I Came Face To Face With Godzilla, And Survived – The Godzilla Encounter

Posted by July 18, 2013 Comment

Patrick Dane writes for Bleeding Cool.

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I have a bit of a thing for Godzilla. I write more than my fair share of Godzilla posts for Bleeding Cool.

So, yeah, I was pretty excited when I heard that Legendary were building an offsite installation called The Godzilla Encounter forComic Con. I didn’t know quite what it was going to be, except that it needed to be the very first thing I headed towards when my plane touched down in San Diego.

Now, I know exactly what it is. Legendary have put up an attraction that’s part museum, part encounter with the new Godzilla himself. I went eye-to-eye with him.

Let’s start outside. The rather striking red building, covered in trompe-l’œil destruction, is quite hard to miss. I was met with signs about unusual radio activity, audio playback of police chatter as the boys in blue struggle to understand the king of monsters.

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Once I was invited in, I walked into a scaled-down Tokyo street. The very first thing I saw was an upturned police car.

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The very first thing on your left is an old prop from the original 1954 Movie. It is a lovely bit of Godzilla history and good to see in such a decent condition after nearly 60 years. This was the original weapon of mass destruction put at the bottom of the ocean in order to kill Godzilla. A lot of good that did.

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Although, you are quickly met by the King of Monsters himself, with what is touted as the actual suit from Godzilla Millennium and Godzilla x Megaguirus.

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IMG_0126 IMG_0127As you make your way down the street you’ll see copious amounts of graffiti, adorning a wall with various Godzilla designs. I’ve seen websites claiming these were the current movie’s Godzilla but they are not.

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You will also quickly realise that there is a fully operational sushi bar within the installation. They hand out servings for you to eat, and there were some Japanese extras reading newspapers. Also, on the wall, you will see newspapers that talk about classic Godzilla clashes, dated to each film. Lovely touch.

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There is also a TV store across the way, showing various clips from Godzilla’s “greatest hits”. If you walk into the door way you’ll see the store is covered top to bottom in Godzilla DVDs, a bit like my bedroom.

If you look closely, you can even see a a little Mothra sign. A cute touch. I wouldn’t put any weight into this being a confirmation of Mothra being in the movie. This installation is a museum as much as ‘experience’.

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Next door to the video store, you’ll find a fashion store dedicated to Godzilla himself and sporting the rather trendy tagline “More than a monster, Godzilla is a statement of power the world could wear.”

The store is full of awesome Godzilla t-shirts I would buy in a second – though, alas,they aren’t for sale.

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Finally for the Tokyo section, you see the shop Zilla. On one side of this, there’s a display full of Godzilla collectibles and maquettes on display, hitting almost every era of Godzilla business. There are highly detailed scaled statues to little wooden toys, and plenty to admire.

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On the other side is a rather interesting ‘swirl’ of  Godzilla comics. Pages from Godzilla comic books have been rather interestingly arranged on a backdrop of… more comics.

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And, on top of everything else, the whole installation is just slathered in signage, from the funny, to warnings to the down right weird.

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However, here is where my picture tour ends and you will have to rely on my recollection.

After some time browsing around downtown Tokyo, I heard an alarm and a man ran out asking everyone to follow him. This is where the museum stopped and the ‘experience’ began.

I was ushered into a green-lit lab where I was checked for radiation and saw scientists tinkering away on computers. There were screens showing soldiers shooting at…well, not really at anything; and a a map and radar showing a rather large radius zeroed in on San Diego.

Of course, as these things always go, the green lit room quickly turned into a red lit one as alarms sounded and we were all shaken up by the approach of some very heavy footsteps. At this point, we were all are ushered into a massive elevator.

As expected, the elevator stopped before we got to the roof for “our helicopter evac”. The doors were then pried open by military types and were are ushered into an office, its windows looking out across a cityscape. Everybody guessed what was about to happen next…

…a rather large lizard-looking thing skulked past the window in profile.

And then, when he was gone… he suddenly popped back and ROARED. By crikey, he ROARED.

To describe the new Godzilla… well, he looks like Godzilla. I can’t imagine many fans being disappointed with the design. I’d say he actually sports a rounder head and a shorter snout than the Mondo poster suggests. The glimpses are brief and obscured by a really green colour grade, so it is hard to go into too much detail, but if I had to say that he looked like something…it would be closest to this:

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Also, Godzilla would not be complete with out his iconic roar, which has been updated in a very nifty way. There is the initial roar, which sounds like…well like a roar. There is almost a sting to the sound that felt quite identifiably Godzilla.

If you are in San Diego and even have had even a passing flutter of excitement for next years Godzilla movie, try to get a ticket to the Godzilla Encounter.

It isn’t all that long of an event, but had a theme park attraction feel, and that’s something Godzilla has never been treated to before. I was pretty impressed with what Legendary had pulled off in what is, when all is said and done, a rather small building.

And for those of you not able to go, I am sure the internet will get its first look at Godzilla pretty soon…

(Last Updated July 18, 2013 3:11 pm )

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