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3.2 out of 5 stars
Godzilla (Mastered in 4K) (Single-Disc Blu-ray + Ultra Violet Digital Copy)
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149 of 193 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2005
Okay, I know this is going to be a highly disputed opinion, but I think this movie is very, very good. Great, I'd even daresay. And I am a Godzilla fan. I love the Big Guy from his early masterworks to his campy mid-period to his new thrilling outings.

Admittedly, this is not the same Godzilla. But Godzilla himself is a product of the 50s fascination with giant monsters, and this movie is really just an homage to all those old, great monster movies. Anyway, I don't see why the universe isn't big enough for two Godzillas.

A lot of fans hated this just for the idea. But Tristar had to make a new version. The old version would've flopped in America. In fact, Godzilla 2000 came out about a year later, and it did terrible. So where were those so-called fans when he really needed them? I submit that there really aren't that many Godzilla fans. There's plenty of people who claim to be, but do they really like him or these types of films? Doesn't seem like it.

Onto the movie. First there's Godzilla. He's a terrific special effect. Some people say he doesn't look real. He looks pretty darn impressive to me. Realism is a rather silly complaint when you're talking about a giant lizard running through New York.

The story is deceptively simple. You could boil it down to Army vs. Monster, but there's a creativity here that gets overlooked. The characters (all of whom are well-developed especially considering none are the real star) are all likable. Their motivations are believable. And their story arcs are solidly connected to the central conflict in a way that doesn't seem forced.

The action sequences are wonderful. I like to think of them as monstrous versions of great kung fu showdowns. Godzilla isn't invulnerable in this film, and so when he fights helicopters, rockets, and submarines, I actually felt suspense, even though I knew he wasn't going down until the end of the movie.

The plot of Godzilla's young gives a nice excuse for some human-scaled action. The pacing is expertly handled. At two hours, there's still a lot crammed in here. The acting is good. Jean Reno's French military agent is beautifully understated. And the final end of Godzilla is both tragic and satisfying.

I don't love the last little bit, but to me it's not so much an advertisement for a sequel as a wink to those "THE END?" titles at the end of those great old movies.

Boy, this is a long review. I guess I'm just trying to make a case for this underrated and much-maligned film. Personally, I think the original Big Guy would love it. Although I'm sure his version would end a little different.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2008
This truly is GINO(Godzilla in name only).

Gone is the fear of nuclear holocaust, gone the fear of the unstoppable force of nature known as Gojira(Godzilla). Gone is the giant who is indifferent to the weapons of man. Gone is the terriying atomic|nuclear ray.
Replaced is a giant iguana that eats fish and runs away alot. The military is portrayed as morons, too many inconsistencies:
Can't lock on to him because he is cold...HUH? Even slugs give off body heat.
Mayor barking out orders, the mayor would have no say since the city would be under marshall law.
It is pregnant? Godzilla is supposed to be unique.
You did not have that sense of fear or dread and drama, just mindless CGI.
For a good chunk of the film little raptpor ripoffs are running around.
Isn't this a giant monster flick???
Obvious alien and Jurassic Park ripoffs.

People can make fun of the man in suite, this Godzilla looked like Gumby. He looked like playstation graphics in some scenes moved super fast, like it is rushed off the screen. No fluid movement. CGI is hit or miss.
Its gets lost in NY?? In a city of millions?? He burrows???
Acting was hammed up, most of the actors were Simpsons voices. Ay Caramba!

