Godzilla 2000 (1999) — This is how you do a silly monster movie

“This missile will go through Godzilla like crap through a goose.”

Justin’s rating: And they told me I was crazy to wear that rubber suit around the office

Justin’s review: I have a confession to make: I fell asleep in the middle of this movie. Zonked out cold. Of course, it would be hard to hear my snores as Godzilla was shooting his Atomic Fire Breath ™ on the screen, so fortunately I didn’t wake up with popcorn jammed up my nostrils from my fellow movie patrons.

But in all honestly, I only fell asleep because I was pretty tired that day. Godzilla 2000 is actually a good monster film (from what I was awake to see), one that I suspect would be absolutely great if viewed with a bunch of friends on a Friday night. I found aspects of this movie to be downright hysterical (and whether it’s meant to be intentional or not is unknown… thus, the added dimension of fun). The special effects are better than the old Godzilla movies, but they’re still lightyears from realistic levels.

In one of my favorite scenes, Godzilla wades up onto a beach, and if you look at his feet, he is obviously hovering many feet above the sand. The monster itself looks extremely perturbed, unable to express his emotions more fully than absolute carnage. The world is his beach, and the skyscrapers of industry are mere sandcastles under his scaly feet.

Happily, G2K doesn’t take much time getting straight to stomping and destruction and musings that the property value in Tokyo must be little more than pennies on the dollar for having to put up with this monster time and time again. Godzilla here is chased around by the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN), which consists of one ugly guy who deep down dearly loves the lizard, a bratty little kid that needs to be smacked by some dead fish, and a vapid reporter who places absolutely no value on her life.

The three members of the GPN find their sort-of-nemesis in a crisis/military commander who is out to very un-politically correctly kill Godzilla. In the first half-hour we’re treated to probably the best action sequence in the film, as the military launches everything it’s got (including Matthew Broderick attached to a missile) at the beast. Godzilla’s feelings are hurt, probably due to a past parental conflict, and he destroys some more.

This is where the film goes a little wrong: It takes the focus off Godzilla for a good hour and whisks us to the land of Strange Yet Boring Sub-Plots. The GPN researches Godzilla and finds some regenerative powers in his radioactive cells. “What if we could use this gene to heal humans instantly?” one character muses. Yes, that would be beneficial, except that we would then create an indestructible Leonardo DiCaprio, and who wants that? The GPN tries to keep sensitive Godzilla information from the military. The military discovers a darn big rock that turns out to be a UFO hellbent on killing Godzilla. More power to it, I say. The military, unhappy that they cannot capture said UFO and take a field trip to Pearl Harbor, goes ahead and does what it does best: blows things up.

And there’s a lot of other strange character interactions that are hard to decipher, because the dubbing often lends different intonations to whatever emotions the characters are showing on screen:

Ugly Guy: [looking upset and constipated] Godzilla is God! We must break for lunch! I love you forever, Pikachu!

Bratty Kid: [smiling like a little angel] I distrust all men and Godzilla! When will my brain be filled with candy?

Bimbo Reporter: [trying like anything to get her eyes to pop out of her head] I cannot load film into a camera properly, even though I am a fiftieth-generation Japanese woman!

Eventually Godzilla gets back in the mix, and there’s a long long long battle with some new monster created by the UFO. The destruction is acceptable, the casualties somewhere in the millions, and none of the humans look happy no matter who is winning. The military commander is killed for no other reason than he just wanted a closer look at Godzilla. So, G2K really makes no sense. It’s not supposed to. I found myself snorting my Icee (mmm… cherry flavor…) at utterly illogical plot developments and bizarre dialogue. I just wish they’d let me be the guy in the suit one of these days. I could add another foot of height, easily.

PoolMan’s rating: I’m still laughing at the “like crap through a goose” line

PoolMan’s review: You know, I’m really bad with horror movies. The creepier they are, the less likely I am to watch them. The only known exception is the Aliens series, just because the creatures are so damned cool. But sadly enough, I’m the kind of person who watches a thriller, and then spends half the night wondering if the monster from the flick tracked my video rental card and followed me home for an ironic killing, usually from the closet.

But the fear is never in the monsters, it’s in the presentation. Tense music, dark imagery, and characters who do everything to get killed short of marinate in barbecue sauce keep me a-tingly, and I don’t enjoy it. But give me the monsters! I love creature effects! And who’s the King of Monsters? Godzilla, baby.

I look forward to another viewing of Godzilla with friends (I saw it alone the first time), simply for the satisfaction of taking my eyes off the screen and watching my cohorts’ faces contort as they try to figure out what the HELL is going on! Nuclear powered lizards! Toilet seat-shaped UFO’s! Japanese people who run around shouting in German! Nothing in this whole flick makes any sense, and yet when you get to those cardboard building smashing moments, you will grin from ear to ear and reject any future CGI versions of Godzilla as rubbish. Guys in rubber suits clumsily battling it out and trying not to fall over too soon is where it’s at, man.

And honestly, it’s all just too funny. In the middle of a tense military meeting, as the “bad guy” evaluates his options to destroy Godzilla, one of the scientists actually describes their new missiles as capable of passing through Godzilla “like crap through a goose!”. Pardon?!? Ah, it is to laugh. There is so much to enjoy here, and none of it requires an IQ any higher than that of a monkey. If you’re looking for a great Friday night with the boys flick, here’s your rent.

Kyle’s rating: um, did anyone else see what I just did?

Kyle’s review: If you get a kick out of any of the previous Godzilla films, even the wacky 1985 installment or the recent Americanized Godzilla vs. Ferris Bueller affair, then you will dig Godzilla 2000. It’s not a homage or retread of what came before it; the film plays as part of the ongoing struggle to deal with Godzilla that has been portrayed in all the installments through the years.

But even if your only Godzilla experience is from a monster-crazed friend’s lunatic ramblings and/or the occasional MTV Movie Awards reference thrown in, the story is simple and straightforward enough for fans and newcomers alike to enjoy themselves. It’s nice to see the big guy (in a suit, not created via computer effects like certain Presidents we have!) back in rare form as he destroys and smashes and still hears the cheers of star-struck admirers. Go, Godzilla!

But now I have to discuss one little thing that you’ll see in the movie, so if you haven’t seen Godzilla 2000 yet TAKE A HIKE!!! Okay, those-in-the-know, let me ask you this: was anyone else mildly disturbed yet strangely absorbed by the vagina dentata inherent in the villain creature’s final form? Wasn’t Godzilla’s face right before he bounded into the delicate flower in the creature’s mouth kind of disconcerting? Shouldn’t the father have covered the eyes of his daughter and used the opportunity to hit on the hot newslady? Am I the only one who read odd sexual overtones into this entire movie? The whole atomic breath thing, the endless smashing through concrete highways, glowing cellular material . . . I should stop right now, shouldn’t I? I think I will.

Good monster movie! Rent it now, but if you’ve got kids be ready for a serious birds-and-bees talk when it’s over. Thanks for doing your part to educate the masses, Godzilla!

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