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Nate's DVD Collection ~ Godzilla (1998)
With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls High tension wires down
Helpless People on Subway Trains
Scream, Bug-Eyed as he looks in on them
He Picks up a Bus and he Throws it Back Down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town
Oh, no, they say he's got to go
Go, Go, Godzilla! ~ Blue Oyster Cult
The mid-to-late 90's saw it's fair share of early 60's TV sitcoms coming to the silver screen including Lost in Space, Leave it To Beaver, Lassie, Flipper and The Little Rascals. Some of these were highly entertaining while some were embarrassing attempts to modernize and make fun of trends that were popular back then. The Brady Movie was one big running commentary about how such a “perfect” family would look in today's society. About as a subtle as a flying brick with a note attached saying “Get the F--- out of our town you clean toothed, wholesome, loving siblings and parents!”
One such attempt at modernization was the Americanized version of Godzilla, starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Hank Azaria.
Directed by Roland Emmerich who has also done independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and the most recent hit, 2012.
Godzilla Through the Decades
Show Some Respect for your Betters Godzilla '98
Making of Featurette
Special FX Supervisor Commentary
Puff Daddy and Wallflowers Music Video
Godzilla Takes New York (Before and After Shots)
What I Liked About It
Matthew Broderick seems very much at home in this role. He's definitely one of my favorite actors and I'm rarely disappointed by his performance in any film.
In addition to Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, who do the voices of Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders respectively, there is also a cameo appearance by Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart.
As with most Roland Emmerich films the special effects are the major selling point. The aerial helicopter battles, the submarine chase, and of course the G-man himself are pretty impressive visually.
We can be Second on the Sound Track Album, for just one day...
Strangely enough I'm More Terrified of P. Diddy.
What I Don't Like
Okay, here it goes.
I'm die hard Godzilla fan. I have seen every single 'zilla movie from the original 1959 “Gojira” right up through to the new Godzilla Millennium films. I know every monster he has fought the name of every alien race who has ever had the nerve to stomp in his playground.
To be entirely fair, the story of Gojira, how he came to be and who's side he is on changes with the script. But one thing the Japanese are all clear on is that Gojira as a mutated dinosaur that walks up right with a stunt man in a rubber suit and a wire working the tail and smashes buildings. He is NOT a giant walking Iguana made of CGI and humping buildings.
The Gojira I grew up with would smack this Godzilla around like a rag doll and make it his chew toy. Gojira don't like no posers and he don't like some uptight wannabe lizard messin' up his handle, you know what I'm sayin?
Lets face it. No one goes to a Roland Emmerich film expecting a well thought out story. Or, the people who do expect a story are also the kinds of people who are sure that Han Solo shot first and will ignore the sexual humor in the Transformer's Movies even when it's slapping them in the face. (There's an image for Emmerich to toy with)
You go to a Roland Emmerich film for the same reason I do. You want to see the White House blow up, New York swallowed by the sea, Tibetan monks swept from the Himalayas by an oncoming tidal wave, and dogs narrowly avoiding incineration.
In fact I think by now I have discovered the formula for making a Roland Emmerich film. Add one or two big name characters, surround them by a bunch of unknowns and a large body of extras, use very shaky scientific sounding mumbo jumbo and then use the rest of your budget on special effects. Perfect.
This is not so much something I don't like about the film, except when you are trying to pass it off as something other then that. Godzilla '98 represents a time when he actually believed he was writing meaningful films. This is never made clearer than when he blatantly parodies Siskel and Ebert. M. Night Shamylan pulled that same crap in The Lady in the Water and that was he only flaw in what was basically my favorite of his films. If Night can't get away with it than neither can you Emmerich.
The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 are proof to me that Emmerich and I are on the same page and that he's at last falling back on what he's good at: Destroying cities and blowing crap up.
Should You Buy This DVD?
You can find this title in a box set of other real Godzilla movies, not that this film should be mentioned in the same breath as those. Or you can find it on it's own pretty cheap.
But unless you're a Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno or a Roland Emmerich fan I wouldn't push it on someone.
Can my Kids Watch This?
It's a movie about a giant lizard destroying New York. Basically if your kids watched Transformers or any of the Jurassic Park movies without a problem they'll be fine with this one.
On a side note it should be mentioned that in a helicopter scene, Caiman compares the attack from Godzilla as the “worse act of destruction since the World Trade Center bombing.”It needs to be stated for the record that this movie was filmed in 1998 and therefore this is not a reference to 9/11.