With Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters,” director/co-writer Michael Dougherty brings together some of the biggest, baddest monsters in big-screen history, realized without limits for the first time in the modern age, in an epic, globe-spanning battle royale for the future of the planet that links the fates of monsters and man.
“Godzilla has always had a sense of mythic purpose,” says Dougherty, the lifelong fan at the helm of “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters.” “Godzilla movies are big, they’re fun, but underneath all the monster mayhem and apocalyptic destruction, these movies are allegories. That’s how the Japanese initially invented and portrayed the character, and I think it’s one of the reasons Godzilla has endured for as long as he has.”
From his explosive 1954 awakening to his epic 2014 rebirth, Godzilla has always been more than a monster. A destroyer, a savior, an icon, a King, he has evolved and reinvented himself through decades of social, political and ecological change from a walking natural disaster to nature’s last, lone Samurai. “These are popcorn movies,” the director continues, “but they are filled with metaphor. And though the themes have changed over the years, they all leave you with the same warning: that if you push too hard against nature, nature’s going to push back.”
In the aftermath of World War II, Japan’s The Toho Co., Ltd. assembled a team of Japanese filmmaking legends to create a new kind of monster. Willed to life through a latex-and-bamboo monster suit, a meticulously engineered 1/25th scale model of Tokyo and masterful filmmaking, Godzilla roared onto the screen in Ishirō Honda’s genre-defining masterpiece “Gojira,” and has resonated and reverberated through the global cultural imagination ever since, cementing his place as one of the greatest, most resonant and original creations ever put to film.
Godzilla’s global footprint kicked open the door for Toho to unleash a universe of gigantic creatures in a series of films that would launch the kaiju eiga genre and enthrall and entertain generations of fans. But apart from Godzilla, none other has been realized on the big screen outside of Japan.
With free rein to explore a Monsterverse filled with possibility, the writing team came back with a vision that surprised even its longtime shepherds. “Mike and Zach found a way to bring Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah into this world that was so organic, it was as if they had always been there,” producer Alex Garcia relates. “The story dovetailed perfectly with our far-reaching plans for where we want to take these films, but it’s a much bigger, more global adventure than anything we’d ever seen.”
The quest to make Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah live again on the big screen fueled an epic collaboration that brought together a legion of creative collaborators—many propelled by their own connection to the seminal Toho creations—and kicked off a sprawling production that would open out the Monsterverse and bring the secret government agency Monarch into the light.
“We followed in the footsteps of what Gareth and Jordan had done on ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’ to establish and deepen this world as much as they could,” producer Zach Shields reveals. “But there’s always more territory to discover with these ancient creatures and Monarch. And, for us, exploring the secret world of Monarch was total wish fulfillment. Like stepping behind the locked doors of Area 51, but for giant monsters, or Titans as they’re known at Monarch. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know what an outfit like that is hiding. And when you enter their labs and see how much money is being funneled into this operation, that tells you how seriously world powers and private interests are taking this threat. The wolf is at the door, and Monarch is the thin, blue line. After that, there’s only Godzilla.”
“Godzilla II: King of the Monsters” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a WarnerMedia Company.