Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” received some well-deserved criticism regarding its weakly structured screenplay and lack of interesting characters. Chief among these is the bizarre decision to dispose of the only person with a relatable motivation before we even get to the second act, leaving the audience with a bland hero portrayed by an even blander actor.
What it does get right, however, is the titular character’s look and sound. Far from the bad “Jurassic Park” cosplay version of Roland Emmerich’s 1998 misstep, the big bad lizard stayed loyal to his Japanese ancestor while bringing something new to the table via the impeccably designed MUTOs, two of Gojira’s most formidable adversaries.
Now you can get an intimate look (and listen) at Godzilla’s challenging sound design process via Soundworks Collection’s 45-minute documentary, “The Sounds of Godzilla.” The doc works almost as an audio commentary, playing off of a montage of clips from the film and behind-the-scenes footage as Soundworks’ Michael Coleman interviews supervising sound editor and sound designer Erik Aadahl and supervising sound editor Ethan Van der Ryn on how they breathed new life into the new Godzilla.
As usual with almost every documentary on sound design, the most fascinating parts involve the unusual sources designers draw inspiration from in order to create the sounds coming out of creatures that don’t exist in real life. In the case of Godzilla, it’s fun to explore how a sneaker, a tire, a plastic knife, and a bus full of traumatized children come together to deliver the final product. You can watch the video below.
As an amusing bonus, if you’d like to see what really goes down during a Hollywood movie’s sound design, you can watch Human Giant’s brilliant sketch on foley artists here.