Godzilla against Mechagodzilla, is the 26th installment in the Godzilla franchise and the fourth film to feature Mechagodzilla. The continuity of this movie is so convoluted it’s hard to imagine the initial pitch meeting. Like much of the Millennium Series, this film is yet another reboot ignoring all Godzilla films except the original. However Godzilla against mechagodzilla also takes place in continuity with other Toho films, notably, Mothra, War of the Gargantuas, and Space Amoeba. Mechagodzilla is actually called Kiryu in this movie as well to add to the confusion. We are in the final stretch of our Godzilla review marathon we began so long ago.
The plot is compelling. It revolves around Lieutenant Akane Yashiro, a laser-cannon technician, fails to kill a new member of Godzilla’s species during her first combat engagement, she is made a scapegoat for the military’s losses during the battle and consequently transferred to a desk job. During the battle, it was discovered that Godzilla is immune to laser fire, rendering all of the Japanese military useless against him should he return. Because the Japanese only fight with lasers? I don’t know they don’t go into detail on this point. The military then are gathered to build a bio-mechanical robot from the original Godzilla’s skeleton. Four years later Akane Yashiro is recruited into the pilot program for Kiryu, she intends on redeeming herself and kill the monster should he return. I love her I think it’s fantastic that we are getting these awesome female characters recently. She is a wounded character with relatable fears and interests. She isn’t superwoman she had compelling faults but she is determined. This is telling of how far the genre had come because mostly women were delegated to damsel in distress in the old Kaiju films.
There is an insane subplot that deals with, there is no easy way to say this, bone memory. Apparently the skeleton of the original Godzilla that is inside the MechaGodzilla remembers its past and fights the control of the pilots, to once again cause destruction. There is also a great deal of screen time given to dealing with the running of the mechanical beast. It’s a bit refreshing to see a different reboot on the series that has mostly focused on throwing extravagant monster bashes for a few too many films and let the human characters fall to the wayside. We see them working on the monster constantly, they fuel it, arm it move it, and there is a lot of technical dialog thrown in. some might find this movie boring in fact because it takes a harder science fiction stance.
I like the tone of this movie, it seems they were a lot more in touch with what they wanted to accomplish compared to the last one. The destruction is well shot and very poignant. In fact I would go as far to say this movie shows the destruction almost as effectively as some in the original series. The crowds run in a frantic but orderly patter resembling what we saw in the first film. The fights are less about seeing to monster struggle as it is about seeing the struggle of the humans to preserve Japan. I like this one a lot actually, even though the continuity is ridicules, and besides the main character the acting is all mostly subpar. The music is very interesting some of the pieces harken back to the original series giving it a nostalgic edge over the last few predecessors.
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. It’s a title that just rolls right off the tongue right? But actually it features a monster named Barugun as well I am not sure why he was left off the title, maybe then it would have been considered too long. This film continues the trend of the millennium series of ignoring all past films except the first. Why did Toho insist on doing this? I would have loved to see a direct follow up to G vs. Megaguris. You see people complaining all the time about remakes and sequels but I think this may be the worst offender. This is the 14 the whole series it’s a bit ridicules. This movie like the last one though is a bit more than your average monster brawl there are… wait for it… characters you actually care about! Which if you have been reading these reviews you know for some reason that is a rare feat in this series.
The main three are Chiharu Niiyama as Yuri Tachibana – A struggling reporter who follows Godzilla across Japan. Ryūdō Uzaki as Admiral. Taizo Tachibana – Yuri’s father who is also the admiral of the Japanese Self-Defense Force. He holds a personal grudge against Godzilla after the monster killed his parents during his 1954 attack. And Masahiro Kobayashi as Teruaki Takeda – Yuri’s partner. These three offer a compelling story to tell set to yet another Godzilla rampage. This time they mention that Godzilla is the undead body of the original but that may have been a joke. If not this movie features a zombie Godzilla which I am absolutely fine with. Yuri is incredible she nearly replaces my crush on Miki Saegusa from the Heisi series. Almost…. She is determined to understand Godzilla and to stop him by uniting ancient legendary creatures, while simultaneously following Godzilla every step. Her father intends to stop Godzilla by human force alone but is unsure if it’s possible. Takeda is clearly in love with Yuri and does everything he can to help her but it’s a much understated affair, one that Yuri I don’t think even notices. The choices they are each forced to make counter act each other’s goals but they each are doing what they think is right.
