(1994; dir. Jan DuBont)
was once suggested to me (by the co-editor of Daikaiju!
Giant Monster Tales) that the hurricane film Twister
(directed by Jan DuBont) can be seen as a giant monster film. So
I took a look and, indeed, on watching it with this in mind, you
can see that it has many of the elements, especially in the gradual
introduction of not just a big tornado, but the "King"
of tornados (as one character describes it). There is even an in-script
reference or two to the tornados as "monsters". And the
scenes of destruction only need a glimpse of a giant foot to be
amongst the best monster destruction scenes (from a right-there-amongst-it
perspective -- as distinct from the more voyeuristic step-right-back-and-watch-via-monitors-or-from-a-rooftop
approach) I've seen. Very impressive. The human story works, too,
as the human-side of a daikaiju film, though in fact it is a fairly
exact transliteration of the His Girl Friday plot.
thinking of Twister specifically as an unrealised
Godzilla film is even more interesting. I'm not
sure how it would have gone in toto, but the idea of scientific
observers chasing Godzilla around the countryside is a neat concept
(done to some extent in the US Godzilla and even
Godzilla 2000, of course, but not in this way).
Eggleton, the Hugo-award winning artist and daikaiju eiga
enthusiast, tells me that the idea of "monster chasers"
was Jan DuBont's basic idea/premise for his own proposed Godzilla
film, pre-Godzilla 1998. "At one point,"
Bob wrote, "[the scenario] had a team of "Godzilla chasers"
going after Godzilla (and the Gryphon). DuBont had initially cast
Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as the leads, though the characters were
slightly different from those that subsequently appeared in Twister.
had a script (this was a revision of the much circulated one) and
a model, and had even storyboarded a whole scene for the theatrical
'teaser'. But supposedly Toho dragged their heels, held up the approvals,
and DuBont simply gave up and resigned from the project. This was
in 1993 when Sony first acquired the property. So he got together
with Warner and Michael Crichton and they made Twister
the year after (1994). Supposedly he admitted he simply took Paxton
and Hunt out of their Godzilla
roles and put them into Twister.
of his ideas still made it into the Emmerich/Devlin script, the
obvious being Broderick's scientist and Azaria's cameraman chasing
Godzilla around NYC."
One: Can You Pick Which Non-kaiju Film This Is?
one is a period film, which follows the fortunes of a man so disillusioned
with his life that he gets a job on a ship in order to fulfil an
almost mystical attraction to the sea, only to discover that the
ship's captain is a man who has been crippled by a legendary giant
monster and is determined that he and his crew will scour the
world to find and destroy it. There are strange prophecies of doom,
moments of weird supernatural insight, a strange alien character
who comes to accept his own fate and that of the crew and thus miraculously
creates a means for the main character to escape the general doom....
fantastical elements abound. It is as though the ship is being drawn
into a different world as its dark destiny closes in around it.
After a lengthy search, following the giant monster's trail
of death and destruction, the obsessed captain and his crew find
themselves the target of the monster's wrath. In a violent
climax the monster destroys their boats and, by swimming
around and around the main ship, creates a huge vortex that sucks
it under the waves. Only the narrator escapes to tell the tale.
it's Moby Dick, of course, specifically the John
Huston version from 1956, starring Gregory Peck and Richard Basehart.
It has most of the ingredients of a giant monster movie set at sea,
and certainly the ambiance, though no city-stomping occurs, of course.
the name "Gojira" (Godzilla's real moniker)
is a combination of the Japanese words for "ape" and "whale"!
addition to the above daikaiju indicators, a correspondent comments:
"I can still remember one of my favorite scenes. Ishmael goes
into a pub and sees a painting of a whale that's destroying a ship.
He asks in bewilderment, 'Can whales do that?' Then a crusty old
seafarer replies, 'Arrgh, bless me, whales can do anything!' He
goes on to list all the havoc whales can wreak and concludes with
this gem, 'If God wanted to be a fish, he'd be a whale, believe
me, he'd be a whale!'"
to come when we think of them. Feel free to make suggestions!