Since the announcement that The Guest and Blair Witch’s Adam Wingard will direct the upcoming Godzilla vs Kong, the director has been having some fun on Twitter with fellow Godzilla fans. Some of this has been enlightening when it comes to speculating what kind of giant monster movie he will deliver, especially since his filmography thus far doesn’t offer many clues.
One of these tweets offers a list of his top five favorite Godzilla movies, which looks like this:
My Godzilla top 5— Adam Wingard (@AdamWingard) June 1, 2017
2.Godzilla Vs. Hedorah
3.Godzilla vs Monster Zero
4.Destroy All Monsters
5.Godzilla Vs Destroyah
I have to admit, while I’m not quite sold on Wingard directing Godzilla vs Kong, that’s a respectable list, one that makes me feel a bit more at ease with this choice.
Starting off with the original Godzilla is a given, not just because it’s great, but for its historic and cinematic significance. Godzilla lists like this should come with an automatic “besides the original” caveat the same way few even bother to mention The Beatles when listing their favorite bands.
So his first choice is necessary but not exactly exciting. That comes with Wingard’s second entry, Godzilla vs Hedorah. This is a pick that actually says something about Wingard, especially up there in the number two slot.
Godzilla vs Hedorah is not an average Godzilla film at all. While most Showa Era Godzilla films were directed by the same handful of guys, Hedorah comes from one-timer Yoshimitsu Banno and his fresh perspective really stands out. There’s a slight hippie vibe to it, not just because of the environmental message at play but also some strange psychedelic sequences. This is also one of my favorite Godzilla movies, and I’m pleasantly surprised Wingard went weird with it right off the bat.
Next, Wingard goes for Godzilla vs Monster Zero, which features King Ghidorah and (ugh) Rodan and has a cool sci-fi plot to go along with all the crazy fighting. Unlike Hedorah, this is a far more typical Showa entry, but Wingard’s no dummy; it’s one of the era’s absolute best.
Destroy all Monsters comes next. This one’s reputation as a great monster free-for-all often overshadows the fact that the movie itself isn’t all that great. It’s campy and fun, but it certainly doesn’t live up to awesome kaiju action you’d expect from its premise. I think this feels like a safe choice, which would worry me if Hedorah weren’t at number two.
Wingard concludes with my favorite entry of his list, Godzilla vs Destroyah, the only non-Showa entry to make the cut. Destroyah is just phenomenal. It has one of the series’ greatest villains, some actually heartwarming moments between Godzilla and Godzilla Jr., and a super cool plot in which Godzilla’s failing body threatens to go nuclear and destroy the entire world. He's literally glowing red and about to explode throughout the whole film. You feel bad for him.
Other than the original, Destroyah is the only entry on Wingard’s list that legitimately looks great, offering not just impressive creature work but shots that provide interesting scope and awe, something I don’t think the Showa Era did all that well.
So if anything can be gleamed from this list - and I’m not necessarily saying it can; I’m just being a nerd having fun here - it’s that Wingard errs more on the campier, funnier side of the Godzilla series and prioritizes that over modern, visually more complicated entries. At least as a fan, anyway. Purists should be happy.
I like his list, even I’m more of a Heisei guy. I think it does a good job of balancing classics without forgoing bold choices. A huge, modern monster movie like this is going to look more or less good regardless who directs. Wingard will work with actors and set the tone, and I kind of don’t mind that from a guy who likes Godzilla vs Hedorah so much. So I’m walking away from this with more optimism than I had before.
And, because I figure everyone would ask in the comments, my top five:
2. Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
3. Godzilla vs Biollante
4. Godzilla vs Destoroyah
5. Godzilla vs Hedorah
You should share yours in the comments!