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Godzilla
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418 out of 598 people found the following review useful:

Drastically underrated

9/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
8 March 2005

After bizarre attacks on a Japanese freighter, first the French then the U.S. learn of the existence of an apparent modern "dinosaur". When it's suspected that radiation from nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia may have instead produced the monster, biological radiation specialist Dr. Nick Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) is called to the scene. While investigating the monster's path of destruction, a new sighting arrives--just off the coast of New York City!

It's no secret that Godzilla has been much maligned. Even Fangoria editor Tony Timpone stated in an editorial that he thought it sucked, and he's usually willing to give movies the benefit of the doubt. The reasons why director Roland Emmerich's version of Godzilla is hated are as varied as people stating opinions. But I tend to think that there is also a strong bandwagon effect with this film that will be tempered by time. There are already signs of a number of people giving it a second look and lessening the severity of their criticism.

The chief complaint seems to come from a very vocal but relatively small crowd of fanboy purists--they dislike that Godzilla is different here. In the Japanese films, made by the Toho production company, Godzilla is a guy in a rubber suit who stomps on models of buildings and such. He tends to lumber, as irrelevant military attacks on him provide pretty fireworks. Most Godzilla films feature him fighting some other monster, "professional wrestling" style, and Godzilla arbitrarily falls down and gets back up as he is attacked and attacks with various "death rays" from his mouth, eyes, etc. Now that might sound like I don't like the typical Godzilla film, but that's not true. I like them quite a bit, but a big part of the reason why is that most of them are very cheesy. I'm a fan of bizarre cheese/camp, and you get tons of that in Godzilla films.

But I'm not a purist. To me, there's no good reason why Emmerich's Godzilla needs to be similar to the Toho incarnations, which in fact are often quite different from and inconsistent with each other, too. At this point, I see Godzilla more as a recurring character type--think of the various instantiations of Dracula or Frankenstein throughout the 20th Century. The Toho films can't really be seen as chapters in a single, long story. But whether their arguments are wrong or not, the fanboy purists are at least noisy and prolific, and too many people are followers.

If Emmerich would have given us a guy in a rubber suit, acting just like the Toho Godzillas (not "Godzilla"), with the typical gobbledy-gook of a Toho script, this film would have bombed even worse (if we can call a 100 million dollar film that made a profit a "bomb") and the fanboys would have still found something to complain about. Even though I love the Toho Godzilla films, too, we can't deny that they do not tend to be bestsellers on video in the U.S., despite the fact that they're readily available for purchase.

So what Emmerich gives us instead is an epic, expensive-looking film that spans a number of genres, features more coherent dialogue and subplots than a typical Toho Godzilla film, and showcases a redesigned, mostly cgi cast of monsters, where Godzilla looks and behaves much more like a "real" giant, mutant lizard. For those of us who are not purists, who do not care if our opinions match the majority, and who evaluate films on all or their technical and artistic levels, it's difficult to deny that Godzilla has many merits.

For example, the cinematography in this film is gorgeous. The sound design is superb and the soundtrack (score and songs) works well with the film. All of the action sequences, and they comprise a large percentage of the film, are expertly staged--Emmerich doesn't resort to darkness, blur-cams and overly quick cuts like many other directors. It's always easy to follow the narrative during action scenes, it's always easy to see what's going on, and it's always coherent. That goes for the non-action scenes, too--the entire film is ingeniously designed in terms of the progression from one sequence to another. Also, the cgi is amazing--it's often difficult to tell where it stops and mechanicals/models begin.

But the story is great, too. Broderick's Tatopoulos is an attractive anti-hero, a nerdish scientist who solve dilemmas with his professional knowledge. The other hero is Jean Reno as Philippe Roache, a humorously enigmatic French "insurance agent". The obligatory romantic subplot, involving Tatopoulos and Audrey Timmonds (Maria Pitillo) surprisingly avoids clichés, and Timmonds provides a launching pad for an all-too-honest satire of the media.

Satire is high up on Emmerich's agenda. Godzilla not only satirizes the media, but the military, New York/New Yorkers, film critics, and even monster movies. While the film is simultaneously giving us a lot of genres--sci-fi, horror, adventure, war film, drama, etc. the most unexpected motif is the almost cartoonish, spoof-like humor. Godzilla is more frequently laugh-out-loud funny that anyone expected it to be. It's not just one-liners and overt jokes, although those are certainly present, but the amped up intentional absurdity of situations such as the final taxi cab "chase".

Even if you think that Godzilla has some internal problems as an artwork (and I agree that there is a slight clunkiness in parts of the narrative flow--it caused me to subtract a point), there's no way it deserves the trashing it's received so far. This is at least a well-made film on a technical level, and if you have any taste for slightly campy sci-fi/monster flicks, you should find much to enjoy here.