The monsters are all in rare form in this movie. Ghidorah is a good guy for the only time in his career. Mothra is here too she looks a little better than usual because her wings aren’t as stiff moving. Barugun is a little bizarre looking but it’s good to see him, he hasn’t been in a film for almost 50 years. He is the first to fight Godzilla and he loses. Bad. Spoiler alerts Godzilla murders him in just under two minutes maybe that’s why he was left off the title. This film features my favorite Godzilla redesign. The body isn’t as bulky, but what gets me is the eyes. Godzilla has blank white terrifying eyes. I am not sure why they didn’t stick with these eyes because for the rest of the millennium series Godzilla is mostly the bad guy and they really work in accentuating his nihilistic personality. It’s good to see a Godzilla movie like this again.
I am not sure why the Japanese have an affinity for these movies where weird giant space monsters destroy their cities and do battle with the military and each other. There are so many different ones I thought I would give you all my breakdown of the meanest baddest and most awesome TOHO monsters. Some are simple, some are elaborate, and some are amazing. This is guaranteed the biggest Top Ten we have done yet.
Jet Jaguar from Godzilla vs. Megalon ranging from 2 to 50 meters tall is all sorts of zany robotic wizardry. Only making to one film he has plenty of untapped potential. Seriously look at this guy and go jam to the rocking theme song at the end of the film. He is a triple threat, shooting lasers, missiles and of course cruising like a stud. Truly Jet Jaguar sets the bar for humanoid robots.
This dinosaur-like monster originally featured in the 1966 television series, Ultraman. Ultraman is a really awesome TV series, I’ll have to get around to reviewing it someday but the titular Ultraman met his match with this giant creation. He is the only monster to get a reinvention in all incarnations of Ultraman.
At number 8 we have a tie! First up, and generally regarded as female by English-speaking audiences, she is a giant lepidopteron… a giant moth. I personally think mothra is lame but even I can’t deny the impact the monster has had on the genre. Appearing in 17 separate films including her own set if solo films her has quit the career. She is more often than not fighting Godzilla due to his destructive tendencies. Also to solidify her lameness she inexplicable has the most number of victories in battle Godzilla through the series. She’s only has a couple mystical powers and fairies how did she manage that?
Next up, is Varan, one of Toho’s least recognized creations but I feel he has been unfairly maligned as a Godzilla rip-off. He doesn’t boast a strong filmography but his appearance is unforgettable, resembling a giant reptile with skin membranes between his arms and legs, allowing him to glide much like a flying dragon or flying squirrel.
Rodan is nearly as iconic as Godzilla, she has also been just about as ambiguous, and she’s been a villain in her own movie, a rival, and an ally to Godzilla. Her design has been updates as needed but I really like its simplicity. She is just a giant pterodactyl who can conjure supersonic speed and the original Rodan also had the ability of forcing energy from its powerful jaws.
Look at this guy, he’s pretty much Godzilla’s most Iconic adversary, matching him in ferocity is unthinkable and he has a huge array of deadly powers. The creature is capable of tremendous destruction due to its size, and possesses several breath weapons. Three snapping growling heads of death are scary enough, not to even mention the sometimes seen Mecha-King Ghidorah.
Bonus monster: Mecha Godzilla (Godzilla series). Some call it Bionic, some call it cosmic, and I just call it a classy master of destruction. There are a couple redesigns I think the 80’s version is my favorite.
The Gargantuan (War of the Gargantuan) This monster is an incredible example of working with what you have. In war of the Gargantuan we have two giant, humanoids called Gargantuan. We are told they have formed from the discarded cells of Frankenstein’s monster . Kaiju movies are insane. The Green Gargantuan is violent and savage, he’s a giant psychopathic mongrel preying upon human beings I used to have nightmares of him when I was little, and he has more than earned his spot on this list.