Godzilla had no presense, it was just a scared creature running away alot.
Godzilla v Hedorah was superior to this, least he put up a fight.
If you want a good monster flick that is an edge of your seat movie I strongly recommend getting a copy of Cloverfield when that comes out.
Audrey Timmonds was correct ITS GOJIRA YOU MORONS. This is not Godzilla.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2004
I really don't know what these guys were thinking. Maybe their thought process went a little like this:
Exec #1: I have a great (read:stupid)idea!
Exec #2: What is it?
Exec #1: Remember those old Godzillla movies?
Exec #2: The ones that were really cool and didn't feature Matthew Broderick?
Exec #1: Yeah! Let's make a movie that's the complete opposite of that!
So that's how we got H-bomb-proof lizards turning into asexual she-beasts rampaging about in Manhattan. There are documentaries about cardboard factories more interesting than this. And if that doesn't put the terror of this movie's idiocy in perspective, think about this: I've seen Ernest Goes To Camp SIX TIMES, and I still refuse to watch this trash again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
*** This review may contain spoilers***

If only the creature had only been named something else and not promoted as the "Godzilla successor", the movie would have done much better.

I saw the movie in a theater almost as soon as it came out in 1998 and I own a VHS copy. It's been about thirteen (13) years since I've seen "Godzilla [1998]" (hereafter G98), but I generally have favorable memories of it. G98 is no masterpiece; it has its flaws, but it is far from being an abomination. The movie's major strength and flaw simultaneously is Pseudo-Godzilla himself (or is it herself - oh, the androgyny!). As a mythic force of nature, the creature falls short; it is vulnerable to heavier artillery, it is not mindlessly destructive, and it is willing to stoop to Tatopoulos's (Matthew Broderick's) level, like a man wishing to communicate with an ant. As a super-beast, Pseudo-Godzilla is more impressive; it is extremely powerful, fast, agile, clever, and tenacious in self-defence and of its raptor-like brood. Perhaps G98 was not quite the blockbuster audiences anticipated because Pseudo-Godzilla was cast as a plausible animal with plausible animal behaviors, instead of an unstoppable, supernatural legend. Nevertheless, when Pseudo-Godzilla is striding across New York, you feel a tingle of awe; he's so colossal all you see are his muscular legs trampling across the street.

However, this Pseudo-Godzilla seems to be agoraphobic; he prefers to burrow and live in subterranean passages (even though, as an irradiated iguana, it's not really built for digging). Instead of terrorizing the world, all this titan wants to do is eat fish (again, not part of a herbivorous iguana's diet) and raise its young. Like a zookeeper using a steak to rouse a sleeping lion so that the visitors get their money's worth, Tatopoulos and the military build fish mounds to lure the lizard to the surface. Physically overwhelming as it is, Pseudo-Godzilla is essentially only a simple creature that is monstrous only by accident.

Therefore, to get the most out of this guilty pleasure of a movie, pretend that the creature is not Godzilla, but instead, say, the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, with whom it has many parallels and similarities. Then one can appreciate G98's thrilling set-pieces more thoroughly. Also, to compensate for Pseudo-Godzilla's relatively short screen time, gloss over the bland dialogue the human cast utters, block out any comparisons to "Jurassic Park" to better enjoy the infant Godzilla sequence, and appreciate Tatopoulos's cleverness in leading Pseudo-Godzilla to his doom on the Brooklyn Bridge. I am aware this involves switching off part of your brain, but again G98 was always intended as a roller coaster sensation machine, which it succeeds in being to some degree. The movie is certainly more engaging than the outlandishly dubbed Toho schlockfests of the last four decades or so.

In conclusion, to paraphrase a former acquaintance who saw G98 in the theater with me, it's not Godzilla, but it's fairly good.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2006
And yet, I can't seem to really hate this 'Godzilla'. Hell, if we were to rate the flick based merely on Godzilla's aesthetic, I'd give it at least four stars. Can you tell I've never cared [enough to venture into] the original Godzilla films? I seem to be one of the only ones who genuinely thinks Godzilla's new look and movement is quite awesome; so much of the hate I've read regarding this issue seems to come from an attachment to the original design, laid way in the East many years ago. 'Guess that works in my favor as far as "opening up" to this film........ if that's a good thing.

The first half of the film is watchable, the second half isn't, by and large. As soon as they hit the baby Godzilla's in the stadium, it goes from decent to absolutely horrendous. At that point, it becomes so uncommonly absurd you can't help but wonder how they actually made it through filming the entire set piece without succumbing to their own criticisms. Same goes for most everything that follows.

