Topic: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

Let's not even go into dealing with Gareth's movie.

Legendary Pictures just offered us a crazy-well-paying gig, for four months, to reboot Godzilla. What are we doing? Pitch me.

Here are the only things the studio is asking us for:

1. Big boss fight, of some sort, in a setting that is suitably blockbuster-y — but which has "never" been seen quite like this before. Could be a new city, or could just be original. Thrill me.

2. We want to make Godzilla fucking terrifying for a modern audience... the way he originally was for an audience that was fucking terrified of atomic power. Terrifying as a deep fear, only realized.

3. This has to be a really, really good movie. Perhaps more important than anything, this just has to be good. Really good. Story. Characters. Theme. If it helps you come up with ideas, forget the word "Godzilla," the giant lizard is named "Chris." It's a movie about this ungodly monster called Chris, eventually tearing up the city, no Godzilla.

What have you got?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I feel oddly honoured you would name a giant terrifying lizard after me Teague. I'm getting all choked up.

Will post actual ideas later, once cogitated upon.

My movies: ZangrethorDigital.ca
Let's plays: youtube.com/bigdamnartist
Other movie thing I do: youtube.com/BullskitComedy

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

This started out as a quick idea but quickly turned into a pitch. It's rough, but if anyone thinks it's worth pursuing it can be sanded down a bit.

One reason that big monsters aren't that scary to me is that everybody works together to fight them. Some people might be terrible at it, and people in suits removed from the situation will make bad decisions that screw the guys on the ground, but they're all still trying.

An idea to explore might be a monster that somehow divides and conquers. Last decade, "terrorism" was a shortcut to what could really scare people. I don't know that that can do so as strongly anymore but something more underhanded would be a better approach. Godzilla's huge and various videos show that he'd need a lot of energy to survive; some sort of brainwashing that turns man against man to soften us up for him would be a good approach.

Let's start with a Bermuda Triangle approach.  (Doesn't have to be this exact place; might be a bit cheesy. But the same basic idea.) A ship arrives in port exactly one year late; the crew doesn't realize that the extra time has passed. They're psychologically poked and prodded, but eventually are cleared.

Over the next stretch of time - long enough so conspiracy theories don't start flying immediately - each crew member is involved in some sort of act that weakens the infrastructure and solidarity of civilization. Sabotage of power grids, bombings, something halfway plausible for each person's position but a stretch. Maybe even an engineer that wasn't on the crew but was digging through the ship for clues and found some sort of terrible otherworldly writing. After the acts they commit, they're re-evaluated and show signs of psychological trauma, and visions of Lovecraftian horrors rising from the deep.

(Crap, I might be making more of a Cthulhu move than Godzilla. Whatever, let's see where this goes.)

Each of the acts committed, in addition to weakening something, are also politically divisive. Because of who did it, a school shooting forces federal-level limitations on firearms, so that people are less prepared when, um, Chris finally rises. Damage done to the power grid backup systems allows Chris to destroy the entire power grid in one go. Other such things. When all of his minions have performed their assigned task, Chris rises to feast. Who stops him? No idea. Military responds but it's uncoordinated. Citizens can't protect their homes on their own.

In short, it's desperate. I think that the best solution is to do something to Chris that mirrors what he did to us but I don't know how you'd turn a single, solitary monster upon itself. Could be as simple as gathering up the original crew, sending them back to the exact spot they had disappeared, and they vanish... and does Chris with a roar of terror/frustration/"I left the gas on". (This is after the studio-mandated boss fight, which we lose because of the aforementioned damage.)

The movie ends with the non-crew engineer, still among humanity, back out and working with her colleagues. She idly doodles the writing she saw... BOOM SEQUEL TEASE

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I read Teague's post this morning and it's been stewing in my head ever since. I haven't seen the Roland Emmerich Godzilla, or the Gareth Edwards one yet, though I'm kind of excited to do so sometime next week. I honestly kind of think the ship has sailed on Godzilla being truly scary to a degree. Godzilla and his monster battles break buildings, and we've made ourselves immune to that by doing it so much in the past decade. Unfortunately that seems to be kind of all he can be.

My first thought, and this is just sort of flow of consciousness at the moment, is to take it as far away from that as possible. If we can't frighten people with the spectacle of large scale destruction anymore, then I think it should be the fear of isolation. I've struggled to come up with a way to do that with Godzilla, this is the best I have so far.