I can’t believe she’s only been used in one film. Boasting all of Godzilla powers plus acid spit, a much larger stature, tendrils and overall awesomeness Biolante is a completely untapped resource from Toho. Can she get her own movie?
Gantz is a Toho production too! There are these statues that pop up in the end of the first live action film (and near the middle of the anime) that are beyond badass. There’s way too many to name but they are huge, deadly and terrifying. They earn their spot on this list because I still have to cringe at their keen ability to… let’s just say… trim the cast down to almost nobody.
Giant ape robot with laser eyes being controlled by an evil mad scientist wearing a Dracula cape… that’s just so awesome.
The king of the monsters is a title well earned. He’s been a bad guy a good guy and everything inbetween. There are so few monsters who have lived after standing up to him and after 60 years he kicks ass. Created by weapons man wasn’t supposed to wield, he became a stoic antiwar symbol. Ishiro Honda struck gold with Godzilla, even bad Godzilla movies still have him in it too look forward too. The character has made appearances in so much, movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games. Cheers to 60 more years.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is the 24th overall films in the Godzilla franchise and the 3 millennium series. This one just like 2000 ignores all previous films except the original and Rodan. Not that Rodan is in this movie because he isn’t but some prehistoric dragonflies which were in that also made it to this one. I told you continuity is all over the place for these later movies right? Also I have officially reviewed more of these movies then James bond movies even exist so that should tell you what my movie collection looks like. As far as the millennium series goes this is a really good one. I am not a huge fan of the millennium series as a whole because they don’t really add much. But this one handled the normal formula with a bit of gusto and I found it surprising. the release of Godzilla 2000 proved that traditional Godzilla films failed to attract huge crowds of moviegoers, so plans to give any newer Godzilla films a wide release were scrapped a trend that continued for the rest of the millennium series.
An experimental satellite-based weapon that fires miniature black holes, called the Dimension Tide, opens a wormhole through which a prehistoric dragonfly enters the present and deposits a single egg before exiting through the wormhole. The egg, actually a mass of hundreds of eggs, splits up and starts growing when exposed to water, hatching into large dragonfly larva called Meganulon that come out of the sewer to feed. They flood a portion of the city and molt on the sides of buildings, becoming adult Meganula. Godzilla has reappeared in search of nuclear energy and encounters the anti-Godzilla team testing out new weapons and flying crafts. During the melee a million little dragonflies attack and take some of Godzilla’s DNA. The DNA transforms one of them into a giant able to take on Godzilla. The rest of the movie… can you guess? A three way fight for Tokyo between the monsters and the Japanese defense force.
The characterization is really good everyone feels like a real person and the sets look lived in, lacking the cheapness of the previous film. I like all the characters a lot Misato Tanaka as Kiriko Tsujimori and Shosuke Tanihara as Hajime Kudo are particular standouts and probably the most interesting pair to make it into these films in a while. There is a lot of cameos form people cast in old Showa era films in this movie that only a true Godzilla nerd would catch. The special effects in this movie are great. The soldier’s pilot a ship called Gryphon that looks really interesting. Godzilla has a redesign I find appealing although he does walk a little slow but I guess he is almost 50 years old at this point. The other monster looks a little cheap in comparison but their final fight is worth it. Remember all those people complain about Godzilla being killed in the Matthew Broderick Godzilla? Well Godzilla is also killed in this one by dropping a black hole bomb on him. It’s a really well done scene full of emotion. Oh yeah also almost all of Tokyo is destroyed it maximizes the audience investment by carefully showing all the devastation.
This one is definitely worth checking out in comparison to the other ones to come out of the millennium series. The effects are better than the last movie and even though continuity is all over the place random. The pacing is good you never feel out of breath but you never feel bored like some other Godzilla films. The music is compelling matching each scene perfectly. It strikes a good balance of brawl and emotion that monster films all strive for. Plus the final shot of Godzilla is heartbreakingly awesome.
