Hello movie fans and G fans, this is James M the CrazyGamerHistorian1999 back to review another movie and its another Godzilla movie.This time we're taking a look at something that changed everything for Godzilla fans across the globe. Today, we're talking about Hollywood's very first attempt at a Godzilla movie; the 1998 Tristar Godzilla starring Mathew Brodrick himself and put together by the very folks who made Independence Day.
You heard me right, fellow movie fans. We're gonna review the movie that divided the Godzilla fan base and was greatly panned by half the world including Toho. But first, allow me to make something clear, I do not hate this movie. I actually like this film. It was awesome, creative and brilliant. Roland Emmerich is a genius. If it weren't for him, this movie would've been stuck in Development Heck for several more years and probably would have become Godzilla 2014 for all we know.
But first. let us go over the plot...
The film begins some time in the 1960s in the South Pacific where the French are conducting nuclear tests. Close by a group of Iguanas are nesting and actually observing most of the whole thing. After the nuclear bomb goes off, things change as a lone iguana is irradiated and begins to mutate over the next thirty years. Years later, a Japanese fishing ship comes under attack and is sunk leaving all but one survivor. When asked by the French what he saw, the Japanese man can only say, "Gojira, Gojira."
Boy, this feels familiar. Now where did we see a scenario with a sinking ship before, huh? More on that later.
We cut over to our main hero Doctor Nick Tatopoulos, who is an earthworm scientist in Ukraine studying how the effects of radioactivity have affected earthworms. Not long after, he is recruited by the United States military to assist them with an investigation and they go to Panama island and Jamaica island where they not only look into the sinking ship crisis, but also... footprints. Giant footprints! Are you getting an even bigger sense of deja vu yet? Ok, a little side note, this film is borrowing a bit from the original 1954 Godzilla film, but at least we're trying to keep things original, right?
Anyways, much later, after the group studies damaged ships and discuss what they're up against, a normal, yet rainy, day in New York City is disrupted when the giant monster responsible for attacking a bunch of vessels finally rises out of the sea and goes on a rampage all over Manhattan. Ruining Mayor Ebert's rally all while he's running for reelection. The creature? ITS GODZILLA!
AYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOONK, and he's a mutated iguana that looks like a huge freaking ugly T-Rex.
Following Godzilla's first attack, the millitary begins evacuating Manhattan and sets up a trap involving Zilla's favorite meal; Fish. Oh sure, like Godzilla's gonna eat a whole lot of tuna fish and you guys are gonna launch a surprise attack on him and take out this guy. Yeah, if you can't guess by now (assuming you've seen the movie already), the plan's gonna fail. As pretty much expected, Godzilla comes and does eat the fish. The millitary tries and fails to take out the Big G, at least they tried to shoot at him. Unfortunately, the American armed forces causes more damage to the city, even destroying the Chrysler Building. Aw, snap!
Not long after Godzilla vanishes again, Nick finds a blood sample and discovers that Godzilla is asexual and, well, he's having babies. Dun dun dun! That's right, Iguana Godzilla is male and female. Nick later meets up with his ex-girlfriend Audrey who is trying her darnedest to be a reporter. What role does Audrey play? She discovers classified video files about Godzilla, which include the Japanese guy, and turns them over to her boss. Within hours, Godzilla finally gets his name. That's right, up until this point, the characters have not named this monster and, now, thanks to Audrey (and Nick's stupidity), they can finally start calling the big guy "Godzilla".
After being removed from the anti-Godzilla team, Nick is recruited by Phillipe Roach and a group of French scientists who are posing as Americans so they can help take down Godzilla and find his nest. During the next encounter between Godzilla and the army, the big g dives underwater and barely survives an encounter with submarines that shoot at him with missiles. Meanwhile, Nick and the team discover that Godzilla not only trashed Madison Square Garden, he laid eggs there. The eggs hatch and we get... BABY GODZILLA RAPTORS. Nick and the French including Audrey and cameraman Animal manage to escape and hide in a broadcast area where they get out a message to the USA millitary and request a bombing attack on the nest.
Our heroes escape in time as the Air Force bombs the nest and wipes out the Baby Godzillas. Shortly after Godzilla surfaces, still alive and enraged by the loss of his children. He pursues Nick and the others, who flee in a Taxi and the chase takes them to Brooklyn Bridge. The chase ends after a lengthy taxi chase with the Big G trapped in the wires of the bridge and unable to escape as the Air Force comes in and starts shooting him with missiles. After being gravely injured and mortally wounded, Godzilla finally collapses and is defeated. The citizens rejoice the monster's defeat and there's happy endings all around... Or so it seems.
In the ruins of Madison Square Garden, we discover that one egg barely survived it all and as the camera zooms in on it, the egg hatches and the movie ends with the surviving and newly born baby Godzilla roaring, setting up a sequel which would only come in the form of Godzilla the Animated Series.
Overall, Godzilla 1998 is a very fun ride and a really good film, regardless of any issues it has and how divisive among the fan base it can be at times. The first time I watched it (on DVR when I was ten), I got some enjoyment out of it. The second time (on DVD when I was twelve), I had fun. While many hated the film, others liked it. In fact, despite its negative reception, Godzilla 1998 was a box office success. All these years later, this film has left behind a hilarious legacy and has been referenced a few times. In 2001's GMK, during the first part of the movie, there is discussion on whether or not the creature that attacked New York a few years before was Godzilla.
Japanese Guy: Was it Godzilla?
Japanese Guy 2: That's what the American experts claim, but we doubt it.
Later in 2004's Final Wars, the big guy made an appearance and actually fought the Japanese Godzilla, only to get its butt kicked. In fact, Toho renamed the creature Zilla, not the Japanese Godzilla, the Tristar one. A great choice so that way we can figure out which is which, also helped by the fact that Zilla aka 1998 USA Godzilla doesn't look like the Japanese Godzilla at all. Godzilla 1998 was Hollywood's shot at introducing Godzilla to a new generation of viewers, and you know what, in a sense, Hollywood actually did succeed.
I give this film a solid 9/10 . With that, I close out the review. See you all next time people.