GODZILLA 1998

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There’s a lot of movies named Godzilla…

You got Godzilla 2014, Godzilla 2000, Godzilla 1998, Godzilla 1984, and finally Godzilla. There are some cheats in there 84 and 2000 but you get the point.

As i said earlier this was the first Godzilla movie i watched, and i loved it as a kid. It’s funny how some movies are treated as you age (and this brings up an interesting point); it seems there is a prevailing attitude that a piece of media (music, movies, video games) is either the greatest thing ever made, or its a rancid piece of shit.

Take this movie or The Phantom Menace for examples, anytime i’ve heard this movie discussed it’s always called terribad, a shitty movie, or not even a real Godzilla movie. I admit these were my expectations going in, so its to my delight that the movie isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. But let us get on to it.

 

THE STORY

A giant lizard decides it wants to take a bite outta the Big Apple, explosions ensue.

 

THE GOOD

You know what? I’m going to be totally honest and say i was more satisfied with this movie than i was with Godzilla 2014. The main reason for that is that Godzilla (or Zilla as he’s come to be known) is actually the star of the movie. Who would think that if you made a movie titled Godzilla and actually made it about Godzilla, a satisfying Godzilla movie would be the result. While i do have some caveats about the creature’s characterisation (which is why i don’t call him Big G here), over all his actions actually drive the plot and advance the story.

While it is an unfortunate necessity that time has to be spent involving various characters, the ones here in Godzilla aren’t as dreadfully boring and nondescript as the ones in 2014. Jean Reno’s french secret service agent is the stand out, with some funny scenes and interesting motivations he makes me wish that the movie had been more about him and his team, and Matthew Broderick plays his scientist with all of the nice guy characterisation that makes him so likable in the first place. It also helps that the characters find themselves at the center of interesting events, and seeing the action through their eyes brings me closer to what i want to see. This highlights the most serious problem with Godzilla 2014 as nurse whatever her name and whatever her son’s name are shown running away or hiding from the events i want to see.

Lastly if you’re in for some destruction there’s plenty to be had here, Emmerich was the king at making Michael Bay’esque movies before Bay was a household name (or derogatory remark). Here he offers up destruction that while on a smaller scale than his Independence Day is still no less satisfying.

 

THE BAD

The biggest flaw that the movie has is with Godzilla himself. Indeed there’s a reason why he is now known as Zilla instead of Godzilla, and frankly i agree there is very little God in the creature we have on display here. He’s smaller for one, doesn’t breath fire, is actually hurt by the military’s weapons (which is down right heresy), and looks like shit. The last point is especially crucial as although he has Big G’s trademark spines, he looks like a mash up of a Tyrannosaur and an Iguana. While the design is more realistic (i suppose) the result is the same as if Jason was sporting a Mohawk and 3 piece suit in a new Friday the 13th movie. It just wouldn’t work, and it doesn’t here.

One subplot i could do without is Broderick’s ditsy and annoying ex girlfriend trying to get ahead in her career by fucking him over. Another much maligned one is the inclusion of Zilla’s eggs hatching. While the latter does let Jean Reno stretch his legs it still really really weighs the middle part of the movie down. It seems included for the express reason of cashing in on the Velociraptor’s success in “Jurassic Park” and its sequel. Cutting both of these plot lines out would have reduced the running time substantially (which is a good thing as the movie feels bloated at 2 hours and 16 minutes), and would have aided in making the movie tremendously better.

Lastly the SFX while state of the art (even using some traditional effects) have not aged well. Zilla looks like he was cut and pasted into many of his shots, and the helicopter chase sequence looks like it was shot on a toy train set.

 

THE UGLY

While it is almost a Godzilla movie in name only, Godzilla 1998 at least focuses on the main attraction. As a result Zilla doesn’t feel like a supporting character in his own damn movie, coupled with some semi interesting human characters results in a movie that i’m quite honestly more satisfied with than Big G’s most recent outing.

It’s no masterpiece for sure, but its flaws don’t make it the piece of dog shit that everyone calls it.

 

3 stars

OUT OF FIVE

PS
Want another reason why this movie is a better Godzilla movie that the 2014? The following videos are compilations of all of Godzilla’s scenes. Zilla is in his movie almost twice as long as Godzilla is in 2014… Twice as much as a movie that is named God.Fucking.Zilla

It astounds me why the former has such a good reputation, and it should be no surprise anymore why i like this over the other. I hope that the next movies actually have Big G take center stage and have more screen time.

 

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