The first season of Zoids Chaotic Century was really well done; there was plenty of interesting characters, developed character arcs, reasonably good animation. Everything in the first season flowed really well and the logical progression of the series culminated in a fantastic final few episodes. The rest of the series I wouldn’t say is quiet as good as the first half but I still like it a lot and it remains a classic nostalgic anime from my childhood. In fact pretty much the only anime I watched as a kid. I watched it many times because I always thought I had missed the last few episodes, as it turned out cartoon network never aired the last four episodes (which is obviously just like the first season are what the entire preceding story had led to ) a fact that was endlessly frustrating. It wasn’t until recently I actually did catch those last few unseen episodes.
Season two” Guardian Force” is a bit of a mixed bag but still ultimately satisfying. The story picks up 10 years after Vans defat of the Deathsaurer and the death of General Prozan. The world has been at peace for some time and with that time all of our friends have split up. Fiona is still searching for clues and answers to her past specifically the Zoid eve, Van has just finished his final day of training after joining the republic’s Zoid army, Moonbay has not been heard from in a while and Irvine is more or less off doing his own thing. After a plot is revealed that someone wants the civil war to continue, a joint task force is set up by the Gaigelos Empire and the Republic to investigate and patrol the border looking to stop those who want to stir up trouble between the two nations. Van who meets a mysterious man is recruited into the guardian force and after meeting up with Fiona the two set off to begin the new adventure with Zeke in tow.
There are plenty of new characters to round out the old faces who do pop up eventually. A few great villains return, and a few more are part of the overall conspiracy. Most work really well but there is one guy who takes an over the top romantic interest in Fiona. She needs to end up with Van so stay away! There are lots of new locations that are drawn wonderfully, fleshing out the plot well. And many new Zoids make appearances most notably the Deathstinger which is a really cool scorpion thing and a Genobreaker Raven uses which is incredibly scary evolved version of his older Zoid.
The first half of season 2 takes forever to get moving and unfortunately most of the episodes are self-resolving episodes where not much of the plot is moved forward. Mostly the first 9 episodes or so it’s just Van, Fiona, Zeke and the Blade Liger dealing with border pirates. After seeing Van take on Raven these chumps are boring. Story wise nothing starts going until the mysterious man finds a derelict Raven wandering on his own and “awakens him” by giving him an incredibly deadly Zoid with two objectives, kill as many zoid’s as possible(for the zoid core) and Kill Van. I love this character he is very cunning and conniving and is the perfect overall villain follow-up to Prozan. He has a plan an incredibly deadly plan and he is the kind of person you can’t predict until it’s too late. It’s really great to see Raven again back and even more deadly than before to match Vans increased skills as a pilot. When the mysterious man’s plan starts coming together (in the last 15 episodes) is when the series gets really good.
The characters all develop really well and many of the choices they need to make are much more complicated as the series goes on. In fact the wholes series gets more complicated, Zoids are killed, people die, cities are burned, Ravens tragic backstory is exposed and even becomes an antihero to compliment Van, and the Zoid eve is uncovered(but not until those last unaired episodes grrrr). The battles get more intense the Zoids get more deadly. The last story arc is simply amazingly tragic and apocalyptic, it treats its set up maturely and doesn’t back down from complex story decisions. The last half of season two is much better than anything else in the series but the first half drags in comparison to the rest. The combination of compelling characters great sets ups and follow through, excellent animation, big moments, and battles this anime is very entertaining.
We have looked at lost Asian films previously, in doing the research for that list I came across many more equally interesting, well at least close to as interesting as Batman Fights Dracula. These movies represent ten more lost golden jewels form Asia we want to see but unfortunately we will be left in continued suspense probably forever.
I can’t find anything about this movie but its name translates into biting ghost so… ugh a movie about biting ghosts? That came out in India. That’s all I have. Sounds interesting.
A 1923 romance film written and directed by Henry MacRae The film is a romance about a young woman named Suwanna who is the object of affection for many men. In her search for true love, she has many adventures and mishaps, including overcoming her father’s disapproval, before finally finding her soul mate. There is some controversy involving an execution scene and is because of this scene it is believed the film was censored until its disappearance.
Hua Jiao Shue Liu is a Chinese 1946 film not much is known about this movie either not even the director is known. But I think the story involved a couple of traders who had run in with thieves, I guess there was some anti-Japanese sentiment in this film but honestly nobody really knows.
