Saturday, 15 May 2010

Looking Back: Godzilla (1998)

If you were a gigantic, dino-like creature, where would you go? I, personally, would head to Disneyland. My purpose? Animating the rides the way i wanted, all-the-while terrorizing the tourists. It seems that i'm the only one. According to 98% of monster flicks, the guaranteed hot spot is New York; The City That Never Sleeps.

A rule which is undoubtedly correct for disaster-extraordinaire Roland Emmerich, re-inventing the Japanese creation - from tail to snout - and spicing it up, giving us the big-budget version of Godzilla. Something which, upon release, was highly criticised.

Vastly enhanced (physically) by nuclear bombs, the well-known lizard travels to The Big Apple where scientist Nick Tatopoulos (Ferris Bueller's Matthew Broderick) is helping the military rid the creature due to it's continuous urge to cause destruction wherever it goes.

Whilst there, Nick meets college sweetheart Audrey, a kind-hearted, wannabe-news reporter who wastes no time in using his inside knowledge to further her own career.

Released in 1998, the film wasn't particularly praised by critics. A grudge held entirely against Emmerich's re-invention of the animal, but - without wishing for negativity over the original films - actually making the 'monster' look like a monster, and not a man flailing around in a less-than-average suit. But like most of Emmerich's films, criticisms were made, but some - myself included - weren't disillusioned over the fact that the film was/remains to be two hours of pure popcorn entertainment.

Like most of it's kind, the script wasn't developed to full capabilities. Still, a story was made, and whilst not perfect, was suitable. Lead by geeky, anti-hero Nick, no connections to any characters are particularly noticeable. Excluding charming, adventure-craving Hank Azaria, most of the characters aren't particularly well-rounded enough to care about, but, together, are enjoyable. Dramatic and, at times, over-the-top, but clearly enthusiastic for their roles, making the film appear even more like a 70's creature-feature.

The romance between the two leads is a desperate, but cheaply effective, attempt at creating some sort of emotional attachment which, as the film progresses, becomes more and more blatant.

Still, when were monster movies made to mentally-charge it's audiences? They're not. What we want are the monsters energetically rampaging throughout big cities; and this is Roland Emmerich, of course that's what we're going to get!

Clearly maintaining his flare for staging an epic, special effects-laden action sequence, Godzilla couldn't be more full to the brim of them if it even tried. Containing copious amounts of CGI, explosions and the 'dinosaur' himself, Emmerich's vigorous directing is fitted entirely for a film of this particular standard.


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