If not for an enthusiastic test-screening audience, we might have lost one of the most badass moments in the new Godzilla flick.
The American reboot of the King of the Monsters was a runaway box-office hit this past weekend, pulling in more than $93 million domestically in its first three days, along with more than $100 million in international box-office revenue. The film's initial success was so monstrous that Legendary Pictures has already announced a sequel, and the Internet is still buzzing with reactions to director Gareth Edwards' kaiju epic. Apparently, though, the film was almost a little less epic.
When the monster-versus-monster action really revved up in the third act of the flick, we got no shortage of awesome displays of kaiju power. We saw the MUTOs setting up their nest in the middle of San Francisco. We saw Godzilla take on both MUTOs at once and nearly lose the battle; we saw Godzilla smacking the male MUTO into a skyscraper with his powerful tail. And, of course, we saw the legendary atomic breath go to work. In a recent episode of the Empire Podcast, Edwards revealed that he considered augmenting the classic atomic breath look.
“It was always going to be blue. At one point we dabbled with lightning, to make it a little bit more to do with nature, in terms of god-like destruction," he said. "But it was considered not enough like classic Godzilla."
The atomic breath got its crowning moment at the close of the film's climactic battle scene, in which Godzilla is struggling to defeat the angry female MUTO. To finally put his foe away, Godzilla yanks open her jaws, leans over her mouth and breathes atomic fire straight down into her body. It's an awesome moment that got massive cheers in my screening (and apparently I'm not the only one), but when Edwards and company first came up with it, they thought it was too silly, and that it would eventually have to be cut.
"And that moment, actually, working out how we were going to kill the M.U.T.O., we made a last-minute decision: ‘What if he just pulls apart [the M.U.T.O.’s jaws]?’ We were going to just break the jaws, and it felt like that was too much like King Kong. ‘So what if he just vomits blue breath? Nearly a kiss?’
“We thought we weren’t going to get away with it. ‘This is absurd,’ we thought. And then we sat and did a test screening and it was everyone’s favourite moment.”
So one of the best moments of kaiju madness we've ever seen stayed in the movie, and Godzilla was all the more spectacular for it.