GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Gargantuan Gargantua » Sun May 24, 2015 10:21 pm

I kind of wish the Gryphon design would get another stab at the Godzilla universe. Just as a tip of the hat to the crew that created him.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Psycho Soldier » Mon May 25, 2015 1:46 am

Gargantuan Gargantua wrote:I kind of wish the Gryphon design would get another stab at the Godzilla universe. Just as a tip of the hat to the crew that created him.


It's a great design, but I'm not sure it's 100% appropriate for a Godzilla foe. It would've been great in a horror or fantasy film, or even in a stand-alone kaiju film. I just can't quite imagine any Godzilla squaring off with it. On the other hand, these articles have improved my opinion of the Godzilla design. It's clear how badly they wanted to do him justice.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby GFan » Mon May 25, 2015 9:07 am

Wow, these articles have been mind-blowing. Great to finally know what really killed this project. I have to totally agree with Henry G. Saperstein... they should have just done it with practical/suitmation FX and used CG for wire-erasing and the like.

And then GINO happened. :evil:
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby RaptorG » Mon May 25, 2015 10:51 am

I'm loving these articles. Every time I read these article, it feels a lot like I'm watching a video documentary.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Mon May 25, 2015 10:52 am

I mean a high end animatronic and a high end costume would have done it. Leave the CGI for some larger shots. Shinji Higuchi's Gamera shots proved that.

Anyway, its apparent there was a lot of love in this project.

:| Sometimes I wonder what goes in the heads of studio execs. Cutting the Gryphon monster for budget reasons while making a SIDEKICK MONSTER? What assbackwards thinking is this?

This reminds me of Kevin Smith's experience when we worked on Superman in the mid 90s.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby lhb412 » Mon May 25, 2015 4:04 pm

It's like the complete opposite of the situation with Legendary Pictures. Tristar bought the rights for the name value, but didn't care a jot about Godzilla and the franchise. When they had a group trying to make a Godzilla film that was, well, like a Godzilla film the studio butted heads with them and eventually shut it down, only to make a very un-Godzilla-like film a few years later.

Then you have Legendary Pictures, which seemed to have Godzilla fans all the way up, including the company's CEO, an enormous fan. There was an emphasis on delivering a spectacular but very traditional Godzilla all the way through the process.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby walshiam » Mon May 25, 2015 5:52 pm

Politics make me sick, particularly when the guys in charge think they have all the answers.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Kailem » Tue May 26, 2015 2:49 pm

These articles continue to be goldmines of information and unseen artwork. After reading this latest one, particularly the "Things Fall Apart" section, so much of what we ended up getting in the 1998 Godzilla makes sense now. "Americanized" Godzilla indeed.

It really makes it even more tragic that the movie fell apart, because reading this you can tell that everyone involved wanted to be respectful of the material and do the best they could to make a proper Godzilla film. Everyone except the studio, apparently. Yet another example of why the "clueless studio executive" stereotype exists.

"The movie is going to cost too much; how about you cut the Gryphon out? Oh, but also, how about you add a little sidekick monster as well?" Yep, that sounds like top-level studio thinking right there. :(

I can't wait to read the last part. As I said before, I've always been interested in really in-depth 'making-of's, so I'm eager to hear the details of how things morphed from the Jan De Bont version of the film to the one we eventually got (and I'm sure that, much like the first three parts, it will also be a most excellent indeed :D ).
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Pkmatrix » Thu May 28, 2015 12:36 pm

Great article! I'm also looking forward to Part 4 and seeing how things transformed from Jan de Bont's version to the final form we got in 1998.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Henry88 » Thu May 28, 2015 1:13 pm

studio execs are about a brainless as a jellyfish.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby kpa » Sun May 31, 2015 12:59 pm

SciFi Japan’s look at the unproduced 1994 TriStar GODZILLA concludes with the aftermath of the movie’s cancellation, Sony’s attempt to relaunch the project with a revised screenplay, the fateful decision to take Godzilla in a totally different direction under filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, and the ongoing legacy of “Godzilla 1998/Zilla” at Toho.

