A new teaser for “Godzilla: King of Monsters” has been released, and it’s basically just thirty seconds of Millie Bobby Brown looking sad and earnest in some kind of underground bunker.
Brown’s character, it seems is going to be a big focus of the upcoming movie. In addition to her teaser, she also appears front and center on a new poster.
It’s clear – especially going into Comicon – that the creators if this movie really want to emphasize Brown’s role. The hope is that some of her “Stranger Things” popularity will sell this movie to people who might not otherwise have cared.
But Brown’s role could well be more important than this. Depending on how accurate these trailers are, she could be the key element that makes the whole film worthwhile.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Godzilla?
The first “Godzilla” revival of the modern era (and indeed the previous attempt in the ‘90s) has no shortage of star power.
Bryan Cranston alone could have been enough to draw people to a giant monster movie, and I suspect he sold more than a few tickets to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film.
The problem with all “Godzilla” movies made outside of Japan comes from balancing these famous faces with the arguably even more famous face of the titular giant irradiated dinosaur.
Audiences want to see Godzilla wreck the joint, but they also need an emotional reason to care. There needs to be just enough talking between fleshy pink humans to give the awesome Godzilla scenes context.
The more economic a movie studio can be with creating human-based pathos, the more time can be devoted to Godzilla’s antics. This is especially true now that we’re at a “Godzilla” sequel, as the story can no longer be built around a slow reveal for the big scary monster.
(For the record, Japanese “Godzilla” movies don’t have this problem, because Godzilla himself is the protagonist. Westerners just aren’t as good at sympathizing with someone who deviates from traditional standards of beauty.)
This is where Millie Bobby Brown comes in. “King of Monsters” needs a human story to get us invested. So why not just borrow one from “Stranger Things”?
Ground Control to Major Tom
Everything about this tiny new teaser is designed to engender sympathy within the viewer. Brown is tiny and scared and alone, which would be enough to tug on anyone’s heartstrings alone.
She’s also Eleven, and we love Eleven, so our familiarity with this young actor in a different context helps us to care even more about her plight.
As of that weren’t enough by itself, there’s also a lingering shot that focuses on Brown’s bandaged hands. The baby bird is injured! We must protect her!
(Then her bandages disappear in an awkward continuity error. Maybe a large part of this movie will be set in this bunker?)
The effect of all this is pathos shorthand. Through visual cues, we quickly become invested in this little girl’s plight.
Just in time for Godzilla to roll int town and stomp all over her mom.
This is very smart narrative design. With Brown in the role of Damsel in Distress, this movie could be one of the more compelling Western monster movie of recent years.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Brown’s character ends up befriending Godzilla, “The Iron Giant” style.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.