Pacific ocean, 3 fishing boats are capsized when Godzilla, pursuing a giant school of fish, passes between them at 40 kn. Although the siding is reported when Godzilla passes between an oil tanker, and the military figures he is headed for San Francisco.
Jill and Vaught go to Presidio, where command post is set up, but Marty has become ill and is taken away for medical care. 2 missile carriers, a battleship, and a submarine are sent to intercept Godzilla, but the monster easily destroys 2 planes, then submerges and throws one of the missile carriers out of the sea, cracking it in directly and have. Godzilla finishes off the ships by emitting a fiery breath that turns the hull into molten metal. The military consider using a small nuclear bomb to stop Godzilla, but Vaught believes it won’t work: Godzilla is a living, breathing nuclear reactor evidenced by the fact he breeze not flame, but something so hot it actually ionizes oxygen. Jill concludes that the red-black fluid that in case Godzilla was not food, but actually a tranquilizer that kept the monster in hibernation. Burrows of this fluid are brought to San Francisco and a plan is concocted to stop Godzilla use in the red-black stuff. Firetrucks spray the surface of the water entering the bay with this particular fluid and as Godzilla arrived, he swims right into the trap. And slowly comes ashore, then, roaring weakly, collapses on the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge uses specific super-helicopters the military transports Godzilla, suspended from cables, to Massachusetts, where it is stored in a huge hangar, the tail sticking out at one end. One night, young Tina sneaks into the hangar and suddenly realizes that mom’s job for the past 12 years has been hunting the beast that killed her dad. Gina, wise beyond her years, says Godzilla is a force of nature and should be respected. Her mother sends Tina to Manhattan to stay with an aunt for a while.
At a military hospital, Marty’s infection is consuming his internal organs, and has turned his face into a flat eyeless surface. Whatever has invaded his body is taken over, and begin speaking through him. Before he dies, Marty tells Jill about an alien race colonize in the universe by sending out probes that create a “doomsday beast” of the local genetic material and by the time the alien colonists arrived, the beast has already conquered the planet. In ancient, biotech earth civilization guarded itself against these invaded by creating Godzilla out of dinosaur genes, placing him in suspended animation to awaken when the alien probe arrived and kills it before it can reproduce. Meanwhile in Kentucky the alien probe-bats keep absorbing critters and bringing them back to the cave, where a mysterious creature is slowly taking shape. Vault deduces that Godzilla was headed for the spot where the huge fireball landed, and immediately goes to Kentucky. There, Vaught is driven to Lake Apopka by Nelson Fleer, a local storekeeper (who keeps using the phrase, “weird shit,” for comic effect). The men don diving gear and explore the lake bottom, and discover a tunnel that leads to a series of case. Vault finds what 1st appears to be a giant Paul and, upon further inspection, proves to be a test to the Gryphon, a giant monster with the body of a cougar, wings of a back, and a tongue of snakes, created by the alien probes out of the smaller creatures. The doorman monster is awake and when Fleer client is one of the diving tanks against Iraq the men submerge and swim for safety, and a huge monster’s roar is heard behind them; all seems normal for a moment until the monster rises with a war and takes to the air. Flying north, the monster terrorizes Clarksburg, Virginia, where he derails a train, kills people, and fires energy bolts that destroy a gasoline storage tank. Back in Massachusetts, Godzilla census his arrival’s appearance and his awaken, despite a constant stream of this particular fluid being force-fed to him. The great beast destroys the hangar and walks to the shoreline, where he drops down on all fours begins to go into the water.
The arch-enemies are headed straight for each other and if they hold course, there set for a showdown in New York City. As Manhattan is evacuated, Jill tries to desperately drive into the city, hoping to save Tina. When Godzilla steps on the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Jill is briefly trapped underwater, but she swims the safety and, just as she reaches dryland, Godzilla’s foot comes down, narrowly missing her. As the battle of the mosses begin, Jill finds Tina and I try to figure out how to get off the island safely.
