At the opening night screening of Pacific Rim I attended with my children, we sat in wide eyed wonder as one glorious monster after another came on screen to do battle with giant robots. The highlight for me was at the end of the scene were Gypsy Danger is battling Otachi and from nowhere the sword comes out and strikes the wining blow slicing the kaiju in half. The theatre fell silent as the giant robot and defeated kaiju tumbled back to earth from high in the atmosphere. From two rows behind me, in breathless exaltation, a young boy stood in his seat and blurted out into the silent room exactly what we all were thinking… “That was AWESOME!”
His raw, exuberant voice expressed that feeling of childlike wonder in a way that hardly any other expression could have. Laughter rippled across the room but we all knew exactly how he felt.
Much of modern popular entertainment is created by people trying to capture that inner child again. When they get it right they take us all with them. Harry Potter became so popular with adults because it reminded many of us of the sense of wonder we felt when reading the Hobbit or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time. I recall being a young child and believing with all my heart that I could get to Narnia if I only had faith.
My great childhood (and adult I am not ashamed to say) love was Godzilla. I was lucky enough that my boys fell in love with the King of the Monsters in the same way I did. So this spring when the critics and “fans” alike were expressing their disappointment at Gareth Edwards Godzilla, my boys and I sat grinning until our cheeks hurt watching our favourite fictional monster brought to life on the big screen once more. Yes the dialogue was wooden, yes the human characters were one dimensional, yes there was not enough monster screen time (there never is btw) but these things were all true to each and every other Godzilla movie that had come before it. The difference was we watched as children not as cynical adults. And guess what? We loved every moment; as did my children watching the new Godzilla.
Godzilla 2014 hit on many more of the true fan Godzilla beats then it missed on and for a very specific genre movie trying and succeeding to find a mainstream audience that alone makes it a rousing success.
So if you haven’t seen the Episode VII teaser yet you must. If you don’t like Star Wars or sci-fi or any genre films really, then do not waste your time and do not waste ours with your criticisms. At their best these things are made for fans by fans. When it is done right we all feel it. Not those of you out there who do not get goose bumps at the mention of the Millennium Falcon or those that couldn’t care less who won the Battle for Hogwarts. This movie is being made by a true fans for all of us faithful who hold on to hope that some creative storyteller out there can take us out of our busy, serious, often stressful adult lives and remind us what is like to be ten again. To really believe in dragons, monsters and wookies.
So to everyone who worked so hard to bring us the new Star Wars trailer…