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376 out of 566 people found the following review useful:

I've had enough

10/10
Author: Agony from Canada
2 December 1998

Alright, I've had enough. Godzilla was a GREAT movie, and I'm just sick and tired of all the critics and others who view the movie as a complete disaster due to its lack of a story and other problems.

Personally, I don't care. The movie, from day one was meant to be just a big effects laden action movie. It's just for fun. I understood the story. The movie should just be viewed as a fun, blow everything up in your way movie. Don't be so hard. Sit back and enjoy.

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240 out of 368 people found the following review useful:

I thought it was great...

10/10
Author: LebowskiT1000 from Escondido, California, USA
6 September 1999

As opposed to most people, I thought this movie was excellent. You can't watch the movie and expect Shakespeare...it's Godzilla. You have to appreciate the work that went into making this creature look so lifelike. This movie had spectacular special effects and a pretty decent story line. I thought this movie was great. I didn't find the acting to be all that bad. I would recommend watching this movie before you come to any conclusions.

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149 out of 212 people found the following review useful:

One of the first "scary" movies I saw; a cherished childhood memory, actually

9/10
Author: Dragoneyed363 from United States
29 April 2008

I really do, genuinely enjoy Godzilla. I have watched it on numerous occasions for a long time now and I always think it is an incredibly fun and entertaining movie. The first time I watched it though was when I was around four years young. It was one of the first, as I called it then, scary movies I watched.

I actually will never find the strength to call this film horrible, even though my opinions on it have of course lowered a lot over time, because I watched it when I was so little, and I thought it was the best movie ever. This film is still really enjoyable, because it's value doesn't decrease as much as the person who watches it entertainment does, but it still sickens me to know it has such a low rating and many look down on it, while really it should receive more appreciation.

I might have lowered my opinions on this film, but it is still a pleasing film that does not deserve the rating it has. I didn't see much of anything wrong with it, even now, and I just thought it was suspenseful and exciting, somewhat more suspenseful than a lot of other movies that have been made, with a lot of fun performances and excellent CGI. Godzilla, yet classified as a horror\suspense, was actually a touching film and was sad in some parts, as well. I will never understand how someone could hate a film that's just meant to be all around fun and enjoyment. It is still my favorite out of the original and newest remake.

Two thumbs up for Godzilla.

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138 out of 212 people found the following review useful:

Size DOES Matter

10/10
Author: Lance (pumpkinhead_lance@yahoo.com) from NC
19 December 2002

It's been almost five years since this film came out back in 1998. I can remember the very first TV Spot on television around New Years. As a HUGE Godzilla fan I was excited to say the least. And I must tell you, when I saw it when it finally came out I wasn't dissapointed, and to this day I still feel the same way.

It's a darn shame that this film gets blasted like it does. It shows me that the majority of the people (and Godzilla fans) that take the time to write reviews for films probably don't know what they are talking about when they talk of America's "Godzilla".

There are a couple of main issues critics and Godzilla fans have with the film. The story and the monster itself, 'Godzilla'.

If you look back at all of the original Japanese Godzilla flicks, you aren't going to find a great (not to mention BELIEVABLE) story or plot. I realize this, even being a fan of all things Godzilla. Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's 'Godzilla' atleast, in my opinion, had the audience believing what was going on up on the screen. And if the story was slightly dull to some of you, you should let it pass. Remember what 'Godzilla' is about, afterall.

And what was wrong with the monster itself, Godzilla? Nothing. If you get two action figures, one being a model of the original Godzilla from the Japanese series and a model of the new American Godzilla you will find differences but both are remarkably alike in alot of ways. They both have the spikes, gigantic size, and famous roar. The major differences being the skin color, face, and longer legs. I loath it when people bring up how they shouldn't have changed Godzilla's looks. I mean, I love the old Godzilla look, it may be silly to some, but to me it's still cool. But it would NOT have worked for this film at ALL. If they had made the American version with a creature that had big 'googily' eyes and flying around on his tail kicking monsters, it would have ended up being a laugh-fest at the theaters.

What the American 'Godzilla' brings us is a believable monster that has the spirit and characteristics of the original, that satisfies the audience. It was just more realistic. Shouldn't we have expected that? Devlin and Emmerich came up with a monster that was realistic. Something the creators of the original attempted at doing but were limited to rubber suits. Something the Japanese audience accepts, but the American audience will not. It's sad that most Godzilla fans and critics do not understand this.

I personally believe that the majority of the general audience ENJOYED this film. It's just the critical blasting from G Fans and Critics that got alot of attention, unfortunately, and therefore this gets labeled as a 'bad' film. It's sad really that people can't enjoy this film.

This is one of my favorite DVD's to plug in. It's Big, Loud, and Fun. And although we've had lots of great films with tons of Special Effects, there's nothing quite like it.

So take a look at it, be open and I'm sure you will enjoy the fantastic pop-corn entertainment known as "GODZILLA".

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107 out of 162 people found the following review useful:

I thought this was fun. I don't know why people whine about it so much.