This last chapter features a new interview with screenwriter (1995 rewrite) Don Macpherson, final comments from the GODZILLA ‘94 team (including director Jan De Bont ; writer Terry Rossio; concept artist Ricardo Delgado; creature sculptor Joey Orosco and FX supervisor Boyd Shermis) and more never-before-seen photos from the unmade film.

http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2015 ... rt-4-of-4/

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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Sun May 31, 2015 5:27 pm

Tragedy. That's all I can say in one word.

The people who made Godzilla 98, really hated what the character was all about and shows. And the people at Toho were either greedy with wanting to get the movie done, or not assertive enough with their character.

Maybe it was one of those Japanese culture things where you can't say "No" because it's seen as rude?
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby RaptorG » Sun May 31, 2015 7:36 pm

Those four articles were perfect and I feel as though it 's the closing of the Sony/Tristar Godzilla drama. Looks like everything can be pen pointed down to Sony/Tristar as the main blame for where it all went wrong and the biggest issue I see with Devin/Emmerich were their "No reveal" policy that ruin many companies. I have always thought that was the fault of the marketing team.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Gwangi » Sun May 31, 2015 7:42 pm

Reading this last chapter, it makes one want to diss on Devlin and Emmerich all over again. :x
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Sun May 31, 2015 7:53 pm

What would have been Godzilla 94, and what is Godzilla 2014 is a labor by people who know the material, respect it, and in some cases, love it.

This movie was made by people who hated Godzilla movies, didn't get the character. Of course we're still going to hate it after all this years. Night and day.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Psycho Soldier » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:00 am

I don't believe G94 would have been a great movie. Entertaining, sure, but even after the Macpherson rewrite, some elements seem underwhelming and/or sharply un-Godzilla. But it's clear that the folks involved were on the right track. Trying to respect the source material, but also trying to make an outstanding movie. The ambition, passion, and talent were all in place.

We could just as well call this article series, "How to Ruin Something Good: A Case Study." All my respect to Keith for putting it together.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby GFan » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:36 am

Wow. GREAT read! Many thanks for putting these articles together. They've been a kind of fanboy-therapy session for me.

So here's a question: what changes do you think would have been made if they HAD done test screenings? Would Godzilla had lived? :shock:
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Pkmatrix » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:38 am

A spectacular finish to a spectacular series! Wonderful job! ^_^

(Although, it's still depressing to see just how close to greatness we got and then read the play-by-play for how Sony/Tristar squandered it.)

Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! wrote:And the people at Toho were either greedy with wanting to get the movie done, or not assertive enough with their character.


My impression from the article is (and, really, always has been) that Toho felt trapped without any other options. From their POV: Sony had been struggling for years to get this made, had the project fall apart once already, and chances were the project would be dead for good if they said no to Emmerich - it's clear he probably would've walked away if they didn't let him do it his way. After all that time, money, and effort put into trying to restore Godzilla as an international brand, would you really find it so easy to walk away from it? I wouldn't.

GFan wrote:So here's a question: what changes do you think would have been made if they HAD done test screenings? Would Godzilla had lived? :shock:


I'm VERY curious about that as well. It's clear that the version we know would never have been released had Sony been able to view it first or they'd done test screenings. The article points out how they reshot the ending for Independence Day because of test screenings: in the original ending, Randy Quaid's character is NOT a fighter pilot during the final battle and, instead, shows up out of nowhere during the climax with a missile strapped to his biplane. (Yes, it's as dumb as it sounds. If you've got the Blu-Ray, check it out - it's in the deleted scenes.)

There's so much wrong, plot- and character-wise, with the film though that I've no idea what the Execs would've done if given the chance. At the very least, I can see a lot getting cut - there's a 90 minute fan edit floating around out there I'm told is better than the theatrical cut, for example, but I can also see them demanding some reshoots. At minimum, they'd probably demand the ending be changed so Godzilla lives and leave things more clearly open for a sequel.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby kpa » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:58 pm

Thanks again, everyone, for the kind words. After putting so much time and effort into these articles I'm very happy that the reaction has been so positive!