Personally, though, I found one good reason to watch this version of 'Godzilla' was for a mere demonstration of the visual effects, and how they rank along the timeline with regards to the subject of CGI in cinema. Far as I recall, I remember walking out of the theater when first seeing 'Godzilla' in 1998 and being pretty astonished, thinking that they were near perfect, and topped only by 1997's 'Starship Troopers'. It was actually pretty staggering, then, when Godzilla started to rampage through NYC as I watched this DVD the other day, because in that whole event inparticular, the CGI just doesn't hold up at all. It's interesting to note that, after witnessing this, the film from that point on lets Godzilla out of his cage only at night; it seems that they're able to work much better with the lighting in this respect, and the result is some beautiful, stunning shots courtesy great cinematography and stellar CGI rendering. Still, though, the CGI is strangely inconsistent; some well crafted and inspired (Godzilla averting nuclear submarines; Godzilla getting entangled amongst the Brooklyn Bridge), while some is so bad I couldn't help but focus on it throughout its appearance (virtually all of the baby Godzilla renderings). Frustrating. I will say though that the technical virtue of 'Godzilla', when its in its own little zone, is near unmatched, and Devlin and Emmerich prove -- as they had before with 'Independence Day' and since with 'The Day After Tomorrow' (abominable flick) -- that they can compose some outrageously scoped action with great prowess.

Problem is amongst these visual flairs comes absolutely no substance. There's no story here. The characters are asinine. Literally none of the comedy plays out. There is one scene, actually, which I find absolutely hysterical, involving Jean Reno and his crew, whom are trying to disguise themselves as Americans in Army uniforms. Reno's particular expressions and nuances are just priceless, and there's no real way I could translate that to words. Anyway, that aside, it's just pathetic. I mean, you've got like four brilliant actors from 'The Simpsons' (Hank Azaria the only one getting any real screen time), and you can't produce a laugh? You've got problems.

I really don't mind this film up to its mid-way point. I don't. And yet, it's strange, because I think the reason I do hold 'Godzilla' somewhat closely is the overall detached feel it brings with it, not to mention a pretty confused identity. But it's got that little theme... you know -- Humans create huge monster with their own actions (in this case nuclear workings), then must destroy the monster to ensure their own survival. Sure we've all seen it before, but whatever, it usually affects me a respectable amount, and on my viewing of this 'Godzilla' almost a decade after I first saw it, I still found myself moved when the magnificent creature desperately roars, trapped helpless as our militant jets are swooping down with their loving missiles. It's bizarre, because not only does the film never consciously focus on this fatalistic theme, it acknowledges it with but a line or two from Broderick, telling the Army that Godzilla's just an animal, who's intent is far from destroying Humanity. Yet, because there is absolutely no drive or motivation from any of the characters in the film, and we're mostly just watching Godzilla run away in fear from Human weaponry, I don't know how there's any way else to feel by the end but saddened. It's not art, but it's still a tragedy, if you connect the dots. Well, at least I sympathized.

