May 20, 2014

Revamping Godzilla's Iconic Roar: Behind the Scenes with the 2014 Remake's Sound Team

Godzilla RoarYou know it when you hear it -- Godzilla's roar. It's possibly one of the most famous monster sounds in cinematic history, which meant that revamping it for the 2014 remake of Godzilla wasn't a task to be taken lightly for the film's sound designer Erik Aadahl and sound editor Ethan Van der Ryn. Aadahl is joined by director Gareth Edwards and producer Thomas Tull in this SoundWorks Collection video that takes us behind the scenes of how the team used an assortment of different sound layers in order to recreate the universally recognized cry of the legendary daikaiju.

Though it may not have been the first monster movie, Ishiro Honda's original Godzilla (Gojira) from 1954 was, and still is, one of the most widely known monster movies of all time. One of the reasons why the film's monster, mutated due to nuclear radiation, has become such a pop culture icon is because of its famous roar.

This famous sound effect was created by composer Akira Ifukube by rubbing a pine tar resin-covered leather glove along the strings of a loosened double bass; the sound was then slowed down during playback. Check out the video below to listen to an assortment of original Godzilla roars:

As Aadahl, Edwards, and Tull express in the SoundWorks Collection video below, recreating one of the most famous sound effects of all time is a huge responsibility, and undoubtedly means paying respect and homage to the original. There's no doubt that mega-fans of the franchise would be scrutinizing their work -- of course they would (we've been burned before), so the sound design team used the original template as a starting point -- even reproducing Ifukube's sound. They experimented with rusty door hinges, drum toms, and an assortment of other objects until they eventually were happy with the product -- which, in my opinion, is just -- epic.

What are your thoughts on the new Godzilla roar? Does it do the original justice? Let us know in the comments below!

Link: Godzilla: Behind the Roar -- SoundWorks Collection

Your Comment

13 Comments

I just saw Godzilla today and although the new roar is great, I honestly think the original is more frightening. The new one has more of a low earthquakey sound to it.

May 20, 2014 at 1:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This year, 2014, marked the release of the latest "remake" of the Godzilla concept. Thankfully, it also marked the release of a digitally cleaned and remastered original Gojira/Godzilla from 1954. I decided to skip the former, but went to see the latter. I'm so glad I did.

For years, that one movie, the original Gojira, not any of the remakes, but the original, has survived as one of my favorite films. The effects, the story, the historical relevance, all of it conspired to make just an incredible cinematic experience.

The sound effect of the original will always be the best, for me, and probably for a lot of others who prefer the "acoustic" version. Why these guys nowadays think they can do a better job with their computers and electronics, I'll never know. Akira Ifukube was a genius. I daresay that Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn are not in the same league.

June 22, 2014 at 7:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bryan Cranston is only in the movie for like 20 minutes. I was hoping he'd be in it for a lot longer. Why do they make it sound like he's starring in the film when he's not.

May 20, 2014 at 10:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Got you into a seat didn't it.

May 20, 2014 at 1:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marshman

I believe it's called bait-and-switch, which never in the history of Hollywood has been pulled off so well.

May 20, 2014 at 10:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

And why did they make it sound like Godzilla is starring in the movie when he's not!

May 20, 2014 at 10:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Awww - totally wanted to see how they made it. Ah well :)

I personally thought the sound mix was rubbish for like the first half of the movie. As in it was one of the only movies that it really stood out to me as a noticeable thing! Everything started out in the centre cluster but way too quite to the point where I thought they had a problem with the rig (it was clearly to give the monsters some perceived weight when we get to see them through a bit of DR play but still it was too quiet for my tastes). Then I also found that the score was too quiet as well during a lot of it.

That's not to say there aren't some amazing sound moments during the movie (wont give any spoilers away but later on in the movie the sound really kicks ass). I just felt like they had put so much into the Atmos mix that the standard mix probably got a bit less love.

Just my thoughts anyway :P Other than that I though the roar was badass.

May 20, 2014 at 1:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The roar was cool. The movie, not so much. At least the producer and director had utmost respect for the roar. But, like I saw someone say, Godzilla should fire his agent for getting him a background/sideshow part, a minor role, in his own movie. I actually wanted my money back, no, not kidding, I wanted my money back. I suppose I could get the money back some how, but how do I get the time spent back? The roar did sound cool in the theater, far better than what you could hear from your computer. But Godzilla was in it for a total of like 5 minutes. It sucked when I realized about half way in there was going to be no cool, long scenes of Godzilla smashing buildings, and fighting monsters. The movie should have been called , "Soldier Trying To Get Home While His Wife Cries A Lot (And Oh Yeah, By The Way, Sorry, There'll Be A Tad Of Godzilla---Do You Mind? We Don't Want To Overdo The Smashing Stuff/Fighting Monsters Thing Lest You Might Think We're Hollywood Action Whores.... Like Michael Bay Or Something)." I don't think the director had the right to change what Godzilla movies are.

And yeah, it was misleading that they give the impression Bryan Cranston is in the whole movie. Also, hey, no Statue of Liberty in the movie like there was in the trailer..... what the.......

/rant over

May 20, 2014 at 10:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

You know that the Statue of Liberty in the trailer was the one at New York New York in Las Vegas right?

I was nervous going into the movie (I saw it the Thursday night it opened) because I had read some reviews about Godzilla not really being in the movie.

I am a casual Godzilla fan (watched a lot of the originals growing up on our local Saturday morning "world beyond" sci-fi show). I felt like there was plenty of Godzilla in the movie. More would have been great, but I didn't leave thinking there wasn't enough. It felt pretty true to the original movies.

May 21, 2014 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve

But yeah, I was pretty upset when Cranston died.

May 21, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve

I thought it was great though I agree with the Bryan Cranston thing. And the 'soldier trying to get home thing'. And most of all the 'let's not overdo the smashing Michael Bay thing', but that was the best thing about it. I'm REALLY getting tired of spending twenty bucks for an IMAX ticket to feel like somebody's banging pots and pans next to my head for two hours. Godzilla's score was much more ethereal and haunting. Which when juxtaposed with some really top drawer visual effects really made the film work, at least for me. Apparently worked for the other 90 million dollar on opening weekend fans also.

May 21, 2014 at 6:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Billy Barber

Well, I was glad the Cranston character had an early end. He was getting repetitiously boring and, well, being quite amateurish. Was afraid he might go on forever since son aged but he sure didn't. And poor Ken Watanabe! Direction must've been simply: stand around looking very thoughtful, you know, really thoughtful. Acting, in general, very mediocre (best actor was the admiral !!). Godzilla battle not only way below par but poorly done; in addition, the poor guy had more fainting spells than a nervous dancing newbie. There are only two reasons to see this movie: 1) for the fantastic CGI and its integration in the film; 2) the list of people who made all that happen. How in the world were they all coordinated in getting the work done? OK, a third: to partially salve the wounds from the superiorly ridiculous previous attempt. Nothing yet, even with super CGI, beats to original showing to go ya story rules.

May 25, 2014 at 11:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I.G. Romov

If they had utmost respect then why ruin Godzilla's signature roar. The guy in charge of sound effects failed on many levels. I.E. Godzilla walks out of the ocean and for some reason his foot steps make no sound all. And for someone to say 90million dollars on opening weekend means the people that spent the money loved what they did = false. I'm proof. It was like a hybrid- Godzilla meets the Notebook. With more Notebook than Godzilla.

June 9, 2014 at 8:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Taryn