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Perhaps one of the world's most famous and enduring characters, Godzilla, which Toho Co

Perhaps one of the world's most famous and enduring characters, Godzilla, which Toho Co., Ltd., created in 1954 and still owns, first appeared in Japan in the 1954 release, Gojira. An American version of the film was released in the United States in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, which starred Raymond Burr and Takashi Shimura. Godzilla went on to star in 22 films, including the recent Japanese entries, Godzilla vs. Mothra and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Godzilla always proved to be more than a worthy adversary, as any of resident of Tokyo at the time of his assaults can attest.

It was Godzilla's monumental status (indeed, he stood 400 feet high in the first film) that intrigued Emmerich and Devlin. The filmmakers wanted to deliver a worthy follow up to Independence Day, which established new worldwide box-office records.

"Because of the phenomenal reaction to Independence Day, Roland and I were fortunate enough to travel around the world to promote it. It seemed that in every country, we were asked the same question: how do you follow up a movie like Independence Day? It was a really tough question to answer. The only thing that seemed remotely in the ballpark was Godzilla. It afforded us the opportunity to do something bigger, wilder and more amazing than we'd ever attempted before," Devlin says.

TriStar Pictures approached Emmerich and Devlin, but the duo did not immediately commit to the film. "We passed four times," Emmerich recalls. "I just wasn't sure it could be done without being kitschy. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how fascinating it could be."

"The challenge of Godzilla is that when people think of it, they immediately think of something that has a great deal of nostalgic fun but is not to be taken seriously. For us, that posed an intriguing question: How do we reinvent Godzilla?" Devlin adds. "We feel that only with the advances in special effects technology that exist today can we do that."

Emmerich calls Godzilla "the ultimate monster movie. We hope to push the limits of all the visual effects available. The technology is changing every year, and in every movie we use new tools. In many ways, this film was actually more complicated than Independence Day. It was a huge undertaking."

"It's the kind of movie that played to our strengths," adds executive producer Ute Emmerich. "We are very comfortable with films that involve a lot of different kinds of visual and mechanical effects, and this gave us an opportunity to explore that to an even greater degree."

As in Independence Day, the filmmakers used a variety of shot-specific effects to create the mammoth creature, including miniatures, animatronic models and computer-generated images (CGI). As the production progressed, it became clear that CGI provided the best means by which to conjure up the new beast.

"In Independence Day, we went on a shot-by-shot basis, which meant we filmed things as simple as planes on a wire in front of a moving backdrop to in-camera explosions composed with live-action footage to the most complicated computer effects imaginable," notes Bill Fay. "Our philosophy is the same on Godzilla, to use the best technique for the best result. What we found was that the results we got from CG animation were technically so great that they allowed us to do things with God

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