I like Boter's pitch for a giant monster movie, but it's a better Lovecraft-style flick than a Godzilla flick.
I think destruction can be scary, but it's just not scary in a PG-13 movie where the good guys have Unbreakable Plot-Armor of +6 Bad Acting. If you want to make destruction scary, you have to have a lot of characters, and then you have to kill them off in horrible ways. You have to start at the top. The people you set up to be the main characters in the first 5 or 10 minutes have to die in the chaos of the break to act 2. I think the best way to do that would be to set up multiple families. If you could afford 15 minutes to just focus on the characters, and then treat it like a survival film on the human side of things. They have to just get the fuck out of dodge, but there's no power, there are multiple giant monsters destroying shit outside, etc.
People are killing each other to get away from the monsters. You could have the initial death-toll on the families be directly due to the monsters. You could have one of the main characters actually kill people to protect his family and have that fuck with his head, and his family's heads. And you could have the monster fight going on the entire time this is happening.
Maybe after the first 24 hours, the characters are far enough away that the monsters aren't really a major threat anymore, and you just see the occasional emergance from the cloud of dust and debris the monsters have created around them. Silhouettes of the monsters in the smoke when Godzilla uses his breath. But then you have to deal with crazy looting and murder going on all around you, and the military - after 24 hours - finally trying to use conventional weapons on the monsters. Make these actual weapons, not little poofy fireball RPGs and shit. They drop cluster bombs and WP. The monsters actually get hurt, and get so pissed off that they start targeting humans directly.
Now these things that were focusing mostly on each other are both focusing on destroying as many humans as possible. Or maybe the humans attack both creatures, but Godzilla actually gets the most fucked up and the other monster takes advantage of this and kills off Godzilla or something. Have a second Godzilla? Have some third monster that was used in the first act show up for the third act throw-down? Leave it as a cliffhanger ending for a sequel? Have the death of Godzilla trigger a massive onslaught of monsters, and leave it to the sequel to bring up the 'Son of Godzilla' or some nonsense? Or maybe Godzilla just retreats and leaves the other monster to wreak havoc?
That would be pleasurable to watch, I think. In that goofy Godzilla sort of way. But you could still make the human characters do more than just stand around being victims of circumstance. You could have a dual plot, where the monsters create a bad situation that these families have to react to, a middle section where the humans can become more pro-active in their attempts to reach safety and protect themselves, and a third act where all hell breaks loose and things go from bad to the worst they can possibly get with not only Godzilla dying (or fleeing), but maybe introducing a couple of other monsters toward the end and killing off all but just a few of the 'main' human characters, leaving the most vulnerable members. It would be the most downer of endings, but if you give it the "To Be Continued" tag at the end, with maybe a bit of a trailer for the second installment... I don't think audiences will have a negative reaction to that.
Or maybe that sequence with Godzilla fleeing would be a break to a third act, you spend the third act making shit get insanely bad, you just start picking off the main human characters left and right, all hope is lost, everyone is about to die, and then Godzilla shows up for the massive showdown at the end with some other monster as backup, like Mothra or something, and you just have a massive four or five monster brawl. I dunno.
So this just kinda pooped out of my head. I'll post it as-is without even trying to clean it up or I'll second-guess everything and just delete it, like I do with most of my writing
I think more about overall structure in big movies like this. You have to give the characters a goal, you have to set up ways for them to get tripped up in seeking out those goals, you have to give the antagonists goals and make those goals conflict with the goals of the main characters, etc. It's hard to do that when the protagonists are little puny humans and the antagonists are giant 300 ft monsters. So you have to have dual plots going on that affect each other. There's a military side to my pitch that would conflict with the goals of not only the antagonist monster but also Godzilla. Then there's the human civilian's goal of survival that gets tripped up by other humans. Maybe some of the main characters will have their own goal that conflict with each other and creates confrontation.
Most big movies don't do this, and it really bothers me a lot. You have to give clear goals. Even if the goals are stupid and they eventually fail, you have to gave that goal there for them to have that down note of failure. Otherwise you end up with 90% of big movies plots where the protagonists spend the whole movies going "what do we do!?" and being entirely reactionary to what the antagonist is doing. All of the Transformers flicks do this. When the protagonists figure out their goal and start trying to accomplish it, that's when the first act breaks to the second act for me. The second act is all about confrontation and clashing of goals between the protagonists and antagonists. Can't do that if both sides don't have a goal.
The Transformers films have first acts that last for fucking 45 minutes because no one knows what the fuck to do and they spend most of that time running away from shit. Cloverfield, on the other hand, is a big fucking monster movie where the protagonists figure out what they want to do and start doing it immediately after the initial attack. The goal can change, but they always have a goal. The problem with that movie, tho, is that the antagonist is a complete mystery and doesn't really seem to want anything. It's just a force of nature, which makes it a disaster movie. I don't find that to be as interesting because the antagonist can't really be doing things on purpose to achieve it's goal. It just does stuff and the protagonists have to react.
That's why I think you'd want to have dual plotlines in a Godzilla movie where you can give the protagonists a clear goal and have more direct confrontation with all of the other survivors or with each other. Then the monsters can have their clearly defined antagonist / protagonist roles that will play out more or less by the book, with humans only making things worse for themselves by interfering. Again, they have a goal, but they screw the fuck up and make things ten times worse by trying to accomplish their goal. Everyone is pro-active.
Last edited by Squiggly_P (2014-05-17 19:35:28)