Movie Review

Godzilla

Reviewed by: Dave Rettig
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
12 to Adult
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Thriller
Length:
138 min.

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer / Director: Roland Emmerich / Released by: Sony Pictures

He’s big. He’s green. And he’s back! The much anticipated, heavily advertised, and merchandised to the hilt—Godzilla! Everyone’s favorite Japanese giant is back to wreak havoc on the people. And this time the town of choice—New York, the Big Apple is about to have a lizard shaped big bite the size of a tank taken out of it. On the opposing team (who can ever think of Godzilla as the bad guy) is world renowned worm researcher Nick Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick), fledging reporter and love interest (Maria Pitillo), some French guy (Jean Reno), and the U.S. military (played by lots of people with weapons).

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this film since I saw the first teaser over a year ago. Boyhood memories of the mythical sea monster with nuclear breath, bouncing almost joyfully as he (she, it, whatever) blasted the military with a cone of destruction. I was looking forward to the slick computerized special effects of Godzilla’s rampage. I imagined the terror of the U.S. Army as they discovered Godzilla was not JUST a big lizard, but a big lizard that could breath a cone of nuclear fire (the breath was a big thing for me). Instead I got Jurassic Park Goes to New York. Godzilla is now a big lizard, really big. Really, really BIG! But that’s all. All the personality, all the intelligence, all the cool destrobreath (again with the breath)—gone! Yeah, Godzilla runs through New York and smashes things but it’s just not the same. The REAL Godzilla would be ashamed of this imposter and REAL Godzilla fans will be left flat with the plain old vanilla lizard.

This movie contains some language, adult topics and a lot of violence. Unfortunately, the people behind Godzilla felt some need to have fledging reporter sexually propositioned by her boss. It was unnecessary, brief, but be ready to explain if you see this and your kids ask. A lot of the violence will be too intense for young viewers, as Godzilla and company (I don’t want to give away everything) get up close and personal with some of the characters. Some of the raptor chase screen in “Jurassic Park” I and II are very similar. These close, intense screens might be better avoided by the family.