One of the highlights for me has been hearing from many of the people who worked on the TriStar GODZILLA who wanted to let me know how much they've enjoyed the articles. Some of them had their own particular area of the project so this was the first time they'd seen the work done by other departments at that time. And others have written to say they'd liked reading the reminiscences of colleagues they hadn't seen in years.

GFan wrote:So here's a question: what changes do you think would have been made if they HAD done test screenings? Would Godzilla had lived? :shock:


It's hard to say since that never happened. But I'm in agreement with Terry Rossio that the Devlin/Emmerich version was unfixable... their whole approach to the material was so off target that minor -- or even major -- tweaks couldn't have helped. Letting Godzilla live, tightening up the pacing in the final 2/3 of the movie would have been band-aids on a fatal injury.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Shokara » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:49 pm

kpa wrote:Thanks again, everyone, for the kind words. After putting so much time and effort into these articles I'm very happy that the reaction has been so positive!

One of the highlights for me has been hearing from many of the people who worked on the TriStar GODZILLA who wanted to let me know how much they've enjoyed the articles. Some of them had their own particular area of the project so this was the first time they'd seen the work done by other departments at that time. And others have written to say they'd liked reading the reminiscences of colleagues they hadn't seen in years.

GFan wrote:So here's a question: what changes do you think would have been made if they HAD done test screenings? Would Godzilla had lived? :shock:


It's hard too say since that never happened. But I'm in agreement with Terry Rossio that the Devlin/Emmerich version was unfixable... their whole approach to the material was so off target that minor -- or even major -- tweaks couldn't have helped. Letting Godzilla live, tightening up the pacing in the final 2/3 of the movie would have been band-aids on a fatal injury.


Thanks so much for all the hard and great work on this mammoth, four part article. The fourth and final part was very much a bitter trip down memory lane as I still very much remember almost all of the series of behind the scenes events quoted by both Devlin and Emmerich as well as the fan reactions. Back then I read every piece of printed hype and watched every televised interview that I could, basically drinking in every amount of hype as I'm sure everyone else here did at the time. Godzilla (1998) was the first movie whose production I followed from beginning to end on the internet since my family first got connected in early spring of 1997.

It's a shame the '98 movie got made instead of the '94 movie, but then again in my opinion the '94 movie also had its flaws despite being more reverent to the source material (I didn't care at all for Godzilla's alien origin.). Also, if the '94 movie did get made and was successful, who's to say how the Millennium Series would've turned out if at all? I'm aware Toho had the option to continue producing their own movies while Sony would make their own, but had Sony been successful there might've been less incentive on Toho's part, perhaps letting Sony do the heavy work. Then again Toho is continuing their own movies now despite the moderate success of the 2014 American movie. Speaking of which, would we ever have had the 2014 American movie, a film that was made at least partly in response to the disaster of the '98 movie, if Godzilla '94 came to be a hit? Naturally these things we may never know.

One thing that I am hopeful for is Terry Rossio's planned graphic novel version of his Godzilla '94 screenplay. If Toho and Sony approve, here's hoping either IDW or Legendary gets the publishing rights. Although I did read Eliot's and Rossio's screenplay, to see if fully visualized at least in comic form will finally give this "Godzilla that could've been" a firm and real way to be appreciated, analyzed, and ultimately nit-picked to death just like every other entry in the series. One again, Keith and everyone else at the heads of SciFiJapan, well done! :D
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby TerranigmaFreak » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:37 pm

I finally finished reading the entire thing. What a ride! The entire article could have been made into a movie. Very interesting.

Which design did you guys like better? I found the Stan Winston designs to be superior only because Gryphon looked better. The Godzilla designs were a toss up.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby zilla92 » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:32 am

Wow. What an amazing read. Thank you so much for your time and effort putting this together. It does sadden me that a core group of people who actually cared about the source material and worked their damn tails off got the shaft especially a director who wanted to make the real star the star,while two filmmakers who in my opinion got lucky with one hit, got the keys to the kingdom handed to them only to destroy it. And they wonder why they get so much hate still. :roll:
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Gwangi » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:32 am

TerranigmaFreak wrote:I finally finished reading the entire thing. What a ride! The entire article could have been made into a movie. Very interesting.


