The "Godzilla" 3D extravaganza is underway, as the long-gestating project started filming this week in Vancouver.
The latest news on this monstrous reboot is that international star Ken Watanabe ("Inception," "Batman Begins," "The Last Samurai") has joined the cast. Although plot details are scarce, the other cast members so far include Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Anna Karenina," "Kick Ass"), Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") as his girlfriend, and Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") as his stepfather. David Strathairn is on board to play some sort of military man, and Juliette Binoche will also appear in the action blockbuster, though her role isn't quite clear; the Oscar-winning actress is an indie and art house favorite, so it will be very interesting to see how she fits into a big studio movie like this.
Gareth Edwards, who made his name with the indie sci-fi film "Monsters," is directing, and "The Walking Dead" scribe Frank Darabont tweaked the script. There have been a variety of shake-ups behind the scenes with producers and studios, so "Godzilla" is on shaky ground. However, even if you're a diehard kaiju (Japanese for “monster”) fan, you've got to admit the creative forces assembled to bring "Godzilla" into the 21st century are pretty impressive.
“Godzilla” is slated to open on May 16, 2014, just in time for summer action season.
Earlier on Moviefone:
The Beast (‘Beauty and the Beast’)
We might as well start with the original fairy-tale monster, a transformed prince who needs to find love in order to be reverted back to his true human form. But when you look like a biped buffalo, it’s not easy to just venture out of the castle to the local watering hole to meet ladies. Instead he needs to imprison Belle, who fortunately offers herself in exchange for her father’s freedom, and then proves he’s at least good natured. Whether she falls for him by way of Stockholm syndrome or through legitimate charm and caring, Belle winds up reciprocating the feelings he develops for her. And that causes him to return to his manly appearance and live happily ever after.
King Kong (‘King Kong’)
Kong is likened to The Beast at the end of the 1933 film, but the comparison is a stretch. After all, he’s an enormous ape who has always been an enormous ape. He really has no magical hopes in being happily ever after with any human girl, even one as sympathetic to him as Ann Darrow (and even through highly romanticized situations like those in Peter Jackson’s 2004 remake). She fits inside his clenched hand, and she prefers her own species. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any giant female apes. If you go by the authorized sequel novel “Kong: King of Skull Island,” he was left as the only one of his kind when a dinosaur killed his parents. But if you prefer the sequel to 1933 film, he did somehow mate with something or someone in order to have “The Son of Kong.” Kong Jr. is much smaller, so perhaps he fathered the kid with a normal size gorilla. Anyway, Kong dies because he’s a big, angry monster who kills people, so it wouldn’t even matter if Ann did love him back.
Quasimodo (‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’)
Another monster who isn’t winning any hearts by kidnapping women, especially in service to his much more evil master. However, the second time the disfigured hunchback Quasimodo carries Esmeralda away into the Notre Dame Cathedral, it’s in a rescue attempt. She appreciates that he’s a kind creature, but she’d never love him because of his ugliness and she loves the handsome and heroic yet vain Captain Phoebus. In Victor Hugo’s novel Esmeralda and Quasimodo die anyway. But in the Disney animated version, she goes off with Phoebus and Quasimodo merely becomes accepted by society. The sequel is even happier, seeing the hunchback get a real love interest named Madeleine, who is initially disgusted by him physically, but gets used to his appearance because he’s such a good guy.
Erik, the Phantom (‘The Phantom of the Opera’)
It’s one thing to have a hunchback and a wart-covered eye, but when your face resembles a rotted corpse, even kindness doesn’t easily make up for your physical drawbacks. But, hey, why couldn’t a girl like Christine work things out with a deformed musical genius as long as he’s wearing a mask? He acts desperate, though, keeping her by force and later kidnapping her and threatening to kill a bunch of people, including her true love, if she doesn’t marry him. She agrees, but Erik settles on simply a kiss before dying of a broken heart. Here it really is beauty that killed the beast.
Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man (‘The Wolf Man’)
Larry Talbot isn’t the best with the ladies in human form, admitting to his crush, Gwen, that he spies on her with a telescope. Also, it doesn’t help that he pursues a girl engaged to another man. Tragically, he might just have had a chance with her except he gets bitten by a werewolf and becomes one himself. Which would be unattractive enough, but then he goes and attacks Gwen one night and is killed as a result. Interestingly enough, in one of Universal’s many monster mash-up films, “House of Frankenstein,” Talbot and a hunchback (Daniel, not Quasimodo) are both into the same woman, Ilonka, but the Wolf Man at least looks normal most of the time and is the more successful at winning her heart. Well, then he turns into the werewolf and they manage to kill each other.
Scott Howard, The Wolf (‘Teen Wolf’)
Like Larry Talbot, Scott isn’t the most debonair of men. He’s an athlete, but not good enough to attract the notice of the girl of his dreams, Pamela. Unlike Talbot, though, becoming a werewolf actually increases his appeal and abilities for romance, as it makes him better at basketball and just altogether more virile. Pamela wants the wolf, though by the end she’s still into him when he displays confidence and talent in human form. But it’s too late, and Scott actually rejects his crush for not initially loving him for who he really is. He does get a girl, however, finally reciprocating feelings for his best friend, Boof.
Gill-man (‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’)
Whereas a lot of monsters in this list are merely ugly humans or at least partly human, Gill-man is actually another species. That doesn’t stop him for easily falling for women, though. In his first film, he becomes obsessed with Kay, a scientist’s girlfriend along for an expedition in the Amazon, and stalks her. She’s certainly not into the fish face, so he does what any monster in this situation would do and kidnaps her. But she’s rescued and he’s killed. Or seems to be until the sequel, “Revenge of the Creature,” which has him becoming obsessed with another girl -- this one’s name is Helen -- who he again abducts and is (again) shot during her rescue.
Alec Holland, (‘Swamp Thing’)
This creature, originating from the pages of DC Comics, is somewhat reminiscent of Gill-man, but he has that benefit of being part-man/part-plant after being involved in an accident involving chemicals and a Louisiana swamp. Just prior to the transformation, though, there was a relationship brewing with government agent Alice Cable. When she learns her love is now Swamp Thing, she’s still interested after he saves her and ultimately is able to heal her deadly wounds. Yet somehow he does what few men could and rejects Adrienne Barbeau. Apparently Heather Locklear is more his type, as Swamp Thing saves her character in “The Return of Swamp Thing.” And not only does she develop feelings for him, but she’s able to consummate that love thanks to a magic root that makes him look human and hunky to her for a while.
Another green monster from the swamp, Shrek is a grumpy ogre and therefore far from the sort of handsome human prince that Fiona expects to rescue her. Her disgust is initially fine by him, since he wants a life of loneliness. In their travels, though, they warm up to each other and eventually even fall in love and get married and have babies. While seemingly not necessary, it helps that -- in a reverse take on “Beauty and the Beast” -- she winds up permanently transforming into an ogre rather than him transforming into a human.
Count Dracula (‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’)
In Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of “Dracula,” despite the authorial titling, the script adds plot points not from the novel involving the Count’s interests in Mina Murray. He believes her to be the reincarnation of his wife, Elisabeta, from when he was still a mortal in the 15th century, as he heads from Transylvania to London in order to woo her, even though she’s engaged. He charms her then has her convinced that she is indeed his former love, and she welcomes the chance to become his vampire bride. Ultimately, though, while already dying, Dracula has Mina give them both peace by finishing him off and allowing him to enter the afterlife in hopes of finding the true Elisabeta.
Edward Cullen and Jacob Black (‘Twilight’)
One major advantage vampires have over other monsters when it comes to the ladies is they tend to look relatively normal and human most of the time. Edward is a very handsome man who just happens to be immortal and a lot older than he looks. But he is quite pale and doesn’t look quite as good shirtless as Jacob, a werewolf. When both guys become interested in the same new human girl, Bella, the love triangle is drawn out a bit in spite of there being a very obvious conclusion. For a while, Bella and Edward seem like they could make it as a mortal/monster pairing, but in the end “Twilight” is just like “Shrek,” with the couple only succeeding by similarly having the human turned into a monster.