Alam Ara this was the first Indian sound movie coming out in 1931, it was directed by Ardeshir Irani. Apparently it was so popular that police aid had to be summoned to control the huge crowds. The film is a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl, the story centers on an imaginary, historical royal family in the kingdom of Kumarpur. The main characters are the king and his two warring wives Dilbahar and Navbahar. Their rivalry escalates when a fakir predicts that Navbahar will bear the king’s heir. Dilbahar, in revenge, attempts to have an affair with the kingdom’s chief minister General Adil (Prithviraj Kapoor). The affair goes sour and a vengeful Dilbahar imprisons him. The songs in the movie became instant hits but unfortunately the film was burned in an accident.
(Young Miss) directed by Yasujiro ozu who has made up a good portion of the films to make up these lists. Very recently an original poster was discovered at a trade store in Japan. The film involved two lovers one of them was a very independent woman. Ozu was very progressive but he could not hold onto any of his movies at all.
Bhakta Prahlada a 1931 Indian film often credited as either the first or second film to have sound. But it is the first to be in the Telugu language. The movie is based off a very famous dramatic play that has been produced thousands of times about Narasimha who is often visualized as half-man/half-lion. He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. I think that’s what the movie dealt with but it really had a scene visualizing the god that would be cool to see.
Ang Manananggal 1927 is a horror film from the Philippines possibly the first horror movie in the area. A silent movie portraying the manananggal. It was directed by Jose Nepomuceno and the cast list only has one known person, Mary Walter. The movie revolved around the mythical creature resembling a vampire but mostly female and it can detach most of its body at will. I bet the effects alone would keep me interested in this one.
Directed by Fei Mu, this is a 1933 Chinese silent film telling the compelling story of a family stuck in the slums and their impossible struggle to survive and the choices they make meld who they are and where they are going. So it’s kind of like “Do the Right Thing” but in really old China slums. It was highly acclaimed upon its release for its social comments on city life. Some scenes in the film were recreated for the 1991 biographical film “Center Stage” about the life and career of Ruan Lingyu, but there rest of the movie is gone.
An epic Chinese recreation of pieces of their history involving a civil war that united a small village. I really like movies dealing with Chinese history or those that depict ancient battles. There are a lot of really good ones but this may have been just about one of the first. Unfortunately everything in this film from the director to the plot have been lost since the Japanese occupation in world war two. So really who knows what this film was about and what it held. But I am sure I would someday like to find out.
A 1965 Bollywood rip off of Godzilla. What? Yes this is a Bollywood version of Godzilla, staring, Azad and Tabassum. The plot involves party beach-goers, including Asha and Kumar, sight a huge sea monster rising from the depths of the ocean. At first the authorities don’t believe the beast exists but when others start seeing the big beastie, they are convinced that the creature exists. The authorities attempt to dispose of Gogola. Unfortunately, their efforts only manage to anger the monster and, the low rent rampage and dancing begins. As a creature feature nerd I would love to get my hands on this one and judging by the few pictures remaining it was very silly and very bad. It is directed by Balwant Dave, so it is bound to be entertaining…and who doesn’t love silly men in suit action. I have only one question did Gogala join in on the choreographed dancing?
The animated series that served as a direct sequel to the 1998 American film, fixes all the major problems the movie had. It beefs up Godzilla finally bringing home the “next mutation” plot from the movie full circle. In fact I think the filmmakers had even intended the baby Godzilla to all be fire breathing giants, but lackluster critical reception killed the movie series before it could continue. The series also picks a better tone and generally sticks with it making the stories feel more congruent. The series follows the Humanitarian Environmental (or Ecological, in “Area 51”) Analysis Team (H.E.A.T.), a research team led by Dr. Nick Tatopoulos (voiced by Ian Ziering) as they battle giant monsters which frequently appear. Godzilla, the only hatchling of its species to survive in the movie, imprints on Nick and becomes the chief weapon summoned against the other monsters encountered by the human characters. There are aliens giant creatures straight out of any ‘B’ movie, fights, and Godzilla is awesome. The series is everything the movie should have been.
