Comic Con: The Godzilla Experience takes you deep into the streets of Tokyo!
Comic Con 2013 is set to kick off today with preview night, but that hasn't stopped a certain giant green lizard from making a bold first entrance to the event. The GODZILLA experience, put on by Legendary Pictures, has recreated the look, feel, and nostalgia of the Toho property, complete with a "working" downtown Tokyo environment and a theme-park like ride through the control rooms, elevators, and office buildings that have come to be synonymous with the roaring, monster-battling reptile.
Upon entering the event, we were treated to signage that outlines just what's in store for us, including atomic level activity. Once inside, an overturned police car, rubble, and smoke fill the landscape, as we step onto the "streets" of downtown Tokyo. First up is a series of intracately place props, including the original suit from GODZILLA: MILLENIUM (1999) and a number of assorted props.
Venturing forth, a working sushi bar appears with Japanese staff and customers, serving up sushi from their Godzilla-themed menu. Don't try to speak English though, as you'll only be met with polite stares and some yummy sushi rolls. If you talk to the lone patron, a Japanese businessman, he'll rant and rave about the giant lizard, pointing to newspaper clippings on the wall. After you've had something to eat, you can do some window shopping, complete with outlandish Japanese outfits and retro-themed t-shirts. If you're a fan of Godzilla merchandise, this place has it all; comics, movies, and a massive selection of GODZILLA figures that any collector would die for.
But, before we can get settled in, all hell breaks loose and we're suddenly whisked away to safety and scanned by men in hazmat suits giving the "all clear" and then suddenly shoved into a massive control room with all the blinking computers, buttons, maps, and footage to make you feel like you're the head of the command theme. But, before we settle into the captain's chair, we're shoved into an elevator, rumbling and shaking, lights flashing, and role players screaming like the building is about to fall apart. Suddenly, a door opens and we're in an office building, looking out of smashed windows at a rain-soaked city scape. All is quiet until...a giant f*cking lizard comes rumaging across the "window" and it's a familiar, yet tweaked face we've all come to know and love.
Gojira himself (although, not the "final" version we're told) walks across the screen and disappears, before reappearing and sounding off with his signature call, causing me to get all goose bumps and nerd jitters. "That was pretty damn cool" was all that ran through my mind. In an instant we're pushed out of the office setting and into the safe zone (i.e. the end of the tour), left with an overwhelming sense of atmosphere and coolness.
Although we were told that the GODZILLA we saw isn't the final one, but a composite of what animators are working on, it is still LEAGUES cooler than the pet lizard we got in Roland Emmerich's abyssmal adaptation. This one is the perfect update to the classic man-in-suit costume (complete with very prominant back spikes), even if not the final version, which makes me think that, holy shit, they just might get GODZILLA right this time.
All in all, the GODZILLA experience is one of the coolest promotions for a film I've seen yet and for those who are attending comic con and want to get in on the tour, I highly recommend it. Well worth the trip and if the movie is anything like the event, then I think 2014 will be a fine year for the thunder lizard.