movie review of Godzilla (1998) starring Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick stars in Godzilla (1998), which was originally supposed to be the first of a trilogy of films. However, film critics were merciless in their criticism of the film. And the American movie public didn’t disagree. The movie cost 130 million dollars to produce and promote. It made 138 million in its’ U.S.A. release. Not a flop, but not a large success, either. So what, if anything, is wrong with the film?
- First, it’s not very original. Several scenes are shot for shot reproductions of Jurassic Park. There’s nothing wrong with paying homage to a film. But Godzilla comes too close to being an obvious rip-off.
- Secondly, the human characters are too two-dimensional. This makes it hard for the audience to care about them.
- Thirdly, the title character doesn’t spend enough time on screen. And just when Godzilla is getting interesting, the film cuts back to the uninteresting human actors.
- Finally, the character of the main character, Godzilla, is very wrong. The visual look is different, which I frankly don’t have a problem with. However, the actual traits of the character are remarkably different. Fans of Godzilla have come up with various nicknames for this movie’s version, such as ‘Zilla (since the filmmakers took the ‘god’ out of Godzilla), G.I.N.O. (Gozilla In Name Only), etc. The traditional Godzilla is very aggressive, and fights easily. Zilla here tends to spend much of his time running away. The traditional Godzilla is much stronger, with much tougher skin. Zilla is easily killed at the end of the movie by missiles fired from aircraft. Godzilla has a devastating atomic breath weapon, that he uses often as a ranged attack. Zilla originally had no breath weapon at all. The filmmakers adding a strong screech, capable of knocking over cars. It really isn’t comparable. Oddly enough, the cartoon series Godzilla: The Series based on the movie fixed many of these deficiencies. It makes the cartoon ‘Zilla more popular than the original.
Do I recommend this movie? No, not really. There’s some foul language. It’s not that exciting. The Godzilla seems a pale imitation of the original Japanese monster. Oddly enough, I am a fan of the animated series.
Trivia for Godzilla
- At the 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards, the film was nominated for five Razzies. They include Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. It took home two overall for Maria Pitillo as Worst Supporting Actress. And for the film as Worst Remake or Sequel.
- Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the new Godzilla, states that the creature design mixes elements of various reptiles. Also, he wanted the creature to be imposing and to inspire respect. To achieve that, he was inspired from the character Shere-Kan featured in The Jungle Book (1967). Tatopoulos applied this characteristic on his design. He also gave the creature humanoid shoulders and hands. Similar to the features included in the original design.
- Roland Emmerich admitted that he did not like the original Godzilla movies. He only agreed to the project after being promised he could do what ever he wanted.
- The film had quite of a backlash amongst fans. The fans conceived a nickname to distinguish this film from the original; it was G.I.N.O. An acronym for “Godzilla in Name only”. Toho introduced in the series a Monster called Jira in Godzilla: Final Wars. A directly reference the creature.
- Elevator music in a scene with Matthew Broderick is “Danke Schoen”. Broderick lip-syncs in a memorable scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986).