The characters are much more interesting in the show versus their movie counterparts and many of the lackluster characters from the movie are expanded out. Well Audrey is still terrible but luckily she isn’t in all the episodes. Series also introduces two new characters not from the movie: Monique Dupre, a French secret agent assigned by Philippe Roache to keep an eye on Godzilla and H.E.A.T she is probably my favorite character even though I don’t know why Roache couldn’t have just been in the series because they fill the same role. Randy Hernandez voiced by Rino Ramano is also a new addition who specializes in computer hacking. Godzilla himself is everything we wanted in the movie but didn’t get, he fights other monsters almost never runs away, breaths atomic breathe, and generally saves H.E.A.T.s butt all the time. The villain monsters are fantastic my favorite is this giant red garbage looking thing that grows to a huge size and eats have of New York. It’s straight out of a ‘B’ movie. Another time Had Godzilla squaring off against a giant Robot Yeti which had several quick references to King Kong Escapes.
There is a great deal of development that Saturday morning cartoons are not generally known for. Even though most of the episodes are self-resolving there is an underlying story brewing that of course deals with an impeding alien invasion (that is foreshadowed early in season one). I like that the episodes will challenge the characters and put them in situations where they need to learn and we get to see them apply the skills they learned in future episodes. Team members even leave occasionally leaving for a few episodes at a time. The show mixes seriousness with silly in a near perfect blend. There are running jokes throughout the series mostly involving their computer equipment always being crushed and Randy trying to date Dupree these feel familiar after a while and it’s funny to see them pop up.
The episodes are all pretty good with a few real stand outs for those who hated the original movie you will be happy to know they resurrected that monster as a cyborg and killed her off in the same episode. I remember running downstairs every Saturday morning wrestling the remote form my sister and hitting the cartoon circuit. I really liked this cartoon growing up and as an adult looking back on it holds up better then some. The voice acting is hit and miss the Nick seems bored and lackluster, and there is one scientist whose constant “ I have a cold” voice is really annoying but Randy is voiced by the Spider-Man from my youth so I can get behind it for the most part. I like this show I think it fixed all the problems of the movie and it kept my interest until the end.
Godzilla 2000 is a 1999 Japanese kaiju film directed by Takao Okawara and written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara. It was the twenty-third film released in the Godzilla series and only one to feature Orga a kind of weird thing I don’t know how to describe. I don’t really like this one, it doesn’t do anything other movies haven’t done better and it doesn’t add anything new to the series. Remember the neatness of the 80’s series how they all flowed into one story? Well this film is the first official movie in the millennium series whose continuity is all over the place. The millennium series unlike the Hesei series ignores continuity established by any previous Godzilla films except for the first one. But a few of them share continuity with a few other Toho features. It’s a mess. Godzilla 2000 is the last in the Godzilla series to make a North American theatrical run until the upcoming one in 2014.
Godzilla is a force of destruction to Japan (what else is new right?). The Godzilla Prediction Network studies the mutant dinosaur and predicts his landfalls. Meanwhile, the scientists of Crisis Control Intelligence find a sixty million year old UFO deep in the Japan Trench. As CCI attempts to raise the UFO to study it, it takes off into the sky on its own. Godzilla arrives and battles the Japan Self Defense Forces in just about the only worthwhile scene, but the UFO appears, searching for genetic information that only Godzilla possesses. It fights Godzilla to a standstill, driving the monster underwater, and then lands to replenish its solar power. Yawn.
The founder of the GPN discovers the secret to Godzilla’s regenerative properties but so has the UFO. Which has begun to drain all the files about Godzilla from Tokyo’s master computers. The rest of the film is an incredibly drawn out scene where Orga appears monsters lamely fight and the two scientists groups argue. The story is extraordinarily boring. I am not sure how the 1998 film gets so much hate but this one is relatively unknown. It’s slowly paced, drawn out, confusing, and all around not fun to watch. This was the first Toho flick to use an abundance of CGI and it looks so out of place. There is a scene where Godzilla swims underwater and it looks like it was thrown together in 5 minutes with Photoshop. Orga’s space ship looks like a giant brown nut and when it flies its very laughable. Orga himself looks ok as does Godzilla when they are both not CGI of course. But none of the sets feel real there is never any sense of dread except for a scene near the beginning that has the GPN being chased through a tunnel.