All said and done, if you are a diehard classic Godzilla fan, this movie will not meet your standards for the movie monster king. If you just want to see it because you liked “Independence Day” and you are buying the hype, you will probably enjoy it. However, my recommendation is pass and if you absolutely have to see Godzilla, go rent “Destroy All Monsters” or “Monster Island,” less language, less intense violence, and less realism will make for a less negative (spiritually) experience.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
Good special effects but everything else was just average if even that. The plot was totally predictable and the acting wasn’t that hot either. This show was basically an apologetic for evolutionary theory and about as plausible. Wait for the video and an evening with nothing else to to then this film will be good for a few laughs. As usual they left themselves an out for a sequel so they can put out more of the same computer generated graphics and get a little more of our money. The effects are good enough that small children might be frightened so be careful of letting them see it.
—Bob Clark, age 34
Godzilla had the best special effects I have seen in my life! It had some bad parts though. It was gruesome on some parts, and it had a handful of bad language. I think ages, well, people in their double-digits and up could see this. Many young kids might be scared and have nightmares.
—Michael Brinkman, age 11
Here’s a comment from a non-Godzilla fan: This movie’s cool! I suppose to some hard-core fans the old Godzilla is a classic art form that should be preserved, but I say: Who cares about the old man in the rubber suit? This monster’s way cooler! And what really makes me chuckle is that all these people complaining about how Emmerich and Devlin changed Godzilla go on to complain about how thin the plot is, and how flat the characters are! Was anyone impressed with the deep character development or solid plot lines of “Godzilla, King of the Monsters”? I think the story behind the new Godzilla compares very favorably against the old movies. I went to see this with my 8 year old and we have a great thrill-ride! I can’t wait to see the new computer-generated Mothra in Godzilla 2!
—Tim Blaisdell, age 34
I agree with the review that warns of this large lizard not being what the classic Godzilla was. In fact, the whole movie is over run with the idea of this being a whole new species that “evolved” with the help of Nuclear radiation. The story writing was plain and uninvolved, and the acting was average at best. The plus side for me includes that lack of goss and visual bloody killings so often seen in Hollywood movies. Granted, there is violence, but at least it is mostly left to the imagination. Also, I enjoyed the humor included in the movie. It is the same unbelievable but fun anyway type of action and humor that is missing from so many “modern” movies that try to be so realistic. I would rent this one for some friends to enjoy when it comes out on video, but it does not have to be seen on the big screen for $5+ dollars a shot. Also, be warned that although the lead characters are “good and nice,” they still have values that are a far cry from that laid down in God’s Word.
—Dave and Rebecca
I saw Godzilla and I thought it was great. It was very suspenseful and exciting. and I think it deserves more than a 2 1/2. I don’t really recommend it for kid’s under 10 to 8 it might be a little to scary for them. I thought the special effects were really cool. I can’t wait for it to come out on video so I can buy it. They could have left out some of the words they said when they took the Lord's name in vain but that’s all I really noticed that was bad. They didn’t really show a ton of bloody scenes which was good it was just very suspenseful. I was surprised they didn’t have some kind of joke from the old versions of Godzilla.
—Melissa, age 12
I enjoyed GODZILLA. I thought it was worth seeing at the theaters. Although, some of the characters in the movie occasionally would misuse the Lords name. That I found was the single most offensive part of the movie. It also had some violence that might be inapppropriate for some young children that are super sensitive. But overall I thought it was a well made movie and I suggest you watching it.
—Jared, age 13
I’ve never been a fan of Godzilla movies, and frankly, I went to see it with rather low expectations. I was happily surprised by the movie. I laughed so hard! To me, it was a movie that made fun of other movies. It had a little from Jaws, a lot from Jurassic Park, a bit of Star Wars, and even some Hunt for Red October. Considering who the mayor of New York was suppose to be, how could it be anything but a movie satire. And it was hilarious!
—S. Nelson
I am a Godzilla fan from way back and have several of the old movies. This movie was not Godzilla, but I still enjoyed it. They could have called it something else, as far as I am concerned. I enjoyed the special effects of watching him run through New York City. Of course much of it was highly unbelievable, but, since it is a movie about a huge reptile, you should expect that. It did have a couple of words or references I could have done without, but it did not have the blood and guts that Jurassic Park had. In my opinion anyone who likes these type of movies should go see it on the big screen. Renting it or watching it at home just won’t be the same…
—Robert Duncan
This film was a pretty big disappointment. I liked the special effects, some of the music and the first twenty minutes. However, the characters were annoying and the story had more holes than swiss cheese. Emmerich and Devlin really dropped the ball on this one, folks. I also agree this does have violence and language not appropriate for pre teens. Overall, skip this one or wait for video.
—Kevin Burk, age 27
I think Godzilla was an outstanding movie!!! It was full of action from start to finish, but included no gore. The special effects were simply spectacular. It was actually a pretty clean movie, and the language was comparable to that of a PG-13 movie. If you liked Jurassic Park, then this one will blow you out of the water.
—Mike Degeus, age 16
Mercy; such a negative review, but then 4½ stars! My wife, eleven year old son, and I enjoyed the movie and had a good time. My reaction is similar to what I thought about “Independence Day” (which, however, was a better movie): I do not understand the violent dislike some take to the movie. Many of the criticisms seem misplaced, akin to trashing a roller-coaster ride because it “doesn’t make a statement.” It didn’t mean to. Similarly, “Godzilla” makes no pretence of depth. It’s just meant to be a fun, fast-moving, thrilling and chilling BOOM-fest. As such, I think it succeeds just fine. It isn’t a great movie, but it is fun—for those who still like to have fun with a movie. My wife said it best: “This is basically a high-tech B-movie with astonishing special effects.” Exactly right; and SF fans know that B movies can be fun (“It! The Terror from Beyond Space”; “This Island Earth”; and, of course, “Godzilla, King of the Monsters”). Yes, things bothered us. (SEMI-SPOILER WARNING) The girlfriend is a total ditz; Broderick is ill-cast; the French agents are unbelievably inept (“I hope I don’t get eaten, I hope I don’t get eaten… AAAAH!”); we don’t know why those helicopters apparently are unable to go UP, etc. But one expects to suspend some disbelief in a movie of this genre. And as to the reviewer’s disappointment over “All the… destrobreath” being “gone,” that isn’t accurate. Godzilla blasts quite nicely at least twice, maybe three times.
—Dan, age 42
My college-attending sister from the midwest had ne word for “Godzilla”: horrible. She said it was unrealistic and unconvincing. To quote a critic: how dumb will the event movie become before people quit going? We just found out: “Godzilla” made half of expectations with its $55 million take.
—Zack, age 16
Well, I’m a Godzilla fan, I’ve seen most of Toho’s 20+ Godzilla movies, so I was comparing this movie to those films, and that creature created in that “universe.” I was a little disappointed by several aspects of this new film which were inconsistent with the “real” Godzilla. …it becomes unclear whether this is a Godzilla movie or a remake of Jurassic Park. Apparently the “little” Godzilla’s very closely resemble raptors, except they are taller and stronger. But move and attack in a similar manner, but lack the stealth qualities. …The three main problems that I had with this remake was A) Godzilla was less impressive than in the previous films. B) Godzilla’s thermo-nuclear breath was disturbingly absent, two scenes have him spewing fire, but they are brief and the fire lacks its signature blue hue. C) And of course his raptor kids. …Bottom line, the Devlin brothers can’t seam to decide whether they’re making a Godzilla movie or Jurrassic Park, they take several liberties reguarding Godzilla’s abilities and characteristics, but the special effects are excellent and there are some real high points in the film. If you’re a Godzilla fan curiosity alone will drive you to this one, but be warned. As for everyone else, this is a good monster movie, but not a good Godzilla movie.
—Jesse Clark