1998; Rated PG-13; 140 Minutes
Matthew Broderick: Dr. Niko Tatopoulos
Jean Reno: Philippe Roche
Maria Pitillo: Audrey Timmonds
Hank Azaria: Victor "Animal" Palotti
Kevin Dunn: Colonel Hicks
Arabella Field: Lucy Palotti
Michael Lerner: Mayor Ebert
Philippe Bergeron: Jean-Claude
Produced by Dean
Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Ute Emmerich, William Fay, Robert
N. Fried, Kelly Van Horn, Peter Winther and Cary Woods;
Directed by Roland Emmerich; Screenwritten by
Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich
by DAVID KEYES
is so lethargic and lame that I wonder why anyone wanted
to make it. Not just anyone made it, either: the films two
creators (Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich) also made "Stargate"
and "Independence Day," two other films I really hated.
Though their recent effort is somewhat an improvement of
those films, it's still an instant rip-off, where the creatures
look like "Jurassic Park" dinosaurs and the characters are
so dead that I wouldn't be surprised if the actors in the
film have bad careers from here on out.
film stars Matthew Broderick, who is a good actor, but here,
verifies that even people like him can make big mistakes.
He plays Dr. Niko Tatopoulos, a geologist of some sort who
is studying the growth of worms from being exposed to radiation.
Being an expert of this field, he is then reassigned to
investigate a giant-like creature, who has mysteriously
shown up in a series of places, and then has disappeared
without a trace. The investigation concludes that this lizard-like
creature, whom the Japanese call "Godzilla," was mysteriously
mutated after several atomic bomb tests had exposed him
the opening scenes of the film (which I liked very much),
we see lizards crawling through the sand, and in the distance,
an atomic bomb explodes into midair. This, I gather, is
where Godzilla was exposed to radiation.
animal continues popping up in locations, but he's not really
noticed until he finds refuge in New York City, where he
eventually makes his permanent home.
entire film is centered around dreary action scenes and
this cynical, small plot. Nearly every scene of the picture
is spent with either Godzilla chasing something or him being
chased. For example, is one such scene, the military lures
the creature into the streets with a pile of fish, and when
they shoot at him, they manage to miss him nearly every
time. Godzilla, who realizes that the fish pile was a trap
for him, then runs through the city streets, where tanks,
helicopters, and other things chase him anywhere they can,
shooting several things at him and missing him nearly every
sequences occur both on land and in the water. At one point,
the huge lizard makes an escape attempt by jumping back
into the water from which he came from. He doesn't realize,
though, that there are submarines floating by, and they
are all prepared with heat-seeking torpedoes. After one
is shot at him, the creature manages to swim underneath
the submarine that shot it, thus leading the torpedo directly
into the side of the ship. The second time, however, he
is hit, and the entire city instantly makes the conclusion
that Godzilla has finally been conquered.
only they were so lucky. Tatopoulos then discovers that
Godzilla laid eggs everywhere in the subway tunnels below
the city. Yet, if Godzilla was as high as the Empire State
Building, how in the world would he fit in tunnels only
20 feet high? How in the world would he manage to lay hundreds
of eggs in those little spaces? Some argue that he could
have crawled through the tunnels, but I seriously doubt
that he really could.
script is very dimwitted in these areas, especially after
the military realizes that the eggs have hatched, and that
the only way to save the human race is to blow up Madison
Square Garden, where the little beasts had made their home.
After the building, as well as Godzilla's children, go belly
up, the large, ferocious creature emerges again, alive and
well, and not dead, like everyone had proclaimed.
turn in the plot brings in twenty minutes of extra Godzilla
rampage footage, and therefore twenty more minutes of endless
and boring disaster scenes, where the creature manages to
chase Tatopoulos all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, where
the military finally manages to contain him while he is
caught up in the suspension cables.
script uses every dirty, rotten trick to try and make the
movie as long as possible, which, shockingly, keeps a time
below two-and-a-half hours, but just barely. The standard
summer blockbuster is at least an hour shorter.
that problem, as well as the incompetent action scenes,
are overlooked by the absolutely awful characterization.
The most pathetic characters, I feel, are Mayor Ebert and
his assistant, Gene, who, judging from the way they argue
and look, are reminiscent spin-offs of the Chicago film
critics Siskel And Ebert, who have a weekly television series.
Both critics did not like "Stargate" or "Independence Day,"
and rumors are that these characters were created out of
spite. Rather than making both Ebert and Siskel look bad,
the characters (so poorly written) are tasteless reflections
that Devlin and Emmerich enjoy holding grudges to people
who hate their films.
"Godzilla," I was painfully reminded of those Taco Bell
commercials with the dog who promotes the film. This is
the first big movie that Taco Bell has promoted since last
years blockbuster "Batman And Robin," and that film (let's
face it) did horrible in its commercial release.
"Taco Bell" actually see the film before promoting it? If
they didn't, maybe they should from now on; it wouldn't
be good business for them to promote another film like this.
heck, Taco Bell did get something right this time: they
managed to create commercials better than the movie.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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