Kickstarter campaign! :mrgreen:


zilla92 wrote:And they wonder why they get so much hate still. :roll:


Well, according to the article, Emmerich to this day, still believes he did a good movie. I'm in the agreement with the theory that changes after a pre-screening would have accomplished very little to the overall effect.
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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby kpa » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:25 pm

SciFi Japan’s four part overview of TriStar’s unmade American GODZILLA from director Jan De Bont is now collected in one “monster-sized” article!

http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2015 ... -complete/

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Re: GODZILLA (1994): Jan De Bont's Unmade TriStar Film

Postby Kailem » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:04 am

I meant to post this last week but got tied up with other things, but the last chapter detailing the making of the 1998 Godzilla was an excellent end to what has been a really exceptionally good article. Kudos to everyone involved for putting it together, you really did an amazing job, and thanks for putting together such a thoroughly fascinating and detailed "unmaking-of" article on a subject that's long been of interest to the fandom.

You could really see where things were going towards the end of part 3 with Sony's whole "we're replacing you because we want a Godzilla that's not actually Godzilla" attitude, and yep, sure enough, Roland Emmerich and Dead Devlin just didn't get it either, which was exactly what they wanted to hear. Really a textbook example of what happens to a great property when nobody involved in the making of the finished product, from top to bottom, actually has any clue about what it is, was, or should be. It's sad to see just how close they came to getting it right (even though I'm also unsure of how I'd have reacted to Godzilla's Gamera: GOTU-style origin if the film had actually gotten made) before they completely changed their minds and went in the completely opposite direction.

TerranigmaFreak wrote:Which design did you guys like better? I found the Stan Winston designs to be superior only because Gryphon looked better. The Godzilla designs were a toss up.


I really liked all the designs, to be honest. I think the "final" Ricardo Delgado designs hit just the right spot between that more modern/realistic 'forward-leaning' posture and not going so far in that direction that it felt more like a T-Rex or other dinosaur than it did Godzilla. The Stan Winston maquette is fantastic, and given that the article makes it clear that even that wasn't the real, final design, and everything we saw probably would have gone through a certain number of further iterations before being finalised, even the very minor quibbles I have with it might well have been altered for the actual film. But to me, both designs were on the exact right track; 'it's Godzilla, just a little bit more real'.

The Gryphon I suppose there's more leeway with, since it would have been a new creation. Crash McCreery's design reminds me a lot of the work he did in designing the Kothoga in The Relic, in that he was able to take several completely disparate creatures and blend elements of each of them together into a single animal that, while clearly retaining the characteristics of its component parts, still looked as though it was its own creature. It just goes to show how talented the man is that he's been able to pull that off multiple times now, because it's no mean feat to make a jigsaw puzzle-type design like that actually work. Plus his artwork is just flat-out amazing; that Godzilla pic with the jets is awesome. It's not hard to see why he's still one of the top creature concept artists in Hollywood.

But then I also kinda liked the sense of power you get from some of the Carlos Huante sketches where the Grypthon is a bit more puma/panther-inspired. And I'd certainly have loved to have seen some of those Jack Kirby-style alien designs brought to life on screen as well.

It was a shame to read about how the original design team that Jan De Bont assembled got sort of pushed to the wayside once Stan Winston's team got the job, and it would have been nice if they could have found a way to work together, since by the look of it everyone involved was doing really stellar work, and though their designs might have been different in various ways, they were all clearly coming at it from the same place of respect and wanting to do right by Godzilla, and they were/are all obviously extremely talented at what they do.

Gwangi wrote:
TerranigmaFreak wrote:I finally finished reading the entire thing. What a ride! The entire article could have been made into a movie. Very interesting.


Kickstarter campaign! :mrgreen:


Indeed! You guys didn't happen to film any of these interviews, did you? :P
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