I love when a director latches onto a visual motif and will not let it go. Gareth Edwards visuals for Godzilla are overwhelmingly in the way they pulsate with the aching beauty of destruction.
Look at the still portrait above, part of a series of concept art for the film released by Vancouver based illustrator Warren Flanagan, and notice how this visual is carried out in hauntingly beautiful variations in the desolated buildings, and assorted attack scenes through out Godzilla.
This is the study of Joe Brody (played by Bryan Cranston) who witnessed his wife die in the destruction of the nuclear facility that opens the film. It is filled with obsession, but more importantly decay, hints of things dying and coming to the end of their life cycle: the decrepit sofa, the yellow newspaper clipping, the worn out rug, the peeling paint and wallboard, the electrical antiques three generations beyond their prime. Brody shares a not so accidental surname history with Sheriff Martin Brody of Jaws. The whole family is fated to fight and kill or be killed by monsters.
Place Brody in the picture and the death analogy becomes realized. The more astute film viewer would not have been surprised by the early death of Joe Brody. To continue the Jaws analogy Joe Brody is Quint fated to battle and die fighting his obsession.
Notice how the framing of this concept still echoes the split diagram of Joe Brody's apartment. The spidery webs flowing back, the green and brown patina layered with moss, mildew, rust and fog echo the fluorescent aura of Brody's diseased soul. His son, Ford, a soldier is seeing, wading through and experiencing the same pain and grief his father has felt for so many years. Fate follows fate.
I love how the foreground detail with its blasted concrete exposing the steel soul beneath serves as a visual shorthand for the background buildings. The bird-like shadow adds a symbolic element. Without the soldiers witness this would have no emotional impact. There are deliberate echoes from Apocalypse Now which add to the beauty and artistry.
This still echoes the same Brody decay on a more intimate and detailed level.
Brody meets his fate. Imagine the after effects and think of Brody's apartment.
The tree branch overhanging the frame gives the feel of a Japanese silk painting. The homage takes on more significance with the bird-like planes and paratroopers gently swaying to earth in the background.
The asymmetrical beauty of ruined structures contrasts with the perfect geometry of the cityscape to give it awe and a haunting ache that echoes memories of 911.
Nature's beauty turned wrathful gives a hint of nature trying to twist mankind back to it. A typical flee the monster scene gets a little symbolic lift.
Man and monsters exist in the perfect representational scale of their existence.
To see more of Warren Flanagan's concept art for Godzilla go to http://conceptartworld.com/?p=34485