A group of scientists are exploring these previously uncharted caverns. This is kind of a typical place to start one of these movies, where they either find Godzilla and he breaks free to go cause his mayhem, but we're going to be here for the entire movie. After we set-up our characters and their mission, an "earthquake" very quickly shuts off the only known exit. They can't contact anybody on the outside, so they decide the only thing to do is to go deeper into the caverns and look for a way out.

One of them has been 127 Hoursed by the cave-in, so they leave one of their group with him. There's no cell reception, but they have walkie talkies. The majority of the group goes out and explores the caverns, occasionally thinking they hear roars and such, but it's so quiet and indistinct they can't be certain. The two back at the cave-in site maintain a constant presence by asking questions and making jokes over the radio. The healthy one will report on the deteriorating status of the James Franco now and again. Probably the group finds some unexplainable goo, because that's the kind of thing you do in these movies. Then there's another earthquake, and they hear largely unintelligible screaming and exclamations over the walkie talkies.

The group at large returns to the cave-in site, and finds nothing of their two companions but the crushed arm or leg still pinned under the rock. So now they know there's a creature in here with them and they need to make their way out post-haste. The location would be this collection of vast caverns connected by tunnels of various sizes, ranging from small enough that our heroes have to crawl through to fucking massive.

The tension comes from the sound of roars growing more pronounced in the distance, the sound of footsteps, the recurring "earthquakes." The occasional run-in with Godzilla consists of an arm or a jaw struggling and snapping at them in the smaller tunnels from one of the larger caverns. They can catch site of the occasional tussle through a crack or something. But we never get a good look, we never see Godzilla or what he's fighting.

Until the third act, where the shit hits the fan and we meet our action quota. The explorer team makes it into this MASSIVE, beautiful cavern. Shortly thereafter Godzilla and his enemy appear, the enemy being this gigantic prehistoric hornet-type creature. So they're duking it out, and our heroes can see this dim shaft of light at the top of the cavern, that's of course their way out. They have to rock climb their way up to this opening WHILE Godzilla's fighting Hornet Mothra, so the walls are crumbling, they're constantly falling and slipping and losing purchase, all connected so one will drag others with them, in this crazy vertical action sequence with a monster battle as a backdrop/instigating force.

They finally make it into the opening, only to realize they're not out of the woods yet, this is just the hornet monster's labyrinthine, honeycomb-esque home base. He's seen them entering and isn't having it, so they have to make it up this series of winding, narrow tunnels WHILE being pursued by hornet monster, who is in turn pursued by Godzilla, whose actions are constantly threatening to bring the whole house down.

It's hard to succinctly explain the third act, but it looks hella cool in my head.

That's all I've got at the moment and I totally made most of it up as I went along. I know I don't have characters or theme, and probably I'm violating everything Godzilla has ever stood for, but that was the first
thing to come to mind.

EDIT: Couple of thoughts I had as I turned this over in my head after posting. Probably they should notice the opening and start their climb BEFORE the monsters show up fighting, because you'd be crazy to not wait them out. This also gets you a moment where they can be halfway up and they hear the approaching roars and footsteps and they're like "Seriously with this?" But now they're committed and HAVE to continue during the fight.

Also possibly, the Hornet monster could come OUT of the hole to establish it as his home that he's defending from Godzilla. And if the pudding wanted to be really overegged, the nest could have baby hornet monsters in it that the humans have to fight off with pickaxes and whatnot as they make their escape. Like the whatevers in Cloverfield.

Last edited by C-Spin (2014-05-17 17:42:07)

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I would probably pitch exactly what we got. I don't think it needs fixing.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

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 tongue

EDIT:

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)

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

We tell the story from Godzilla's point of view.

Godzilla is on an island, just chilling. He has his son, Minilla, with him. One day, Godzilla senses some other monster intruding on his territory so goes off to fry the insolent fuckers. While he's gone, a team of humans show up and capture little Minilla, taking him back with them.

Godzilla is furious. He's never bothered the humans. Never even paid much attention to the little creatures. Now they have his SON? This is war! He sets off to get his kid back.

The humans are truly evil. They try and stop him with things which float, things which fly, all of which throw exploding fire at him. It hurts, but not as much as he hurts them. The weapons used get bigger and bigger. Godzilla begins to slow. He's injured. Seriously. The idea he might not survive crosses his mind. If he can save his son, though. If he can get him back to the sea. Minilla will live. That is all that matters. With another heroic push, Godzilla makes it to the prison where they were holding Minilla. Godzilla rips open the cell.

