Thursday, August 30, 2012

Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)

It has been thirteen years since the Japanese Toho Studios released the last Godzilla film for American audiences. A few more have been made since, but none of them made it to screens out west. But in 2013, the US will see a reboot of the Godzilla franchise that will either breathe fire and new life into the giant monster genre or it will sink to the bottom of the Hudson River like the creature did at the end of the 1998 big budget summer blockbuster along with Matthew Broderick's career. 

At the turn of the Millennium, Godzilla is now considered a force of nature, just like an earthquake. There is even a system in place called the Godzilla Prediction Network that lets the country know where Godzilla will attack next. The film features a typically convoluted yet somehow original storyline involving a UFO hiding in the ocean (that looks just like the ship in Flight of the Navigator) and another attack from Godzilla. The aliens aboard the UFO want Godzilla's DNA so they can learn to regenerate the way he does. This all leads up to a battle between the UFO and Godzilla and ultimately a battle between Godzilla and a monster called Orga that was a further mutation resulting from a mutant squid. You can't make this stuff up, folks!

If you have ever seen even one of the almost 30 Godzilla films, you know that you don't watch them for the great acting or the wonderful writing or the top notch visual effects. One thing you do watch them for and can absolutely count on is that the series never deviates from its visual style. Most of the effects done in the original Gojira (1954) are still done the exact same way today. I didn't detect much, if any, CGI in this one. Godzilla is still a guy in a rubber suit, wading through water, walking past hillsides, and in front of projections of cities and oceans. He still crashes through power lines while toy size army tanks and houses are destroyed in his path.

Some Godzilla films are better than others. I tend to enjoy the earlier ones more. But it's still interesting to see how the series evolved and stayed relevant by actually not changing very much at all. Even in 1999, the look of the people is still very 1950's. Godzilla is obviously something that you get or you don't, but one thing is certain- it's timeless. 

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