The Gryphon takes flight and crashes into Godzilla, knocking him down to the shore. Godzilla wraps his tail around the frame of an under-construction building, then pulls the Gryphon near and bites down on its leg. The Gryphon’s wounds heal instantly, miraculously, and the beast then retaliated with energy bolts that not Godzilla back into the row of buildings. The Gryphon keeps charging, scratching Godzilla with its talons. Helicopters, circle the city, while the Gryphon flies overhead, hunting Godzilla. The 2 beast again slam into one another and begin to wrestle, tumbling into the skyscraper. The Gryphon double-case Godzilla in the belly, sending him flying into another building, which falls on both monsters. Vault says Godzilla can’t be the Gryphon because of the restraining device implanted in the monster’s neck by the military, which gives him a constant dose of the fluid and prevents them from breathing fire. Using gunship helicopters, the military divert the Gryphon while Vaught and Fleer remove the device from Godzilla’s neck ladies started next to the building. From a helicopter, then men are loaded onto wires onto Godzilla, but the Gryphon blasted the chopper and the men are stranded on top of the monster. As Fleer and Vaught rig explosive to destroy the restraining device, Jill and Tina stall the Gryphon briefly by crashing a gasoline tank into the monster. The restrainer is removed from Godzilla just before the Gryphon arrived: now Godzilla fires his breath at his opponent, wounding him, and pursues the fleeing Griffin more vigorously.
The battle royal takes place in the East River. Godzilla breeze fire across the water surface, creating a steam cloud that belies the Gryphon and causes it to crash into the Brooklyn Bridge and get tangled in the cables. Godzilla bites one of the Gryphon’s wanes off but the monsters healing properties instantly reattach the limb. Then the Gryphon climbs skyward, turned around, and paradigms. Godzilla waits for his file, then suddenly bends forward at the last moment and the Gryphon is sliced open on Godzilla’s dorsal place. Godzilla puts his adversary into the river, rips his head off and sets it on fire through the entire body is now burning in the East River. Godzilla, though badly wounded, Pretorius leg and sets out for the city. Just move in to kill the wounded beast, but Jill convinces the military commander to call off the strike. She has finally forgiven the monster. From the shore, Jill, Tina, Aaron, and Fleer watch Godzilla go home.
Some Interesting Facts about This Movie Script and the changes that were made according to the script!
1.The story takes place in 1999, on the eve of the millennium. The dialogue was rewritten to give the film a Norse, X-Files feel. At one point, a date clock on United Nations building is damaged, and the inverted numbers read “666”
2.Several characters are, consolidated or eliminated such as Marty Kenoshita is nixed. Junji is a twentysomething Eskimo fisherman in Alaska, rather than an old Japanese man. Instead of Marty’s neck, the alien parasite implants itself in Junji’s Eye.
3.The reactor-core excavation scene is deleted. The story opens with a shot of the alien probe, far out in space, zooming towards the earth. On the Alaskan coast Junji and his young son, Hiro, our ice fishing. Spots of red “blood” appear anywhere on the ice, and a huge crevice opens in the snow, flowing with red liquid.
4.Godzilla is not prematurely freed from the ice; he reawakens just at the alien probe lands on earth. The probe lands in the state of Utah, not Kentucky.
5.When Godzilla breaks free from the ice cave, only glimpses of the monster are shown, rather than his entire body as in the previous version. Jill and Junji are the only survivors as the monster wipes out the Arctic outpost; the military cover of the monster’s appearance, bulldozing snow over the footprints and labeling the incident as an earthquake. Junji is held prisoner in a hospital ward to prevent him from telling anyone what he saw, a monster he recognized as “Gojira”
6.Fleer is a white-trash recluse who says, “I hate people.” His “weird shit” slogan is changed to “weird stuff.”
7.The nature of Aaron Vaught and Jill’s relationship is changed. Vault, a former student of Jill’s dead husband, offers to help Jill find out what really happened to Keith. Vaught suspects a massive cover-up, and that the earthquake was called by a huge Dragon. He says, “it’s hangar 18 all over again,” and “exactly like Roswell back in 1947” in this version the military thanks Aaron is a crackpot one just persuades the brass to bring Aaron on the Godzilla team.
8.During the final battle, a week and wounded Godzilla swims to Ellis Island. There, he stepped on a fireworks depot, creating a barrage of colorful explosions that continue as he kills the Gryphon rips his head off and spikes it on the liberty torch.
