Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monster Crap Inductee: Godzilla (1998)

Monster Crap Inductee: Godzilla (1998)

The Corrupt A Wish Monster Movie

Memorial Day, 1998
Nature has a way sometimes of reminding Man of just how small he is. She
occasionally throws up terrible offspring's of our pride and carelessness to
remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake, or
a Godzilla. The reckless ambitions of Man are often dwarfed by their dangerous
consequences. For now, Godzilla - that strangely innocent and tragic monster -
has gone to earth. Whether he returns or not, or is never again seen by human
eyes, the things he has taught us remain.
-Raymond Burr, Godzilla 1985

In 1992, I saw my first Godzilla movie…..Godzilla 1985. And ever since that great movie, I have been hooked on Godzilla ever since. I had never seen a monster destroy an entire city and truly not be evil. Raymond Burr said it best that Godzilla represented what can be created if man challenges nature. The tragedy of Godzilla is that he is a monster created by man and yet man wants to destroy him. Since then, I have collected every Godzilla movie that was available. Through every movie that Godzilla was in, there was a simple set of rules that were always followed.

* Godzilla breathes fire (atomic breath)
* Godzilla is indestructible; Godzilla can only be killed by the Oxygen Destroyer. However, the only person who knew how to create it, Dr. Serizawa, killed himself along with Godzilla so that the weapon could never fall into the wrong hands.
* Godzilla is the main star; no one can overshadow the Big G.
* Godzilla was created by the testing of the H-Bomb by the United States.

There are more rules, but these four rules are the most important for this induction. These four rules, plus a bad script and dialogue, are the reason why fans voted this induction the worst Godzilla movie of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the biggest embarrassment that American Movies has ever done to a foreign icon….Godzilla, The American Version.

In 1996, something huge was announced. Tri-Star Pictures would bring Godzilla, the fire-breathing monster that is a true icon in monster movies, to the United States. It was even made better with the announcement of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the masterminds of such Science Fiction blockbusters as Stargate and Independence Day, would bear the weight of this masterpiece. On New Year’s Eve of 1997, the first Godzilla teaser was released. It featured the famous countdown in New York City with the giant ball. Just before the countdown goes to zero, a huge tail is shown behind the giant ball and hits a home run with it. After that, it is revealed that Godzilla will be in theaters on Memorial Day of 1998.

Several days before the movie had been released to the public; critics had seen the movie in advance and had announced almost altogether that the movie was a complete and utter disappointment. That should have been the first clue that something was awry, but Godzilla fans still wanted to believe that there was no way that this movie could be as bad as they said it was. On the first day, I went to see the picture. I was one of those that believed that the critics were wrong and that this film would be great. That was before I saw it. Afterwards…..I, along with a lot of Godzilla fans, left the theater confused. Why were we confused? Because what we saw in theaters was not even close to the Godzilla we know….it was something different, something that wasn’t right. But before I continue, I must admit that the American Godzilla looked really well done. This had worked with Independence Day where the special effects made the movie. Let’s also not forget that there were some big names in the movie too in Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, and Hank Azaria. What went wrong?

Well, let’s find out.

In the beginning of the movie, we are given a glimpse of H-Bombs being dropped on a small island in the French Polynesians. Seems alright. It seems someone is ready to be testing some H-Bombs and a bunch of marine iguanas are in the area. Now, while the idea of an iguana being Godzilla does sound kind of dumb, at least the United States is going to be causing the birth of Godzilla.

Guess Again….

You see, in a prideful manner, it seems that Hollywood decided that the United States shouldn’t be the guys who created Godzilla. So who will be the morons who open Pandora’s Box this time? It has to be someone who the United States has had a grudge against. Oh wait…..

It’s France. Remember Rule #4, Godzilla was created by the United States in H-Bomb testing. One rule has already been broken.

But the movie shows some hope when we get a Japanese ship destroyed and the only survivor saying it was…..

- Japanese Survivor

Now for those of you in the dark, Gojira means Godzilla in Japanese. Also in this scene, we are introduced to Philippe Roache, played by Jean Reno. Roache? A lead Frenchman named after a common pest. Take that France.

But before we get all of that, we have to hear Matthew Broderick, playing Dr. Niko Tatopaolos sing. Now, I saw the Producers and I know he can sing funny. But obviously he wasn’t ready just yet

But before we get all of that, we have to hear Matthew Broderick, playing Dr. Niko Tatopaolos sing. Now, I saw the Producers and I know he can sing funny. But obviously he wasn’t ready just yet

Now we get a few scenes that are at the very least “forgettable”. Except, of course, the Giant Godzilla foot print. However, Niko feels it necessary to complain.

Did you know you’ve interrupted a three year study of the Chernobyl Earthworm?
- Niko Tatopaolis

We then go to New York City and are introduced to our female lead….Maria Pitello

Haven’t heard of her? Neither have I. But anyways, she plays Audrey Timmonds, a person supposedly being held down by “the man” or in this case, the lead news anchor, Charles Caiman, played by Harry Shearer.

Don’t know who he is? Here is a better picture of what he was in before hand.