None of the characters are memorable, I don’t even know if they gave many of them names. There are a lot of random slap stick scenes that pad the run time with nonsense. Did I mention there is nothing interesting happening in this movie? So on top of not being invested the audience is just left bored. I remember seeing this movie in theaters and being left really confused because I genuinely thought I was walking into a sequel to the movie I had enjoyed a few years earlier although to be fair the first time I saw it was the last day of my summer vacation at the time so it has always left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think this one is worth your investment despite it having one of the last original monsters.
Well this is a bad one. I’ll be honest I have a complicated view on this movie; I was eight when this movie came out and I was obsessed with monster films. My parents let me watch King Kong, Jurassic Park 1 and 2, Jaws and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on from the Toho universe. So when I started seeing the ads for this movie originally I knew I needed to see and when I did my eight year old self was not disappointed, and my mom was awesome enough to take me to this movie twice in theaters!(how she could stomach that I’ll never know.) I know that anything but heaping on the odium for this film is completely out of the norm and I have never met anyone who has said anything nice about it. I am alone in my nostalgic enjoyment I understand that so I’ll try and deconstruct this films negatives(don’t think I don’t see them) and present what I see as overlooked positives. I will also offer up the one suggestion I think would have made everything in this movie awesome.
Off his success from Independence Day, Roland Emmerich took the reins on what is the beginning of the Millennium series of Godzilla films. He seemed like a great choice having experience in the “popcorn genre” and an understanding of the use of special effects to accentuate film. It had been about five years since a Godzilla movie had been made and this was the first once since 1985 to play in American theaters. This is also the first attempt at a true remake of the original, although later films put this in continuity the idea was for this to be a standalone American Godzilla, and after the great Jurassic Park films American audiences were ready for something special. What we got instead was well…deficient.
I will fully admit this film has many flaws; the acting is so dry it’s like choking on raw oatmeal. The dialog is stilted and cheesy. Most of the characters are about as interesting as the history of taxation rates in Scandinavia. The ending rips off The Lost world, the characters are frustrating, and it’s perfectly accepted that a giant lizard can hide in New York City. On that note Godzilla is lame in this movie she looks really weird and seems to change size all the time. She also spends most of the movie running away from tanks… Tanks! Godzilla doesn’t run from tanks. There was no monster for Godzilla to square off against and the film wasn’t clever enough to make it a more complex story about mans need to control nature. The movie’s premise and execution are almost completely at odds with each other. Setting the Godzilla lore within a grounded and more realistic world wasn’t handled well. Godzilla is inherently a silly one so setting it realistically leaves the audience frustrated this isn’t Batman we are dealing with this is a Giant city destroying lizard. To further underline the failure the movie almost always leaves the audience confused. If it was supposed to be serious if we are supposed to be in constant tension for our characters lives, why is everyone hamming it up and chewing the scenery? How can the audience relate to the situation on a meaningful grounded setting when every character makes jokes?
Even though this movie is a terrible use of the monsters name I still like it and think that many of the positives get forgotten through all the disappointment. The opening scene where the fishing ship gets destroyed by an unseen force is brilliant. It plays into the slow reveal all good monster flicks have and it gives a level on mystic the monster needed. The scene where the American fishing boats sink adds to this and builds excitement to finally see the monster. Even though the monsters new design is underwhelming. The Philippe Roaché character is fantastically wasted in this movie. He is by far more interesting than anyone else and the acting by Jean Reno gets criminally little screen time. The movie should have followed him and told his story. You know what else would have improved this movie? I think they should have gone all the way and embraced the silliness of the original series and made this a sequel to Independence Day leaving for a third film Godzilla vs. alien plot. If I didn’t have nostalgia goggles I could probably hate this movie, but I don’t I just look at it as the start of the underwhelming unneeded age of the Godzilla film series.