9.The military move in to Jill Godzilla, but Jill any others, aboard a helicopter, intercepting missile, as the damage helicopter falls in the air, Godzilla catches it and places the wreck on the stature of the liberty’s crown, saving the heroes.
Now in my personal opinion all the script changes were made this movie seem a little more stupid.
So more information based on Jan De Bont’s Godzilla
According to the script of Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott screenplay you have to ask yourself how difficult would it be to actually create a credible Godzilla scenario for the modern-day Western audiences there are many possible directions that we can go into without really exploiting the whole “cheese factor” as I mentioned earlier with the script changes above that deftly would have been more cheesier if they went that route this is why prefer the original script over these changes.
In my personal opinion the Gryphon does not sit well with me simply because his sounds and comes off a little stupid as it is mythological and assess in my personal opinion of Godzilla’s going to fight a different Kaiju and needs to be an actual monster and not something created. This is just something I’ll see Godzilla actually fighting there are better ideas out there for a Kaiju that Godzilla can fight.
Let’s get back to the original concept of the story of all the American Godzilla scripts written to date this particular story was a most faithful to the original character and the tone of the Toho classic Godzilla films. The particular “giant monster meet space aliens” films of the 1960s like Monster Zero and Destroy the Monsters are true classic monster versus alien movies. By attempting to transform Godzilla from an all-powerful villain into an earth defending hero within the span of one film this is something that took the Toho’s Godzilla more than a decade, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott probably tried to do too much. This is what they assume in all honesty I think is you have already read the actual script I think they would’ve done well for today standard in my opinion. Also I like to add there was another flaw in that Godzilla shares considerable amount of screen time with the Gryphon and isn’t always the star of the show. Inevitably, the writers overzealous likely contributed to the skyrocketing budget and the eminent derailment of Jan De Bont tenure as the director of Godzilla. According to Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott the TriStar picture company or studio officially estimated that this particular film would have cost $180 million to shoot this particular Godzilla script as it was written.
It would have taken more than 500 computer-generated effect shots that were originally planned by comparison James Cameron’s true lies (1993) had only about 150 such shots the most ever until then at that time. There particular 1st choice when it comes to special effects was the company Industrial Light and Magic these are the actual creators of the computer animated dinosaurs in the movie Jurassic Park. However it is reported that industrial light and magic did in fact turn down the job because officials there felt that the amount of computer affects required to make an all-digital Godzilla plus a computer-generated explosions as well as fire and water effects and the Gryphon’s morphing transformation, was just a little too much for one company to handle. In October 1994 it was officially announced that the effects would be done by Digital Domain, the super special effects house founded a year earlier by director James Cameron, creature creator Stan Winston, and IBM. Stan Winston Studios in Van Nuys California was contracted to design the new Godzilla and the Gryphon and to create a life -like robotic version of both of these monsters as it has been done in the Jurassic Park dinosaurs.
Godzilla was reportedly $38 million-$50 million and the cost of the entire film would have put it around $100 million and $120 million making it the most expensive film to date. The movie Waterworld with Kevin Costner this particular movie broke records with a cost of $200 million budget. And keep in mind this is also the very 1st attempt at the TriStar Motion Picture Company would take a 1st crack at a Godzilla film that literally fell apart.
By the fall of 1994 Jan De Bont sent his crew to a town in Oregon along the coast to construct a set of the Japanese fishing village. He was originally going to plan to shoot Godzilla’s attack on the Kuril Islands that included Godzilla in the storming affects the particular effect will be added later on via computers. It is at this point in time that the principal photography and cast hadn’t even been selected yet and would’ve helped to eliminate the bars and the special effects technology. As they were filming by doing all of this they would have used it in a teaser trailer shown in theaters across the country in the summer of the fall or fall of 1995 if all went well. Jan De Bont will begin shooting March 1995, and the picture would hit theaters by the summer of 1996 the Oregon sets were built but no footage was shot. At this point in time that is when the TriStar motion picture company decided to halt the actual film until 1996 when a turnaround hard Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin and we end up getting this Godzilla film instead and in my opinion I would love to have seen Jan De Bont’s version as I am sure a lot of people would’ve been much more pleased with the version rather than what they got.