And yet, the last three minutes of the film, after Godzilla's eyes have gone dim, provide closure to stupid characters courtesy inept resolutions and a heroic fanfare by composer David Arnold (who's score is still phenomenal all around). The mood of this is supposed to be bright, hopeful, optimistic, but I just find it angering. It's this kind of schlock that overrides the potentially dark, dramatic elements of the film buried beneath its surface; the kind of schlock that nightmares are made of -- Maria Pitillo doing a Joan Cusack impersonation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2000
Enormously hyped, with an advertising campaign that ran for over a year, this follow-up to 'Independence Day' had all the explosions and effects of that earlier film, but with none of the charm, or indeed anything else. At all. The absolute apotheosis of the 'big-budget effects movie', 'Godzilla' is quite literally an excuse for a set of CGI / model shots of a big monster tramping around New York. Handled well, this might have been enough, but it isn't handled well - it borrows liberally from elsewhere, and tries for a post-modern, self-mocking tone that fails through a lack of wit. It all seems as if it has been processed through a big mincer, with all the flavour or interest washed-out, just like the gloomy skies in the film. Despite the omnipresent rain and gloom, the effects are well-done - they have to be, as there is absolutely no other reason to watch this film. None at all. There must be a script there somewhere, as I can remember that the story made sense, but I can't remember anything anybody said. The acting is superfluous - I felt sorry for poor Matthew Broderick, as he is quite obviously not supposed to be the star of the film, and I felt doubly sorry for Jean Reno, who is so effortlessly cool that this just falls off him like water off the back of a duck. Of special note is Maria Pitillo as the love interest / spunky heroine - as a shrieking, whining harridan you'll be wishing for her to be eaten from the moment you see her.
The real star, Godzilla itself, is just a big blank slate - you neither feel sorry for the poor beast, nor hate him. Whereas the Japanese version of the monster was charming despite obviously being a man in a suit, here Godsie is just a big effect.
As for the rest of it, what can be said? It rumbles around for two hours, and when it's over you're left wondering what the heck you were just watching. It isn't inept enough to be truly awful, it's just horribly, totally competent.
On DVD there are extra bits - you'll probably never watch them, as I should imagine you'll only get the DVD as a Birthday gift from an ill-informed parent (for example).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 1999
I mean it. I really don't know what to say. This movie had so much potential to be the best Godzilla movie ever made, but Devlin and Emmerich screwed around with it and made it into one of the worst G movies. The special effects are incredible, but that's it. Matt Broderick just doesn't look fascinated enough by the monster to make his reaction believable. And this is some of the worst acting and lamest one-liners I've ever seen in an action movie. And they used the classic Godzilla's roar!!! It just doesn't sound right coming out of a giant iguana. And the blowing up of Madison Square Garden looks like it was done last minute. But, just the fact that this movie had so much potential, but the that's all it was. Potential. The end effect is a bad movie with good special effects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 1999
I can't seem to find the VHS version of Godzilla on amazon, so I'll review the DVD. Godzilla is the worst monster movie I have seen in a LONG time. Matthew Broderick and his fellow castmembers are literally painful to watch (particularly Broderick, as he once again plays the unbearable "nice-guy" that he always seems to be) all except Jean Reno, who's French secret agent is perfect. Him aside, it's all drivel. Okay, Godzilla himself is great, but like Star Wars and many other films, Godzilla is a style-over-content movie. The plot is feeble. The characters are one-dimensional. The music is weak. The script is awful. The dialogue is rotten. Almost everything about it makes you want to feed Roland Emmerich to his own creation. Give me Independance Day any day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 1999
This is one of the worst movies i have seen.Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin have made good movies like "Stargate" and "Independence day" but this almost made me sleep.It has the worst acting iv'e ever seen and the humor doesn't make you laugh.Godzilla itself looks like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and when they find Godzillas nest it's directly ripped from aliens(Except the eggs are bigger).The little godzillas are also from Jurassic Park and so is the car chase.But the biggest mistake is to make Godzilla so damn weak:The original Godzilla zould be shot at half of the movie by a whole army and still it could destroy the whole Tokyo,but for this new Godzilla you just need a few missiles to kill it.What was the point in making this movie.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2000
If I could give this movie a rating of 0 stars, I would. Boy was I dissapointed. The trailers were awesome, I thought this would be all the fun of the cheesy Japenese movies and all of the glittering special effects of Hollywood rolled into 1 fun package. Unfortunately, the writing wasn't so much a script as it was a collection of one-liners and cliches stolen from other movies, the "love" scenes and others were so strained it was clear even the actors weren't into it, and the effects seemed like someone had lifted all the footage from Jurassic park and ran it through a bumpy skin filter.
If you are a godzilla fan like me, I recommend catching the trailer and passing on the actual movie.
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