a critiQal film review Godzilla (1998)

Plot: A mysterious attack at sea and an enormous footprint in Tahiti prompt the military to call on Nick (Broderick), a biologist researching nuclear fallout effects on animals. After a news leak gets Nick kicked out of the military operation, he must team up with ex-girlfriend Audrey (Pitillo), cameraman “Animal” (Azaria), and mysterious Frenchman Phillipe (Reno) to save New York from the latest threat: Godzilla.

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  • ...if you're in the mood for a monster movie, this one isn't all bad.

Okay, the hype when Godzilla came out was enormous. With it’s ridiculous tag line (“Size Does Matter”) and teaser glimpses of the new Godzilla, it seemed everyone and his brother was dying to see this movie. Then it came out. And bombed. Why? Read on, and I’ll see if I can fill you in.

The characters were spectacularly …stupid. Everyone seemed to try to get into their roles, but they didn’t have much to work with. The dialogue was inane, and mostly all the characters had to do was just react, rather than act.

True, Matthew Broderick was horribly miscast as the lead, but I don’t think, with the dialogue he had, he even had a fair shot to begin with. Almost nobody could have pulled off this role to satisfaction. Sorry, Matthew, maybe Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Part II is where you should go next.

Hank Azaria, long a memorable voice in “The Simpsons” (TV), tries to get more in front of the camera, and picks the wrong movie to join. Sorry, Hank, don’t give up your day job.

Aside from the incredibly cheesy dialogue, the plot was actually a nice twist on the original. Having Godzilla attack New York was spectacular and, if Jurassic Park (1993) hadn’t come out already, would have been quite something to see. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park (1993) beat them to it, and this almost seems to be just a rip off of that. True, Godzilla is much bigger, but, sorry, in this case, size doesn’t matter. You’ve seen one reptilian creature attacking New York, you’ve seen ‘em all.

The love story of the plot was way overdone, and just looked downright embarrassing between the two characters. Skip that next time. If they don’t have the chemistry, don’t force it.

The special effects were one redeeming quality about this film. But, what would you expect from the people that brought you Independence Day (1996)? A few familiar buildings are trashed (again) and the new Godzilla is most impressive. Some of the scenes did falter a little though, but that was mostly when someone (other than Godzilla) opened their mouth.

The initial sightings definitely caught your interest, especially the man fishing on the dock when Godzilla arrives, and the monster is definitely all he’s built up to be. Unfortunately, he’s probably crying now, since the rest of the movie couldn’t match up to him.

This is yet another case of stunning special effects trying to be a movie, and failing. The only difference between this film and Spider-Man (2002) is that people noticed the rest of the movie was bad in Godzilla. And, Godzilla didn’t screw up as much on the special effects.

All in all, if you’re in the mood for a good monster movie, this film isn’t all bad. But definitely check out the original Jurassic Park (1993) first. Although the dialogue isn’t a whole lot better in Jurassic Park (1993), it is somewhat of an improvement, and you won’t find yourself laughing at some of the cheesy lines.

Or, if you are in the mood for reptiles breathing fire, check out Reign of Fire (2002).

Of course, if you’re in the mood for action, and don’t mind some horrible dialogue, then Godzilla is the one for you.

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