Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Updated 06/28/2020: Gave more detail about the actors and the soundtrack.
Godzilla Heritage was a Kickstarter project that was started by Greg Graves and his team at Perception Entertainment. However, due to not being able to get the project fully funded and having to compromise with the lawyers of Godzilla's parent studio, TOHO Co. ltd., the project was at a stand still.
The project would have used a large roster of monsters with Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan, Kumonga, Rodan, Mothra, Kamacuras, and a new monster called Ryujin.
Following in his grandfather's footsteps, United World News reporter Jack Martin finds himself in the middle of an attack by a family of super fauna known as Anguirus. Unknown to him, Jack is about to witness a fight between Anguirus and his grandfather's greatest nightmare and perhaps humanity's only hope, Godzilla.
First off, I want to say thank you to the developers of this fan film on their hard work. When this film project was first announced in 2013, Godzilla Heritage showed a lot of promise and I will never regret backing this project. Usually most developers would have given up on their projects by this point, but you guys stuck to the bitter end just so you can deliver something to your backers. For that, I give you guys kudos on delivering.
Before the movie began, director and producer Greg Graves and actor Tim Schiefer gave some insight on how they came up with the idea for Godzilla Heritage. It was an idea that was tossed around in 2009 as a short film on how they wanted to see the fight between Godzilla and Anguirus, but the concept grew into being a full length film. What was delivered was test footage of what the final film would look like. This short would've been used to garner more funds for the film until TOHO's lawyers in America stepped in. Despite being given the go-ahead from TOHO on the project, there were guidelines such as not having "Godzilla" in the title, the film can only be 50 minutes at max, and they were not allowed to crowdfund the project. So in the end, the test footage that would have helped fund Godzilla Heritage became the final film.
With that said, Godzilla Heritage leaves a lot to be desired and Greg and Tim did admit that the final film is not as polished as they would've liked. It is very telling that there are pieces of the movie's story that is missing and that cliffhanger ending really wanted me to know more about what happens next. It left me with more questions than answers. What motivates Jack to document the monster attack? Is the news station that he works for going under or does he have an obsession of being like his grandfather, Steve Martin? Why is the family of Anguirus attacking Batavia Island in the first place? Did Godzilla drive them there? And what is Godzilla's relation to Anguirus? Are they friends, enemies, frenemies? It just leaves me wanting more.
In terms of acting, I think most of the actors did just fine. Tim Schiefer, I think, did the best job acting with his scenes in the whole movie because he is the only one I found conveying some emotion even though his character is always either getting annoyed or upset at the main character, Jack Martin. I do have to say, after just watching it again Tim's character reminds me a lot like T.J. Miller's character, Hud, from Cloverfield. Always seems to have some idea what is going on and you can just catch what Tim's character is thinking when he confronts Jack at the end of the film. I know that he knows Jack is obsessed when he yells, "Enough," and he is trying to make Jack let go of his obsession, which is a great scene and is the scene that stands out to me the most. It makes me want to know more about Jack and what drives him to do what he does. Again, you just know that something is up in that scene.
However, it is also kind of underwhelming since nobody else in the movie seems to care about their safety. Well, I take that back. There are other people such as Jack's boss and the news anchor that are concerned for Jack, his girlfriend, and Tim's character and their safety, but nobody else is confronting Jack about it other than Tim. I would have liked to have seen at least 1 more character be concerned that there are four monsters rampaging in the city and that they should get the hell out of there. As for Jack Martin, I know he is a reporter and he is just being professional by keeping calm while reporting the Anguirus attack, however he could have shown more emotion to what is happening. If you look back at the videos of the 9/11 attacks, everybody (especially the reporters) were in shock as the planes were being crashed into the WTC and watching the WTC buildings collapse. It just seems like in this movie, monster attacks just seem to be a regular thing and Jack and the news anchor seem unfazed by the attacks. In reality, nobody would ever be unfazed by an attack especially if it happens regularly. So the actors who played Jack Martin and the news anchor should have put more emotion into their lines.
I think the soundtrack works just fine to set the mood of the film, but it is not very memorable. I didn't watch the movie expecting any music to be memorable. I did expect at least a hint of Godzilla's theme song in the soundtrack and I guess you would have needed TOHO's permission to use that song? Even though the soundtrack is not memorable it works just fine as is.
The special effects are noticeably rough, but overall the special effects look really good for a fan film. They're not Hollywood levels of special effect, but it isn't unbearable to look at. There are a lot of times where I can't help notice something being a green screen or some special effects look a little out of place, however these things can be forgiven. However, my only complaint is the shakiness of the camera in certain scenes. It makes certain scenes a little blurry and hard to focus.
The designs for Godzilla and the three Anguirus (Anguirusi? Anguiruses?) look really well made. I love how each Anguirus has a different color palette, different sizes, and different personalities to separate which is which. There is the small juvenile whose spikes and horns are not fully grown yet with a mix of white, light grey, charcoal grey, orange, and yellow that all make it look like stripes. Then, there is the female that is all grey with splotches of white on the head. Lastly, there is the large male that is red and charcoal grey all over and has a larger frill than the other two. I like the crocodilian design on Godzilla. It makes him look like he belongs in the water while also maintaining the classic Godzilla look. I especially like how his chest glows as he is about to fire his atomic breath. It reminds me of how the Godzilla from Godzilla: King Of The Monsters would glow as he used his breath attack as well.
Despite the setbacks, Godzilla Heritage turned out pretty good. The movie left me wanting to know more about the characters and their story. There are noticeable rough patches with green screen and special effects, but for a fan film these can be easily forgiven. I think if the project got the funds that was required for the project this could have been quite the movie to watch at full length.