In 1998, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin unleashed their horrible American
version of Godzilla on unsuspecting audiences. With computer-generated
special effects, a mutant iguana and a ridiculous premise, Godzilla totally
missed the point of what makes a Godzilla movie great: the rubber suit!
The whole idea of suspending your disbelief for two hours while watching
a man in a rubber suit smash a set full of model buildings and toy cars
is a somewhat cathartic experience. Watching a Godzilla movie should be
like watching professional wrestling: you know it's all fake, but it's
awfully entertaining. (Or is that awful AND entertaining?) Two years after
the pretender to the throne was defeated, the real Godzilla returns to
show American audiences what Godzilla is all about.
Starring: Takehiro Murata, Naomi Nishida,
and Mayu Suzuki
2000 seems to reinvent the series for a third time. (The first
being the original 1954 Godzilla and the second being Godzilla
ignored every movie following the original.) This Godzilla just seems
to have appeared out of nowhere, although all of Japan knows his name
and how he was created. This incarnation is a much meaner looking lizard
than before. With more prominent fangs, a stockier neck and dagger-like
dorsal spines, this is definitely an imposing creature, rubber suit or
The plot revolves around a meteorite that is recovered from the ocean
floor. As it is lifted from the sea, it suddenly is energized and takes
flight. It flies off to attack Godzilla, who has his hands full with the
Japanese military. Using a powerful blast of energy, similar to Godzilla's
own atomic breath, the UFO knocks Godzilla into the sea and out of action
for awhile. The craft then perches itself on top of a building in downtown
Shinjuku and begins hacking into all of the cities computers, looking
for something. A conflict between a scientist (Takehiro Murata), who wants
to study Godzilla, and the head of a large corporation (Hiroshi Abe),
who wants Godzilla destroyed, becomes the centerpiece of the film while
Godzilla is off-screen. Of course, this wouldn't be a Godzilla film without
a climactic battle between the Big G and an adversary and, once Godzilla
returns to the scene, Godzilla 2000 delivers this as well.
The American Godzilla failed
because it attempted to re-invent Godzilla rather than enhance the Godzilla
everyone knew and loved. Godzilla 2000 keeps the basic formula intact, while adding a few new twists to ole'
thunder thighs. Case in point: You won't see this Godzilla run from conflicts
with the military. In fact, the movie goes out of its way to state that "When
Godzilla attacks, he advances and never retreats." No scampering
iguanas here, friends. One can't help but think that line was added as
a knock to the American film. In fact, there are several references to
the American movie in Godzilla 2000 and all of them seem to say, "This
is how the true Godzilla behaves."
While the movie is definitely better than the American Godzilla, it still
retains all of those other unfortunate, but necessary characteristics
of the Japanese Godzilla films. The bad dubbing, the cheesy dialogue,
the not-so-special effects and the inane plot devices are all present
and accounted for. These too are at the heart of every Godzilla fan's
love of the films. If these weren't present, something wouldn't feel right.
Godzilla 2000 definitely feels right.
line "Now, I can't say we won't get our hair mussed" is
from Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Love the Bomb. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)