Godzilla 2000 Movie Review

I have a confession. Even though I am a movie junkie--I saw Eye of the Beholder and yet I still watch movies--I've never seen any of the original Godzillas. (Note that Godzilla 2000 is not a sequel to the U.S. Godzilla released in 1998; it's the American release of a 1999 Godzilla flick called Gojira ni-sen mireniamu.)

So, part of me was excited as I drove to the local multiplex to see Godzilla 2000--the latest entry in an almost 50-year old franchise. This was a long-awaited treat. I was expecting a goofy good time, complete with bad dubbing, science fair level sets and a ludicrous plot line.

The last thing I expected was for the movie to be so...boring. I can only imagine what the theatre full of kids I saw this with felt.

You do get all of the "so bad they're good" traits so normally associated with the franchise. But you have to sit through a snoozer plot that has the organization of a Rorschach blot. It's a deal I wasn't willing to accept.

Hiroshi Kashiwabara and Waturu Mimura's script crams in way too many details, and in many cases, fails to follow up on them. The maneuver is not only disconcerting, but gives the movie a permanent logy, weighty feel.

Godzilla starts off destroying power plants and then just stops. Was it a whim? A bold political statement? I don't know. Its foe, an ancient meteor that looks like Prudential's logo, doesn't just fight the Beast from the Far East. No, it's got to have life-saving powers, a plot to erase "the data" from Japan, a desire to clone and the ability to become a spaceship and then some kind of tentacled space creature.

There's a battle between the head of the Godzilla Prediction Unit (Takehiro Murata) and a slimy government official (Hiroshi Abe) over the handling of Godzilla, and personal issues. And then there's the plucky news photographer and blah, blah, blah. It's like watching Magnolia all over again--except without the good writing, keen sociological insight and Aimee Mann songs.

What a waste. When the talking and the plot points stop hurtling at you, Godzilla 2000 does the job--it's entertaining and goes down easy. The action scenes are cheesy in their grandeur though a little sluggish. The dubbing is nice and awful, with Murata sounding like he's in constant need of a cough drop.

As for the dialogue, one line summarizes the goofiness factor: "Did anyone see that flying rock go by?" This movie also marked the first time since The Three Stooges that I've heard the word "imbecile" used in casual conversation.

Though the summer movie season is drying up and Godzilla 2000 has its moments, I wouldn't take kids to see it. They'll probably end up asking more questions than Charlie Rose.

But who will win the duel???

Comments

Godzilla 2000 Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG, 2000

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