Comic-Con: Godzilla Experience offers early look at new monster design

July 22, 2013 | 7:52 a.m.

If the Godzilla Experience offers any indication of the scope and, well, sheer size of the upcoming Legendary Pictures’ movie directed by Gareth Edwards, then the film’s feature creature may be just as impressive as Guillermo del Toro’s kaiju in “Pacific Rim.” Add in a mix of nostalgia and who knows what kind of destruction Godzilla could wreak on the box office.

We lined up outside of a nondescript (except for the picture of a huge creature painted on it and symbols in Japanese) building in the Gaslamp Quarter to await our guide. During what starts out to be a tour of Godzilla memorabilia inside the building on a small set, complete with a malt shop/diner, our group was suddenly whisked from the showroom to the behind-the-scenes headquarters where it seems scientists are tracking Godzilla’s movements and all heck has broken loose.  It was also at this point that we were conveniently told to turn off our cameras and recording equipment. People are in a severe panic mode because, wouldn’t you know it, it seems the monster has come ashore in San Diego. That’s a long swim from Tokyo.

It gets even scarier when we are hurried inside of an elevator to escape the rampage that has reached our doorstep (why is it that we seem to be going up?). The rumbling lift stops and we are told to go through an office to go out of the emergency exit. And that’s when we see it. Through the office windows of our high-rise, Godzilla walks past the building. Massive, muscular and menacing, it doesn’t have the feel of the man-in-a-suit Godzilla many of us know.

Up close, as he comes back into frame with his eyes peering directly at us, this Godzilla looks like he’s thinking … of the best way to devour us. Even the kaiju of “Pacific Rim,” though they learned from clone to clone, did not seem as calculating.

Or maybe it just wanted to smash. Who knows? The group ran out of the emergency exit and our Godzilla Experience was over. The exhibit makes you feel like you’re the cup of water from “Jurassic Park” as the T. rex approaches. It’s as fun as you make it — we yelled and screamed throughout the ordeal — and is a nice promotional tool.

– Jevon Phillips

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