Author: tonymurphylee from USA
28 May 2008

Well, being a longtime fan of the GODZILLA/GOJIRA films as a youngster, I remember seeing this with great anticipation. I, unlike a lot of people, was not at all disappointed. This film was exactly what I was hoping it would be at the time. Sure, it certainly wasn't as charming or as funny as the films I loved as a kid, but it was a lot of fun. I loved the action scenes, the look of the monster was crazy to me, and the plot was simple enough for a first time viewer to get right into. Seeing it again 10 years later, I had the same reaction. My opinion of this film hasn't changed one bit. I guess everybody's complaints stem from how this has no charm or any kind of attempt at being cute or original. I guess that's understandable, but I still don't see what everybody's problem is. This was supposed to be a fun, exciting, and action packed thrill ride. That's all it is, no more, no less. I personally think that it succeeds at what it achieved to be perfectly. Matthew Broderick may not exactly be an action hero, but his character sure was quirky and funny. Jean Reno was as good as usual.

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152 out of 257 people found the following review useful:

Anyone who doesn't like this movie is wrong.

10/10
Author: Egon-3 from Alberta, Canada
1 January 1999

I don`t know what people expected from this movie. High drama, perhaps Shakespearean dialog. This is an all out action movie that deserves way better reviews than it got. This movie could have been horrible, but the characters were pretty well fleshed for a movie of this type, and the makers actually went for the pathos angle with the creature. Rather than make Godzilla a giant monster, they gave the creature a personality with its behaviour, a personality that can best be seen at the Madison Square Garden explosion. For anyone to not find that scene poignant, they must be heartless. Add to this the great acting, and the "scientific" explanations (which was more than Independence Day ever managed) and this is a grossly under-rated movie.

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103 out of 166 people found the following review useful:

Enjoy a lovely hunk of cheese!

8/10
Author: EllenRipley112 from The Great NorthEast
6 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have read the other comments about this film, and while I might agree with them from a critical point of view, the fact remains that this movie was NEVER meant to be a critic's favorite! We are not talking Oscar-material here, not even for special effects. OK, so it's nothing like the originals, and it has a skimpy little plot and no cinematic depth. But y'know what--WHO CARES! I went to this movie to be entertained, and I wasn't disappointed. It's loud, it's quasi-scary, it had explosions and giant lizards, it had cheesy characters with cheesy names and all sorts of good stuff you expect from a fun, no-brainer movie. C'mon, were its predecessors any better? No sex, no graphic violence (unless you count the poor thing's demise at the end), minimal profanity--I was able to take my daughter to see it and not be embarrassed! Today you can pop it in your DVD player or VCR on a rainy Saturday, make some microwave popcorn (just keep your pet lizard away from it!) and kill about 90 minutes with the family. The only part I had a problem with was, they made the beasty so personable, so NICE (it never INTENTIONALLY kills anyone, y'know), I couldn't help but feel sorry for it when it died at the end. They even gave it KIDS, for Pete's sake! As a fellow parent, I actually sympathized when it found out "they trashed the Garden". I was hoping for a sequel with the hatching egg at the end, but sad to say, that got scrapped. Anyway, my final word is: Get over it, folks! It wasn't MEANT to be taken seriously! Once you get past that, you can enjoy it for the cheap theme-park-ride it was meant to be. I love it!

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112 out of 187 people found the following review useful:

Does exactly what it says on the box ............ ENTERTAIN...

10/10
Author: Dal boy from United Kingdom
30 May 2008

Who are these people comparing this to the older Godzilla movies.. ? There is absolutely no comparison....this film stands on it's own and is a fast action paced, highly entertaining movie with special effects that were the best at the time.

You have to smile at the people who take the Godzilla mythology far too seriously. I had to smile when I read some of the reviews from the die hard Godzilla fans.

Personally, I don't care. The movie, from day one was meant to be just a big effects laden action movie. It's about comic book character.

AN EXCELLENT ENTERTAINING POPCORN MOVIE........BRILLIANT

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81 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

really, its not that bad!

7/10
Author: raymusicman2006 from United States
9 September 2007

What were some of you expecting? Shakespeare? Tennesee Williams? Its a movie about a giant lizard in New York - just accept it for what it is! Its entertainment and no more - and on that level (at least for me) it works just fine! Its's not "realistic" enough? Again, how realistic is a giant lizard supposed to be? It's a FANTASY movie! Besides, I thought the special effects were pretty impressive! And its not as if the ORIGINAL Godzilla movies were good, with their actors in rubber suits and laughable, ridiculous "monsters" (gamera, mechagodzilla, etc etc)- the Godzilla in THIS movie was an animal, not a monster driven by a need to destroy things! I didn't think Matthew Broderick was bad at all - although I DID find Animal's girlfriend extremely irritating with her shrill voice! Really, I didn't think this movie was bad at all - no, its not a profound meaningful work or art, but then who expected it to be? It's an enjoyable diversion - that's all anyone should expect!

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