Fresh from the success of “Independence Day,” (one of my favorite movies of all time) filmmaker Roland Emmerich, (also known for creating the Stargate franchise) was selected as a suitable candidate to direct an American remake of a Japanese film from 1954 called “Godzilla.” A giant dinosaur like monster who wrecks havoc in Tokyo. At the time of its release, the titular character was represented as a metaphor for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. This was near the end of WWII when nuclear weapons were a big deal due to the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over the years, Godzilla became an international icon. Spawning dozens of movies along with spin-offs focusing on his opponents. The series was also the second franchise to be a Cinematic Universe after Universal Monsters due to crossovers, connections to other films.
Roland’s remake of Godzilla was released in 1998. (same year A Bug’s Life came out) It was critically panned by critics. fans and movie goers alike. A sequel was cancelled due to many negative reviews. After “Godzilla: Final Wars,” Warner Bros. (WB for short) bought the American film rights to Toho (the company responsible for the Godzilla films) to reboot The King Of Monsters along with his allies and adversaries such as Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, in an attempt to replicate the success of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (MCU for short) with their universe called “MonsterVerse.”
Due to Godzilla’s successful comeback in a second reboot released in 2014, a sequel will be released in 2019. In response to the news, I’ve decided to look back on the failed attempt to reintroduce an iconic God to an American audience. This is the first remake from Roland Emmerich.
This article contains SPOILERS. Read at your own risk if you have not seen this movie.
Pros & Cons
Pros: The Opening Sequence at first, felt promising, as it shows Godzilla’s origins.
Sound designers got Godzilla’s iconic roar right.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, whenever a character shares my first name, I’m giving Matthew Broderick’s character Niko, an extra point. Niko almost counts as Nick, it’s close enough. You win this round Inspector Gadget!
The Marketing for the film kept Godzilla’s front and centered appearance a secret.
If you’re a Simpsons fan, three cast members from the show, have roles in the movie.
The only scene that made me laugh is when Godzilla roams through the streets of New York, Barney The Dinosaur appears on a TV screen.
Cons: The scene with Godzilla attacking a Japanese cargo ship, immediately cuts to Matthew Broderick driving in the car singing a Gene Kelly song. Imagine if the opening battle scene from “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe’s character Maximus saying the words, “At my signal, unleash hell.” then the film immediately cuts to a title card saying “Three Hours Later.” That’s like a bowling ball missing the pins. We want to see Maximus’ abilities on why he’s a skilled combatant and strategist, not another scene filled with a lot of exposition. Ever heard of the phrase “Show don’t tell?”
The Romance between Niko and his love interest Audrey, felt out of place for an epic giant monster movie. When they’re together, annoying whimsical music plays in the background. Am I watching a “Bridget Jones” film or a grand scale survival movie involving a giant monster with god like abilities? Am I losing my manhood without the explosive action or is my estrogen kicking in with the sappy romance?
If you’re a longtime Godzilla fan, his design and appearance isn’t based on a dinosaur, it’s in fact, an iguana. That right there folks is what happens if selected writers and producers don’t do their homework based on a beloved franchise, before a movie studio incompetently green lits the script.
How the actual heck did Hank Azaria’s character manages to survive from Godzilla’s foot? It doesn’t make any gosh darn since! He would’ve been squashed like a pancake!
This movie is completely dated, for example, discount Kent Brockman mentioned Godzilla’s rampage to be the worst act of destruction since The World Trade Center Bombing. The bombing happened in 1993, the year I was born. This was before 9/11, the film came out in 1998, even the Twin Towers often appeared in the background.
The Visual Effects are fake, as in Kylie Jenner’s lips fake. Again, the movie came out in 1998, this was back when C.G.I. was developing like a newborn baby before it reached maturity.
The title character has the ability to produce eggs. In the original films, he adopted someone from his species, he doesn’t have the ability to asexually become pregnant.
Nostalgia Critic/Doug Walker pointed out the dumbest line in the film, “That’s a lot of fish.” Critic I don’t want to plagiarize your joke. Here’s my own joke for the line. Why didn’t The Editor replace Ferris Buller’s line with “That’s a lot of nuts, you want fries with that baby?!” from Kung Pow: Enter The Fist.
The King Of Monsters himself doesn’t have his signature Atomic Breath. Are you serious! It’s as if Sonic The Hedgehog can’t run without his super speed or Wolverine without his healing factor and claws.
Human characters weren’t interesting, just plain dull like a cardboard box. Get to the monster already!
The military kills Godzilla. The original Godzilla never dies from the military’s weaponry. He survived a nuclear bomb, missiles, machine guns, etc. The only way to turn the tables against him, is to summon another giant monster or the experiential robot, Mecha-Godzilla.
Roland Emmerich & his collaborator Dean Devlin, failed to research the source material.
When the humans enter the nest filled with eggs, the scene completely rips off Jurassic Park. Mr. Spielberg if you’re reading this, get yourself a lawyer so you can take Emmerich & Devlin to “Judge Judy.”
Jean Reno’s character thinks chewing a piece of gum makes you feel like an American. In my opinion, it doesn’t make any gosh darn sense. It’s completely out of context. Has he been watching too much “Smokey & The Bandit” imitating Burt Reynolds?
Matthew Broderick never screamed in peril when he encounters Godzilla’s newborns. Timmy’s dad from “The Fairly OddParents” showed some emotion screaming like a girl.
The film satirizes Siskel & Ebert. Two of the late film critics who disliked Emmerich’s films. Emmerich missed a grand opportunity to kill off Mayor Ebert and his assistant. I call that a gutter ball.
Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring brands such as Taco Bell, Kodak, Swatch, Josta, (may it Rest In Peace) UPS, Sprint, Sony & Blockbuster. (may it also Rest In Peace)
The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!
Do not, I repeat, do not waste your precious time on this epic disaster. If you want to see a proper giant monster movie, go out and watch Cloverfield or give the 2014 reboot of Godzilla a shot, alongside “Kong: Skull Island.” The 1998 film needs to be an example on what not to do for the sake of a franchise’s mythology.
One thought on “Flashback Review: Godzilla (1998)”
I can’t agree with anyone who says the original Godzilla was the best one. I thought it was too depressing but I did like the scenes where Godzilla attacked Tokyo, just not the aftermath.