Discover how the Japanese monster was reanimated and supercharged for this year’s cinema audiences by its CGI-savvy director
The Book of Miracles; The Art of Watch Dogs; Godzilla: The Art of Destruction.
There can be few people in the visual effects industry right now whose position is more enviable than Gareth Edwards’. Hollywood’s hottest director’s career started humbly enough, providing visual effects for BBC television series, before he made his low-budget film debut, Monsters. His understanding of how to use effects to tell a story led to Legendary Pictures hiring him to head up its $160 million retooling of the Godzilla franchise.
It was a risk for Legendary to place such a huge and iconic movie character in the hands of a relatively inexperienced director, but Gareth’s quiet confidence and intimate knowledge of effects software won the executives over. Suddenly a man who was used to working alone (he did all the camera work and effects for Monsters) was given a hefty budget and a vast crew to work with, including luminaries who'd worked on Harry Potter and The Avengers.
This surprisingly text-heavy tome details every step of the creation of the movie, from initial concept art designed to show the sheer sense of scale Gareth wished to invoke, to previsualisation of certain scenes, setbuilding, photography and the allimportant addition of visual effects. It’s also nice to see a whole chapter dedicated to sound design, an often overlooked part of creating a film.
In addition, a fascinating 14-page pullout details many different designs for the titular beast, ranging from reptilian creatures to the more humanoid final monster. In stark contrast to Godzilla are the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms – giant insectoid creatures that represent his biggest foe – which went through a similar number of iterations.
Gareth is, in fact, one of the world's biggest visual effects geeks, and a massive fan of Making Of books, so it must be a little odd for the director to see a book on himself. “If you looked at my bookshelf at home, you wouldn't see many novels or screenplays, as every spare bit of real estate is largely taken up with Art Of books,” he writes in the introduction.
While the grizzly beast takes centre stage, this book is very much about Gareth’s journey into the big league, and author Mark Cotta Vaz skilfully weaves his story with the ins and outs of a mega-budget blockbuster. Gareth is obviously doing something right too – Godzilla has been heralded as a huge success and as well as developing the sequels he’s also helming a Star Wars standalone movie. We couldn't be more envious.
Godzilla dwarfs an aircraft carrier as he swims alongside it. The film tries to keep him in shot as much as possible.
The giant rogue lizard raises temperatures in San Francisco’s historic Marina District.