Godzilla 2000 (1999)
After the failure of Godzilla 98 at the box office Toho returned to making Godzilla movies. Godzilla 98 had a $130 million budget but only made $136 million domestically. Godzilla did make another $242 million overseas for a total of $379 million. These numbers were not solid enough for Tri-Star to make the two squeals originally planned so the right for Godzilla reverted back to Toho Studios.
This new movie and the 4 Godzilla movies that came afterward are known as the Millennium Series and for continuity buffs only two of these movies would be related to one another. They all pretty much ignore the continuity of both the Shōwa and Heisei Series. In today’s parlance it is as if each movie of the Millennium series was a re-boot. I will say more on that with each of the Millennium Series movie I review.
Before I move on to the review of Godzilla 2000, I want to add that even though I grew up on the Shōwa Series the Millennium Series is my favorite series and I look forward to reviewing these movies.
Here is a synopsis of the plot. There exists the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN) which is a network of individuals that independently study Godzilla and try to predict his landfalls. A reporter is following a small father-daughter unit that has predicted Godzilla’s next attack on Japan. While Godzilla’s whereabouts are being predicted scientists from Crisis Control Intelligence (CCI) have discovered a 60 million year old UFO at the bottom of the ocean. Unbeknownst to the scientists the light they used to find the UFO has woken it up. Just as the UFO begins to fly around Japan Godzilla arrives in Tokyo Bay where it is greeted by the Japanese military. Godzilla fights the UFO to a draw but not before the UFO copies the DNA of Godzilla. Yuji Shinoda, the GPN scientist discovers that Godzilla DNA contains Re-generator G-1 which enables him to heal quickly. Yuji also has a conflict with the head of the CCI who beleives Godzilla should be destroyed while Yuji believes that Godzilla needs to be studied. When the UFO returns it uses the Re-generator G-1 cells and morphs into a giant monster which confronts Godzilla in an epic battle with Godzilla triumphant in the end.
Other than the original 1954/56 version of Godzilla, this is one of my all time favorite Godzilla movies. First of all this movie introduces us to a redesigned Godzilla. Although many people often mistakenly refer to Godzilla as a giant green lizard, in this movie he actually is depicted green in color. He has been reduced in size from 100 meters in thigh to around 50 to 55 meters depending on which source is correct. He also has giant irregular sharp dorsal fins that are silvery and purple in color. Now if you would have told me that Godzilla was going to be depicted green with purple dorsal fins for this movie I wounded have said the designers are crazy! But this design works.
Actually it is my favorite Godzilla design out of all of them. This exact design would be used for the next movie, Godzilla Against Megaguirus. In 2001’s, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack , an entirely new design would used. The Godzilla 2000 design would be utilized once again for the next two movies except with a more traditional color scheme. The last Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars, which came out in 2004, would do a more retro re-imagining of the Shōwa Series design. A unique and creative development that began with this movie is the way Godzilla’s atomic breath begins to fire. We have the traditional illumination of the dorsal fins but what is new is that as the dorsal fins are lighting up we see the plasma beam building up in his mouth as energy from the air gets sucked in. That is an awesome effect! It is orange in color which I don’t care for but it would return to the more familiar bluish white in later movies.
I also like the story. I do find it odd to pair Godzilla with aliens but since these are two of my favorite subjects in science fiction it can be enjoyable when done well. The Godzilla franchise has a hit and miss reputation with these types of films and I find this one to be one of the best enjoyable hits of this kind of movie. I still have a few unanswered questions though. Unlike other Godzilla vs Aliens movies we never get to see the aliens in this film, we only see the ship morph. So I am not sure if there are aliens in the space ship or is the ship itself the alien?
I like the actors and the main character, Yuji Shinoda is very likable. So are the reporter and Yuji’s daughter. However, the way his daughter and the reporter bicker does get old after a while, thank God it doesn’t last. I really enjoy the special effects with this movie. The scenes in the early part of the movie where Godzilla is attacking the city against a red sky is very moving. I like the final morphing of the alien into Orga, although the name of the monster never is mentioned in the movie, and Godzilla’s creative manner in which he defeats his nemesis. Though the morphing a creature or alien into different stages has been done before, and will be done again, I don’t mind as long as it works within the movie and this one works quite well.
This is one of the movies that also balances the concept of the good Godzilla against the bad Godzilla. In the later 60s and 70s Godzilla became the hero. The Heisei Series, for the most part, returned Godzilla to the original malevolent role. He is a malevolent monster in this movie and his role as the hero is circumstantial and not intentional. He is acting in self-defense and if it happens to help humanity while he is protecting himself that is just a side benefit. The movie is fun and entertaining. It is not somber and foreboding like the original, but it is lighthearted thoroughly enjoyable with an interesting story with fascinating alien concepts about along with likable characters that makes me want to watch to see what happens to them all.
I rate this movie: A+
Posted on November 15, 2012, in Godzilla Movie Review and tagged American Godzilla, Godzilla, Godzilla 2000, Heisei Series, Millennium Series, Orga, Showa Series, Toho Studios. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.