What Would Godzilla And Other Movie Monsters Really Sound Like
So you get the magical axe, the TRON spaceships, the little girl with the persistent tear shining wetly on her cheek, telepathic links, a fusion defibrillator, a couple of overweight comedic relief sidekicks, a conspiracy, a new evil corporation, a hot lady villain in a tight outfit, a shameless ploy to excite the Chinese box office, and a handful of recognizable actors who look confused. Dumbness abounds, glommed onto everything like papier-mache made from the copious studio notes that obviously poured into the production. Not the dumbness of an auteur, which Warner Brothers bestowed upon us when they let Zack Snyder have a Justice League do-over. But the dumbness of a soulless corporate widget assembled from a half-assed script that can barely stitch together CG sequences and a cast of confused actors who look like they would rather be anywhere else.
What would Godzilla and other movie monsters really sound like
So basically, word on the street is that Godzilla: King of the Monsters freakin' owns on a monstrous level. Director Gareth Edwards made a bold choice in 2014 when his Godzilla featured a distinct lack of Godzilla, and King of the Monsters seems to have remedied that by having the titular beast and his massive foes cause as much Kaiju mayhem as possible. If you thought modern-day monster flicks didn't have enough building-sized creatures walloping each other in the face, King of the Monsters sounds like the movie for you.
Giant monsters are all over movie screens these days thanks to hit films like Pacific Rim, Jurassic World, Kong: Skull Island and more. Some of these movies have achieved their thrilling monster scenes by throwing realism totally to the wind, while others have attempted to at least somewhat adhere to biological fact when rendering their creatures.
A monster like Godzilla isn't expected to even come close to what exists in nature, since Godzilla is a totally fictional character, but what about the dinosaurs and dinosaur-like creatures in movies like Jurassic Park and Kong: Skull Island? Though dinosaurs obviously no longer exist, they did once actually roam the earth, eating and being eaten, and scientists do actually have some theories about what their vocalizations might have sounded like.
In the above video from The Verge, dinosaur experts give their insights into what kinds of noises real dinos would have made as they stomped around in their jungle habitats. It's quickly pointed out that, unlike the human-chomping dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, real predatory dinos would not have made themselves conspicuous by roaring while chasing their prey. With that disclaimer out of the way, scientists tell us that since modern-day large birds and crocodiles are related to dinos, their low-pitched, rumbling noises are probably more-or-less what dinosaurs sounded like. So, if you want to hear a dinosaur, just get an ostrich angry.
Things get a little more interesting and weird when considering the duck-billed dinosaur, a strange dino form with a huge hollow crest on its head that scientists believe produced noises when the animal breathed. According to experts, these dinosaurs likely made low buzzing noises not unlike the sounds of a didgeridoo. Interestingly, all these real dinosaurs are thought to have produced noises of the low-pitched variety, while movie dinos tend to emit more piercing, high-pitched shrieks. Moviemakers for whatever reason seem to think that high, shrill sounds are more effective than low, booming rumbles.
When producing a movie, naturally the filmmaker is going to be more concerned about creating a thrilling action scene than sticking strictly to what is believable scientifically. With the monsters in a movie like Kong: Skull Island, reality isn't an issue since we're dealing with creatures that, though they may be modeled somewhat after real creatures, are totally exaggerated in terms of their proportions and behavior.
A movie like Jurassic Park may arguably have more responsibility to get the physical characteristics of dinosaurs right, since the creatures actually did once exist (Jurassic World at least can escape through the loophole of genetically-altered extra-large dinosaurs). But when it comes to sounds, since no one has ever actually heard a dinosaur, the whole thing is sort of up in the air. In The Lost World: Jurassic Park for instance, the noises of cows were used in creating dinosaur sounds. As for the question of whether a person could actually train velociraptors -- that one will have to be addressed at another time.
As for the idea behind the monster, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was looking for a project to work on after another film he was involved with got scrapped. Given the popularity of such films as King Kong among Japanese audiences, he decided to create a similarly themed movie. Except in this case, the monster would function as a not so subtle metaphor for the devastation of nuclear destruction and its radioactive aftermath- hence Godzilla being a prehistoric creature awakened and energized by atomic explosions, and who in turn shoots a radioactive heat beam out of its mouth, leaving a wake of death and destruction, with many survivors in turn suffering from radiation sickness.