Yes…for those of you Spinal Tap fans, he was Spinal Tap band member Derek Smalls in the fake documentary “This is Spinal Tap”. Anyways….she is looking to get a top position as one of the reporters on their news show. However, Charles seems more interested in getting her into bed. Back to Niko, they find the ship that Godzilla attacked and noticed that plenty of tuna fish has been eaten. Roache is back, but he is meaningless in this scene. Then, we go to the Atlantic Ocean near the Eastern US Coast. Three fishing boats are out in the rain, trying to catch some fish. Unfortunately, their nets are caught on something and all three boats are dragged under. Seems like we are near to seeing the big monster finally take apart New York City.

But first, we get a plane scene with Niko saying that it can’t be a dinosaur. Too big to be a dinosaur in his opinion. I guess giant dinosaur didn’t work. We also get another scene with Audrey, her friend, and her friend’s husband…..Animal, played by Hank Azaria. But during this scene, we noticed that Audrey and Niko were college sweethearts.

Finally, we get to see Godzilla. But don’t worry, we get a joke with an old man with a fishing net fishing on the docks of New York. And the old man, who supposedly has never caught a fish, finally gets one….or so he think. Instead, he got Godzilla. Finally, Godzilla goes on a tear in New York, destroying everything in site…..and eating a lot of….fish. We also see Godzilla open his mouth and reveal that he has strong wind breath. Another rule broken, this Godzilla doesn’t breath fire.

Oh, we get a sleazy mayor named Mayor Ebert who looks like Roger Ebert and his campaign manager who looks like Gene Siskel. A crack at Siskel and Ebert….more jokes and not enough stomping action…..okay, I’m extremely pissed already. But they lose the big monster in the water, and they don’t know why.

Sadly, The Monster Does Not Eat Matthew Broderick....Although I Wish He Did

Now the Americans try to stop Godzilla with no luck, although they did feed him and they did blow up the Chrysler Building.

Of Course, Godzilla Also Is Allowed To Basically Hump The Empire State Building

We get more time with Niko and Audrey so we get a second Godzilla rule broken. Godzilla is not the main star in this movie and doesn’t even get close to the most screen time. Hell, the mayor gets more screen time than Godzilla. Audrey betrays Niko and steals classified video of Godzilla. However, she loses it to Charles Caiman who reveals the monster to be Godzilla. But Audrey seems madder at the fact that he called it Godzilla and not Gojira. Niko gets kicked off the team for losing classified information, but not before figuring out that Godzilla is laying eggs somewhere in the city. Now, during the initial scene of finding out Godzilla is pregnant, when Niko reveals that Godzilla is A-Sexual and doesn’t need a mate. It seems like Audrey has only one comment to that.

Where’s The Fun In That?
- Audrey

Niko gets help from the French Government and they reveal that Godzilla has laid his eggs in Madison Square Garden. Oh and Godzilla is supposedly killed. Now we get a scene where Niko and Audrey, who just got back together, reveal the nest via Audrey’s station…..meaning Audrey gets her big break and Niko is proven right. They destroy the nest with the help of an air raid & the distraction of balls. But wait….. We find out Godzilla didn’t die. Godzilla now sees that his babies are dead and as you can tell, he is pretty pissed. Basically, he runs after them where he is trapped in a unique plan that catches him in the Brooklyn Bridge. Then, while the big monster is down, several planes shoot missiles at him. This can’t work, can it? Oh wait…..it does. Godzilla dies. The biggest rule in the Godzilla series is broken. Godzilla can’t die without the Oxygen Destroyer. Afterwards, we get a sappy scene where Niko and Audrey get back together. The French disappear enough for America to take all of the credit for Godzilla’s demise. Now, I know I did just a quick run, but the rest of the movie is mostly just cheesy lines and crappy dialogue.

In a interview with Dean Devlin, he reveals that the movie made $350 million dollars. However, that total is lost among all of the hatred. In fact, the movie won two Razzies, for Worst Remake or Sequal (tied with The Avengers and Psycho), and worst supporting actress in Maria Pitello. Afterwards, Fox created an animated series which tried to right all the wrongs of the movie. However, it was too late and it was shortly cancelled.

But wait….there is more. There is an old belief that the person you want to impress the most with a remake is the person who originally did it. Well….the Japanese despised it. They despised it so much that they brought back the old Japanese Godzilla sooner than they had planned. They also made a short reference ridiculing the Americans for believing that that tuna-eating lizard was Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: All Monsters Attack. But they did bring the American Version back (now called Zilla instead of Godzilla) for a dream match of USA vs. Japan in Godzilla: Final Wars. How did that battle go….well, I have the whole fight, thanks to You Tube.


So in closing, the most anticipated movie in a long time comes out and looks great. But the old saying goes that you can never judge a book by its cover and in this case….it was true. The movie ends up a colossal failure and like Dean said, may be the only film to reach $350 million dollars, yet be considered a failure. Because of broken Godzilla rules, cheesy dialogue, horrible script writing, overbearing actors hogging up screen time, and just plain bad acting…..this movie is definitely the Worst Godzilla Movie Ever Made. But to express my biggest opinion, I would have to steal a line from Hank Azaria.

Ah Man….Now I’m Pissed.
- Animal

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