Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Maria Pitillo, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer,
Arabella Field, Doug Savant
1998, 138 Minutes, Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Suspension of disbelief in movies is a strange
thing. Take Godzilla for example. Once one accepts the idea of a lizard which has
mutated into a forty-storey high monster because of French nuclear testing, it follows
that one should accept what comes next. But I simply couldnt do it. I kept on
applying logic and common sense where the film-makers would rather I hadnt.
biggest problem is that the director Emmerich (Independence Day)
should have taken his movies tagline of size does matter more seriously.
The Godzilla monster seems to change in size from scene to scene. On the one hand
hes large enough to demolish entire skyscrapers, on the other, he (it?) can blithely
hide away in the narrow tunnels of the subway. In one scene we see him noisily and
clumsily wandering through New York, unintentionally destroying buildings and property in
his wake. The next scene hes agilely dodging an entire swarm of helicopters while
running through the city. And the list goes on.
The movie should have been
titled Godzilla - the Amazing Shrinking and Resizing At Will Gecko. Oh, and
Teleporting. In one scene he not only outruns helicopters, but magically appears from
behind them to swat them from the air. This specific scene had me laughing out loud -
Im terrible in that way. How Godzilla (hes just an animal after
all, the Matthew Broderick character informs a general) outwits the American army
has to be seen to be believed. Fly above the buildings, not between them, you idiot!
I mentally admonished an onscreen helicopter pilot. Alas, the idea never
occurred to the pilot and his helicopter got swatted by Godzilla.
"It had me laughing out loud - I'm terrible in that way . . ."
Im getting carried away here. The point is that Godzilla isnt any of the
things mentioned above. He should rather be called the Lizard Who Does Whatever The
Screenplay Writers Demand Of Him to Develop The Plot. And the plot isnt so hot,
Im afraid. If you think the idea of New York being trashed by a gigantic lizard is
exciting, then wait till you see what the makers of this movie does with it: it is dead
dull and predictable, consisting of bits stolen from other (better) movies. Godzilla looks
like an Alien crossed with the T-Rex from Jurassic
Park, the egg scene was stolen from Aliens, where the baby
zillas hatch was nicked from the Velociraptor scene towards the end of Jurassic Park.
In fact it steals most of its ideas and imagery from Jurassic Park and its sequel
The Lost World. Like the latter film, it is always dark and murky.
Compare the scene in which the films heroes are chased around in a yellow taxi cab
by the creature: almost identical to a scene in Jurassic Park. And I can go on,
but I wont.
To be honest I felt
vaguely insulted by this movie . . . does Devlin and Emmerich really think audiences are
this dumb? Never being too much of a fan of their work (their stuff is mind-boggingly
unoriginal) I must say that Godzilla is definitely their worst movie yet. Yup,
worse than Universal Soldier, StarGate
and Independence Day. By the way, if you hadnt caught it: in the movie, New
Yorks idiot mayor and his sidekick are spoofs of Siskel & Ebert, no
doubt because these two well-known American film critics didnt like any of Emmerich
and Devlins previous movies. But Siskel & Ebert shouldnt feel alone: I
dont like their movies either . . .
But to be fair, kids in
the audience I was in were enthralled by the noise and spectacle of it all, so I rated Godzilla
two stars. Im fair that way. But if youre an adult, it rates a definite one
star . . . be forewarned . . .