The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review

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When most people think of monsters the words beauty and art don’t come to mind. However, there is a real beauty that lies in the details of monster creation and design. The monsters featured in the new Godzilla: King of the Monsters film are a prime example. Many of Godzilla’s former foes make a return giving ample opportunity for creature creation.¬†Fortunately, the creators of the film have released an artbook dedicated to some of the most legendary Kaiju in existence.

The Forward by the Director

Michael Dougherty is the director of the film and wrote the forward for the artbook. He recalls fond childhood memories of watching old Godzilla films and obtaining his favorite Godzilla toy as a kid, which he still has to this day.

“It was Christmas 1980 and what I wanted more than anything was a GodzillaShogun Warrior.”

“For children of the 1980s, it was the holy grail of Godzilla toys, probably because it was pretty much the ONLY Godzilla toy out there. Thankfully, Santa came through that year and I found the King of the Monsters waiting for me under the tree, and much like a kid getting a Christmas puppy, a deep and meaningful friendship was sparked – one that would last decades”

“And now, decades later, not much has changed. Most of my childhood toys were eventually lost to donation bins and garage sales, but that Godzilla Shogun Warrior still stands watch in the corner of my room. Protecting me, encouraging me, and reminding me of a quiet childhood wish – to one day make a Godzilla movie.”

The mentioned Godzilla toy. Image obtained from toyark.com

That’s the kind of love that runs deep with fans. It’s great to read that a director has a passion behind what he’s making. When it comes to giant monsters, known as Kaiju in Japan, Godzilla is definitely one of the most beloved characters. What started as a childhood dream came to reality, which is really inspiring.

Book Sections

  • Foreword by Michael Dougherty
  • Introduction
  • Pre-Production
  • Dr. Emma Russell
  • Pre-Visualization
  • The Temple of the Moth
  • Madison Russell
  • Making Monsters
  • Mothra
  • Mark Russell
  • Mark’s Cabin
  • Monarch Organization
  • Castle Bravo
  • Godzilla
  • Dr. Stanton & Sam Coleman
  • Outpost 32
  • King Ghidorah
  • U.S.S. Scorpion
  • Outpost 56
  • Rodan
  • Alan Jonah
  • Jonah’s Base
  • The Argo
  • Osprey
  • G Team
  • Godzilla’s Lair
  • Boston
  • Author Acknowledgements

It might seem like a lot of sections for one book, but considering some of them are only a couple of pages long makes up for that. Plus, the one-page character bios are a nice way to feature each character without overwhelming the reader with too many details.

Special Aspects About the Book

The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters is definitely a labor of love through and through. Not only was a lot of detail put into making the book itself, but it does a good job showcasing all of the detail and dedication put into creating the film itself. From character design and bios to set choices, it really lets the everyday person know what kind of work goes into making the blockbuster films.

In the pre-visualization section, it talks about what needs to happen before filming can be done.

Most movies use storyboards during pre-production. These are a series of drawings, not unlike a comic strip, that render the screenplay in visual form, illustrating what individual shots will look like.

However, storyboards are not enough for a movie as loaded with visual effects as Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The movie relies on pre-visualization – aka pre-vis- a digital animation process that allows the filmmakers to look at their concepts and determine what changes they want to make. It shows not only character movements and the size of the shots, but also the placement of cameras and equipment. This allows everyone to show up on set knowing exactly, how the cameras will move, and where to make space for the monsters that will be added later by visual effects.

It’s interesting to see all of the pre-planning that goes into making a movie like this before they can even know what the monsters will look like. Speaking of monsters, the biggest draw in this book is all of the monster artwork that’s shown off.

Final Verdict

Overall, I think this is a great collector’s item for any fan of the Godzilla franchise. It ties well into the film of which it was created and it gives lots of details. Sometimes, those details are a little too much because, let’s face it, who really cares about any of the human characters? On the other hand, some fans do love that level of detail, so it really comes down to what you feel is necessary. However, any fan will agree that the inclusion of multiple pieces of kaiju artwork more than makes up for any shortcomings this book may have. Which, honestly, are that many.

You can purchase The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters from Titan Books.

Good

  • Great Creative Insight
  • Lots of Great Artwork

Bad

  • Some Unnecessary Details
9.8

Amazing

Length of Book - 10
Quality of Concept Art - 10
Connection to Movie - 10
Quality of Information - 9
A writer, video game enthusiast, Halloween nerd, and an author of stories.
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