Comic-Con 2013: Godzilla Invades San Diego with Badass 'Encounter'
by Alex Billington
July 17, 2013
Wow. Legendary has upped the ante this year. Part theme park experience, part museum, part Comic-Con viral, Legendary opened the doors to their "Godzilla Encounter" in San Diego today and it kicks ass. The "Godzilla Encounter" as it's known is their Comic-Con push to reintroduce Godzilla to the world leading up to the release of the Gareth Edwards' movie, which just finished shooting. Inside of a warehouse they rebuilt an entire street in Tokyo, complete with sushi/ramen shop and real-world effects, as well as an interactive "experience" when Godzilla attacks. This is, hands down, the best Con viral experience since Flynn's Arcade.
Ever since stepping inside and walking through the experience, all I've wanted to do is tell everyone about this place. The amount of detail put into every corner, every nook and cranny, is incredible. From tons of Godzilla movies (playing on TVs and in a VHS collection) and maquettes and memorabilia, to endless signs and posters everywhere completely in Japanese and themed to the Godzilla universe, to the ramen shop and the actors in gas masks and biohazard suits rushing the innocent citizens through buildings when the giant lizard finally shows up. If anyone is in San Diego, you have to experience this for yourself, it's exhilarating.
We were told no photos or video of the actual "encounter" with Godzilla in the second half, only the Tokyo street and everything leading up to that moment. So I shot a quick 15-second Instagram video of the Tokyo street and opening right up until we were told to put cameras away. At the end, air raid sirens are blaring and everyone is rushed into the next room, a control room, where we take an elevator to the roof and get to see Godzilla outside the windows. Here's my original Tokyo walk-through video uploaded to YouTube:
This Godzilla Encounter reminded me of the Poseidon's Fury theme park attraction at Islands of Adventure, but themed for Godzilla instead and built temporarily inside of a warehouse in San Diego. This is the kind of interactive viral experience I love and I'm glad they went all out and put this much detail into it. This is an experience made for Godzilla fans and meant for Godzilla fans to get completely immersed, and it's going to set a precedent for years to come. Here are more photos of the Godzilla Encounter and everything there:
And finally, here's the hidden collection of every last Godzilla movie ever made - as far as I can tell at least:
For fans: the Godzilla Encounter is located at the corner of J St. & 7th Ave. in downtown San Diego (it's the big red building with Godzilla scars). You must get a ticket/pass to enter the experience, which will be available at the Legendary booth on the showfloor and at GodzillaEncounter.com. You can also download the app for a chance to enter and win more prizes. It's worth it! Just to step inside of this place even once.
Godzilla, being directed by Gareth Edwards (of Monsters), comes from a screenplay written by Drew Pearce, Max Borenstein and Frank Darabont. The cast is lead by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, with Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn and Juliette Binoche. An epic rebirth to Toho's iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world's most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures will send Godzilla stomping into theaters on May 16th, 2014 next summer. Stay tuned for more.