Minilla is dead. Dissected. As are a baby Rodan and Mothra.

Oh, Humanity is so dead. Godzilla lets out a cry unheard since the dawn of Man. From the far corners of the Earth, the other creatures respond. As the screen fades out, we see a Godzilla, rejuvenated with a Holy Purpose, marching across the countryside towards a city. The cries of other monsters come to us, louder.

It is the end of Humanity.

I write stories! With words!
http://www.asstr.org/~Invid_Fan/

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I like Invid's idea, but I think that having Godzilla deliberately take action against humans is a mistake. It's far more interesting if Godzilla has no more feeling for humans than we do for ants.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

Pop quiz hotshot: your kid just jumped onto a fire ant nest. What do...well you know.

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

Teague wrote:

2. We want to make Godzilla fucking terrifying for a modern audience... the way he originally was for an audience that was fucking terrified of atomic power. Terrifying as a deep fear, only realized.

C-Spin wrote:

I honestly kind of think the ship has sailed on Godzilla being truly scary to a degree. Godzilla and his monster battles break buildings, and we've made ourselves immune to that by doing it so much in the past decade. Unfortunately that seems to be kind of all he can be.

I'm just thinking out loud, but I agree with C-Spin.  I don't think you can make giant monsters tap into our current primal fears.  I think any attempt to do so would ultimately be a kludge.  We associate them with rubber suits and a certain kind of Japanese flavored fun.  And yet, we're still scarred by 9/11 and gleefully destroying cities is of questionable taste.

Cloverfield and Pacific Rim were both good-not-great movies.  Maybe could only raise to a certain level of quality because of the subject matter?

So let's set aside the Godzilla angle approach it from the fear angle.  What are we afraid of in 2014?  It seems to me that the answer is resoundingly "economic collapse."  There is a palpable sense that in America, everybody is going to lose their jobs and that it is the fault of the guys at the top.  To the left, "guys at the top" means unchecked corporate greed and to the right it means socialist government run amok but there is a last-days-of-Rome feeling in the air.

So, I don't know what Chris is, but I think the city that is destroyed has to be Detroit, right?

Last edited by Isaac (2014-05-20 01:25:09)

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

So, you're talking about a new version of King Kong or Mothra vs Godzilla, basically. Human greed brings monster destruction on a city.

I write stories! With words!
http://www.asstr.org/~Invid_Fan/

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

Doctor Submarine wrote:

I would probably pitch exactly what we got. I don't think it needs fixing.

This.

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

CHRIS exists to take from the poor and give to the rich. He's under their control in an oligarchic economic collaptocalipse. CHRIS is a clever acronym denoting the legions of evil-Robocop-Voltrons our masters want to impose over us, but we're not going to let them! An unlikely alliance of cool teens, hacker geeks and lame adults conspire to commandeer enough CHRISes to form their own giant CHRISTOPHER and protect freedom and liberty by robo-punching the bad guys into submission.

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I'm just spitballing here. No need to let the thread just die or nuthin'. hmm

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Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I was astonished at how good Godzilla '14 was. Not that it was THAT good, but I was expecting Pacific Rim or less, and Gareth Edwards made a solid film.

The film tries a little too hard to get us to like the protagonist and not quite hard enough to get us to like Godzilla himself. (That ending is hilarious: the news ticker says "KING OF THE MONSTERS. SAVIOR OF OUR CITY?" And then Godzilla smashes his way across the city to get to the ocean.) But I couldn't pretend that I could do better myself.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

Zarban wrote:

I was astonished at how good Godzilla '14 was. Not that it was THAT good, but I was expecting Pacific Rim or less, and Gareth Edwards made a solid film.

The film tries a little too hard to get us to like the protagonist and not quite hard enough to get us to like Godzilla himself. (That ending is hilarious: the news ticker says "KING OF THE MONSTERS. SAVIOR OF OUR CITY?" And then Godzilla smashes his way across the city to get to the ocean.) But I couldn't pretend that I could do better myself.

Team Godzilla 2014 grows stronger by the day.

"The Doctor is Submarining through our brains." --Teague

Twitter | Tumblr, for links to all my writing.

Re: Community Story Room: Rebooting Godzilla

I don't care so long as it has Anguirus. I love that giant spike ball!

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