Back in July, my son and I compiled a list of some seventy-plus Japanese style monster and scifi films to be watched before the release of the new Godzilla film in May. (Here's the list.) Since then, the list has grown to eighty-plus and we've got less than two dozen to go.
Today's film takes us firmly into the Millennium Era, Godzilla 2000 (1999).
I'll go first:
Godzilla is back and freed of the continuity that helped make the Heisei series great and the Showa series (usually) fun. In this film, Godzilla simply exists and just attacks from time to time (there's no indication that this is Godzilla Jr. from before or that this carries on from any specific film in the series' past).
This introduces us to a group of Godzilla "storm chasers" ... G-Chasers? Whatever. It's a cool idea and I like the thought of "civilians" tracking Godzilla. Likewise, there's a government group led by a gruff scientist tasked with killing Godzilla.
In the meantime, an ancient meteorite found on the ocean floor is raised (tantalizingly reminding me of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe) and begins flying around before zapping Godzilla. We later find out that this alien craft (straight outta Flight of the Navigator) is looking for a lifeform's regenerative properties so it can reconstitute the aliens themselves. They find Godzilla.
There's not much new in the storyline. Chasing Godzilla, aliens. There are new things, though. New Godzilla design, for one. I'm not really a fan, but it's certainly well made.
Not so well done? The computer generated visual effects. Ouch.
I know 1999 was still, technically, the early days of CGI in films, but c'mon. So much of it is so poorly done. But I can forgive most of that.
The digital compositing, though, is truly horrible. This is noticeable especially in the daylight attack scenes. Godzilla seems to have excessive film grain and he wobbles in the water as the camera moves around. The tanks shift around on the shore, also with a poor-quality sheen, and lousily rendered CG helicopters sweep into the shot. I'm all for using real cities and landscapes in shots like these ... it helps expand the scope of the film, but if you're going to do that, make sure it looks good. The Gamera trilogy did it from time to time and it did look good. This doesn't.
Plus, there's an over-reliance on greenscreen. People in offices are obviously walking in front of greenscreens. Guys standing on top of tanks, walking on beaches ... There's so much obvious greenscreen work when there didn't have to be. It's distracting.
The big opponent this time around is the creation of the aliens, thanks to the Godzilla regeneration factor. Orga looks like a massive hulk with a cool shoulder cannon. Though each of Godzilla's breath blasts take out a chunk of Orga, he regrows it pretty quickly. After he tries to suck the life essence out of Godzilla (via some more poorly done CGI), Godzilla decides to climb into Orga's mouth vagina:
Apparently, blowing Orga up from the inside prevents the regeneration factor from working again.
Then it ends with Godzilla killing the a-hole government guy. For some reason.
The day effects were crap but the night effects were good. The characters were (mostly) developed. The plot was familiar. But it's Godzilla and that's good.
Godzilla 2000 ... nothing special but still enjoyable. 3 out of five atomic breath blasts.My son's turn:
Well, this one is a normal reboot. the story is that a asteroid falls to earth, Godzilla fights the asteroid, but the asteroid is actually a UFO. The UFO turns into a thing that tries to turn into Godzilla 2000 by eating him, but as we learned in Godzilla vs Biollante, there are consequences to eating Godzilla. Godzilla kills clone thing, done.
So, rating wise, i'll say 3.7 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!!!Here's the trailer:
Up next, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
(GIFs from DestructionMode)