Too Big to Die: 'Godzilla' Looms in the Future, '300' Digs Further into the Past

Godzilla/Image © 2000 Tristar Pictures
Godzilla/Image © 2000 Tristar Pictures

Some people never learn. Word on the street is that Warner Brothers will be releasing a new "Godzilla" movie in May of 2014. Have things changed so much since 1998's notorious reboot that this actually sounds lucrative? The original films are universally available and still as enjoyably terrible as ever.

Speaking of disasters, we can now bask in the grandeur of the first film ever to bring New York City to its knees. In the 1933 film "Deluge," Manhattan is beset by earthquakes and flooding, swallowing up its skyscrapers as if they were chintzy plaster models (which, in this case, they are). It's very satisfying to be able to trace this tradition of smashing the Big Apple back to its origin. Which inspires us to ask: Where the heck is our "Cloverfield" sequel? Well, the IMDB page was updated as recently as this May, claiming that it's actively in development.

Meanwhile, another gigantic CGI-enhanced blockbuster, "300," is heading in the opposite direction, toward a prequel, a nice way to ensure that all the same people can appear in it (Rodrigo Santoro will reprise his role as Xerxes). The movie will be called "300: Rise of an Empire," a title that betrays a little gutlessness on the part of the studios. Did they mean to make everyone wonder whether this would go straight to DVD, or was that just a happy accident?

After three rather brainless items in a row, here's a pop quiz: Why don't we understand the works of Franz Kafka? The TLS asks and answers this question quite intelligently, picking through many of the author's stories and a few recent scholarly attempts. Are we any closer to understanding the man and his ideas than we ever were? Something tells me we're still many years and several "Godzilla" movies away from being able to crack that particular nut.