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Movie Review: "Godzilla" (1998)

Updated on August 20, 2014
1 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Godzilla

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich found themselves on quite a roll with "Stargate" and "Independence Day". Despite much critical backlash, both films were major successes and highly entertaining popcorn movies. However, three times definitely wasn't the charm when they reached "Godzilla", the '90s remake of the classic Japanese monster.

Set on U.S. soil this time around, Godzilla is the result of nuclear testing on a remote island. He swims and stomps his way up the East Coast to New York City where most of the movie takes place. Our protagonist is Nick (Matthew Broderick), an earthworm specialist who is brought in to study the new beast. Woven into this crap is a lame unrequited love story (WTF!?).

It's just so obvious that the story and its characters were neglected so that they could get right down into the mega-budgeted special effects themselves. Godzilla is not only bigger than everything and everyone else in this movie from a physical standpoint, but metaphorically speaking as well. One can agree that the best parts of 1998's "Godzilla" are only the trailers themselves.

Big Monster, Small Characters

Back during the advertising campaign for "Godzilla", there were many posters on billboards, buses, etc. saying something to the effect of "His head is as big as this billboard" and "His foot is as big as this bus". Let's not forget the main tagline for the movie -- "Size Does Matter". Really? Well, I would say so because the characters in this movie are not only physically small in the eyes of Godzilla, but emotionally small in the eyes of the audience as well.

There was zero attempt to make these characters the least bit interesting. With "Stargate" and "Independence Day", they tried to. Kurt Russell was the cold-faced military man who lost his son, then there was the rivalry between Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Margaret Colin, the list goes on.

Romancing The Lizard

Of all things, they decided to include a love story in "Godzilla". Why oh why? This does nothing but soften the movie itself. For instance, right after the big action scene with the fish bait in Flatiron Square, Nick runs into Audrey at a corner store where he's picking up some more film for his camera -- Speaking of which, why would any corner store be open during a giant monster attack? Didn't the mayor say he was going to evacuate the city? And if you look at the store clerk himself, he seems to be very relaxed and not concerned at all about this city-wide emergency.

Anyway, the two of them quickly make up and he offers to take her out for a cup of coffee (WTF!?). If there was a giant monster stomping around where I live, a date would be the last thing on my mind. He almost got killed by Godzilla twice in one scene and he wants to go on a date!? One has to wonder what this idiot would do if he were in another Emmerich movie, "The Day After Tomorrow", he would probably take her on a canoe ride through flooded Times Square.

Now, let's also bare in mind that "Cloverfield" (a better giant monster film) also had a bit of a love story to it. While the characters weren't anything special either, they did seem a bit more realistic and the love interest herself was actually in danger. Nick's girl never really appears to be in any danger in "Godzilla".

Jurassic Park City

Much of the final act of "Godzilla" is set in Madison Square Garden where our characters discover that the big lizard is asexual and has been busy laying eggs the size of cars. Soon enough, the 'babyzillas' hatch and a big hide-and-seek chase sequence ensues that owes a lot to none other than "Jurassic Park" itself.

That's right, these things pretty much resemble the velicoraptors from that movie. Not only that, they lifted many of the raptor scenes as well -- They have the babyzillas opening the doors by themselves and even the creepy silhouette scene. Sheesh, how much more obvious can you get? I mean Godzilla himself (or itself?) is akin to a super-sized T-Rex.

So this is what it has come down to... Godzilla humping a building.
So this is what it has come down to... Godzilla humping a building. | Source

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • How is the Metlife Building still standing after Godzilla jumped right through it? It looks very cool, but it doesn't make sense. It would have been nice if we actually saw Godzilla jump through it though instead of seeing what happened afterwards.
  • The military attempts to lure Godzilla into a trap by placing a pile of fish as bait in Flatiron Square, but don't lizards eat bugs and not fish?
  • So many bullets are fired at this big lizard yet they all miss. How can the military fail to hit something that is so huge?
  • How is it possible for a giant lizard like Godzilla to hide within a city of eight million people? This thing is like what, two hundred feet tall? It's not like it can just hide in an alleyway or behind a building.

Remedies for "Godzilla"

  • I will always revert back to "Cloverfield" when it comes to "Godzilla". That movie is the equivalent of what a U.S. remake of "Godzilla" should have been. The creature design was effective, the creature had different characteristics, and the lice bugs were more original than the stupid babyzillas. Oh and there wasn't a happy ending, which helped (unlike "Godzilla").


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      4 years ago


      You are aware that like all artforms, films are subject to interpretation. If you like the movie, then that's your opinion and you're entitled to it. However, if you're going to call people idiots for disagreeing with you, then maybe it's you that happens to be an idiot since you can't respect other people's opinions.

      As for what you said about how filmmakers aren't obligated to stay true to the originals, your right to an extent. However, if you want to make a reboot or remake of ANYTHING, then you have to get the key essential elements to that character right. You can change certain things like the look. You can change a character's eyes. Hell you can even change a character's ethnicity sometimes as long as it's not part of the key essential elements that make the character who he/she is (i.e. black panther, tonto and shredder from tmnt for example).

      As for this godzilla film, I'm sorry, but nothing about this reboot even remotely tried to capture any of the key essential elements that made godzilla who he was; which is why a lot of fans didn't like this movie. They could've gotten away with his new look, but when you change an entire character's backstory and origins to where the only thing that he has in common with the original is in name only, then that's when you've taken things way too far. this piece of garbage remake took things too far, and failed to even remotely understand who the character was that it just became a joke.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It seems that everyone from the so-called professionals to the movie-viewing populace are prime idiots when it comes to "judging" a movie such as Godzilla 1998. They dig and dig and dig and come up with nothing more that the garbage that floats in their moronic minds. The fact is, the new Godzilla is as much enjoyable as the original one. Moreover, there is no rule that requires that a character, human or beastie, must resemble the original. Nor, for that matter, does a romance make it better. A romance is just a side-issue that is better left out. The battle between humanity and the beast is the only matter that such movies are about. Human beings do not belong in the theme or the plot as main characters. As a professional artist and writer, I especially find the negative comments of the naysayers as absolutely insane. Oh, I don't suggest that they not be allowed to make comments. I suggest that such commentary belongs down the bathroom drain.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Pretty good analogy on this movie, as I think you definitely nailed it. In fact, I'm glad you brought up the Jurassic Park reference, as I was kind of surprised that the Nostalgia Critic failed to mention that part in his review of this same film. Anyway, what do you think about Gareth Edwards handling the new reboot of "Godzilla" in 2014? Do you think it'll be any good?

      Also, I was reading that supposedly Toho Studios was so upset by Sony's remake that they made Warner Bros. contractually agree to not alter the character design of the original character. Of course, this has also spawned rumors that Warner Bros. will just put another guy in a suit (versus CGI), while using animatronics to make Godzilla's mouth and head move (i.e. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles); while making the background be rendered in CGI as Godzilla roams the city. Not sure if this is how it's going to play out, as it's just a rumor. however, i hope that's the case, as it does sound like an interesting concept to use for special effects if you ask me. Plus, from what I heard about Edwards, he seems to be the perfect guy to reboot Godzilla.


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