Switching it up, sculptor Teizo Toshimitsu and art director Akira Watanabe decided to base the design of Godzilla on that of dinosaur, specifically the T-Rex, with elements of other dinosaurs such as the Iguanodon and modern reptiles like the alligators thrown in. On top of that, to double down on the atomic radiation association, they put keloid scars all over its body, which would have been familiar to Japanese audiences, with these scars commonly showing up on survivors of the nuclear blasts.
Finally, to get proper echo sounds, as well as what it would sound like from within a building or a car, etc. (basically different ways it might be heard in the final film), they managed to convince the band Rolling Stones to let them use their tour speakers. They then set everything up outside at various locations at Warner Brothers studios, and simply blared the roars at high volume and recorded the result from various other locations nearby.
The sound effects team originally tried to create Godzilla's roar by using animal roars that had been edited. They sampled all kinds of birds and mammals, but nothing seemed to be the right match for the reptile-like noises a monster like Godzilla would make. Akira Ifukube, who was the film's composer, proposed stepping away from using animal samples. He took a string off of his contrabass and rubbed it with gloves soaked in pine tar. The sound that came from it was used as Godzilla's roar. This roar would later be altered for use as the roar of other monsters in the Showa Era, including Varan, Baragon and Gorosaurus. Godzilla's roar can be written in readable characters and has been done so in comics, and not only by a simple "roar." In Japanese, the official onomatopoeia for Godzilla's roar is "Gyaoon" (ギャオーン Gyaōn)--additional "o"s can be added to extend the roar. In the 1998 film, Sound Designer Scott Martin Gershin combined the Showa Godzilla roars with with metal slides, trumpet sounds and various pre-recorded animal sounds, such as those of elephants and leopards. Gary A. Hecker, Frank Welker, and Gershin himself provided additional vocals. Sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn created a new Godzilla roar from scratch for Legendary Pictures' 2014 reboot. They first tried the same glove-on-a-contrabass technique pioneered by Akira Ifukube, but found the results weren't quite right for the era of 12-channel IMAX theaters. Their breakthrough was metal friction. According to Aadahl, "Dried ice supercools certains types of metal, and it starts contracting and vibrating and produces this shrieking and bellowing." For the rumble at the end of the roar, they manipulated recordings of a potted plant raked across concrete. To capture how the roars would resonate in a city, they blasted them from the Rolling Stones' tour speakers in a Warner Bros. backlot, which could be heard from about three miles away.
Narrator: Now, Godzilla does look pretty sluggish in the films, but it turns out, in reality, it would look more like this. But even if Godzilla could move super fast, he wouldn't have time to fight enemies or demolish buildings because he'd be too busy sunbathing. All animals need a way to regulate body temperature. Reptiles and other cold-blooded animals stay warm by basking in the sun.
But in Godzilla's case, heat from the sun would have to travel through meters upon meters of tissue to penetrate his hide and reach his internal organs. So to stay warm, he'd have to spend hundreds of hours straight sunbathing. But what if Godzilla were more like a mammal? Like us? He wouldn't need to rely on the sun since we warm-blooded creatures produce our own body heat. But unfortunately, that would cause yet another problem.
On May 16th, the newest incarnation of cinema's most nefarious mega-monster will start surging through movie theaters across the States. This is the first Godzilla re-boot in a decade, and based on what we know so far about this installment in the Kaiju franchise, this version genuinely looks awesome. We're talking really epic. It doesn't hurt that it stars Bryan Cranston in his first leading gig since Breaking Bad's finale.
The Movie Bit has made a video compiling all the statistics from both the production of the feature, as well as the nitty gritty measurements of what this monster would look like if it were actually real. To start, the video effects are so sharp and powerful, it would take 445 Years to render Godzilla on a single computer. In other words, the design team would have had to start working during the Renaissance to get this beast up to par for a May 2014 release.
Not only were 4 CGI artists hired from Moving Picture Company to create the scales, but it took them 6 months to fully nail the texture, which includes 500,00 polygons used in the 3D-modeling process. Oh, and the four CGI gurus are on top of the 762 other visual effects crew members hired to work on this film. To give a little more VFX insight on the making of Godzilla, there are 960 visual effects shots through the whole film, and 327 shots specifically of the monster. The trailer might just tantalize us with a couple Kaiju cameos, but it sounds like the eponymous giant will be getting plenty of screen-time.