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The Godzilla Reviews - Page 6

The third era of Godzilla movies, the Millenium series, is Godzilla's period of major identity crisis, leading to the decade's long hibernation that is going to come to an end next month. Nearly every single movie of the Millenium era is another reboot that casts aside the previous films and tries to reinvent Godzilla according to the filmmakers' whims. This is probably the most manic and unpredictable series, but it is not without merit. Of course, none of it would have happened if Toho hadn't leant the rights to their famous monster to an American movie studio...


Year: 1998
Era: Millenium

THE JIST: A giant radioactive iguana tramples through New York in order to lay its eggs.

THE VERDICT: As standard Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin schlock on the heels of Independence Day, this movie is almost entertaining on its own merits. Sure, the characters are one-dimensional, military and political leaders are portrayed as brain-dead idiot clichés, the plot is mindless and predictable, and gaping plot holes are quickly darted through in order to bring in a neverending stream of CG-coated insanity. However, the CG in question isn't very good, not even for 1998, and the final act of the film is a shameless rip-off of Jurassic Park that neither honors nor duplicates its inspiration. The casting is also indefensibly bad, as though the casting director was challenged to find the actors and actresses who fit the roles the least. Worst of all, this movie is called Godzilla, even though the giant iguana that runs around Manhattan has virtually nothing in common with the Godzilla Toho had been showing us for forty-four years. Thankfully, nearly everybody agrees this is a terrible movie (even Dean Devlin has apologized for the awful script), and plans for a trilogy were quickly dropped. It's frankly amazing that Toho has agreed to let America try again.


Year: 1999
Era: Millenium
Godzilla 2000: Millenium

THE JIST: Godzilla returns to do battle with an ancient UFO recently recovered from an undersea trench.

THE VERDICT: Toho rushed this into production to quell fan anger from the American abomination parading as Godzilla, but truth be told, it's only a slight improvement. While the Millenium designs for Godzilla are among the best, this movie actually succeeds in having far worse CG and even more stereotypically black-and-white characters. The writing, too, is pretty nonsensical, and the villain monster, Orga, is downright lame. Still, this isn't an awful Godzilla movie by any stretch, and it's better than the American Godzilla simply because this monster is true to his name. This one also gets points for taking a few subtle digs at Independence Day, because Emmerich and Devlin definitely deserved it after their diagetic attack on Ebert and Siskel.

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

Year: 2000
Era: Millenium

THE JIST: In an alternate timeline in which Japan stopped using nuclear power in the 1960's after repeated Godzilla attacks, the Defense Force creates a special Godzilla unit to destroy the monster before he gets the chance to attack again. When they test fire a powerful black hole gun, a species of prehistoric dragonfly emerges and begins to threaten Tokyo.

THE VERDICT: As the conflict begins with the test-firing of a new scientific weapon not fully understood, the plot passes up a perfect opportunity to revisit and update some of the ideas and themes of the original Gojira. The writers also painted themselves into a corner with the Dimension Tide (the black hole gun), because it is just too powerful for Godzilla to believably be immune to it, which forces them to contrive various reasons why it can't be used reliably. And while the music is mediocre and the CG is still somewhat embarrassing, the characters are good and the final battle with the Megaguirus is fun because Godzilla seems so wildly outmatched.


Year: 2001
Era: Millenium
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

THE JIST: Godzilla, revived by the spirits of those who died at Japan's hands during World War II, comes to enact vengeance, and only three ancient Earth guardians, Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, can keep him at bay.

THE VERDICT: The boldest and most interesting reimagining of Godzilla, GMK is unique in how different it sees the Godzilla universe. King Ghidorah is a hero, Mothra is seen without the twins, and Godzilla is the most straight-forwardly evil entity we've ever seen. There are good battles and characters, but the plot gets a little too carried away with its nonsensical twists by the end.

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-e. magill 4/22/2014


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