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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
- ROUND 1: GODZILLA (1998) -
A few months before Godzilla came out there was an interesting preview being shown in theaters. We see a science teacher taking a group of young children on a field trip to a museum. They stop in front of the fossil replica of the T. Rex and the teacher begins droning on about what a ferocious predator the Tyrannosaurus was. Suddenly the ground begins shaking as if something very large is approaching. The kids look around nervously but the teacher doesn't notice.
Then a huge reptilian foot crashes through the museum roof and crushes the T.Rex skeleton into dust. This is at once a jab atJURASSIC PARK and a reference to the classic short film "Bambi vs. Godzilla"!
The movie itself was somewhat less than brilliant. In fact it was as dull witted as cousin Jeb after the tractor accident.
Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick: WARGAMES) plays a scientist called in by the U.S. government (the source of all evil in movie world) to help investigate some strange happenings in the South Pacific. Reports of ships attacked by giant beasts and huge footprints found on an island are all obvious clues, but no one can accept the obvious deduction. Then this monster from Tahiti attacks . . . Manhattan?
The reasoning here is that Godzilla, as in the original is awakened and/or created by nuclear testing and the only nuclear testing that goes on anymore (in the ocean) is done by the French in the South Pacific. But, the point of this remake is that Godzilla attacks the U.S. Got it? Okay, you say, but why not Los Angeles? At least it's on the Pacific so that would make a little bit of sense. Clearly, logic is not a priority.
Godzilla immediately begins tearing up the city, smashing buildings and causing a stampede of terrified New Yorkers. Think about that. A huge monster stomping around a place as densely populated as Manhattan would kill tens of thousands of people, not including those who'd die in the mad rush to get out of the city. This would be the greatest national disaster the U.S. has ever faced. So you'd think the people involved would be a little more . . . I don't know . . . upset? But Audrey Timmons (Maria Pitillo: NATURAL BORN KILLERS, SHE-DEVIL) and Victor "Animal" Palotti (Hank Azaria: HEAT), the reporters covering the story, seemed mildly interested at best. Or maybe they're just bad actors.
Audrey turns out to be Niko's ex-girlfriend and we can all see where that's going. Niko and the military arrive in the Big Apple and the hunt is on. Jets rush in to attack the giant monster but can't seem to do the job because Godzilla dodges their missiles! The explanation given is that they can't "lock on" because Godzilla is cold blooded. That tricky bastard! Since heat seeking missiles appear to be the only weapon in the Air Force's inventory, they are helpless. The Army brings in tanks but this 200 foot tall creature from the deep promptly disappears into the subway.
Yeah, I know.
As for a !!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!, let's wait a bit.
Godzilla turns out to be a girl as Dr. Niko and crew discover hundreds of eggs laid inside an abandoned sports stadium. What follows is a long, long section of the movie where everyone is chased around the stadium by the newly hatched baby Godzillas (which look and act suspiciously like the velociraptors from JURASSIC PARK). By the time they get back to the big Godzilla you've almost forgotten about him/her/whatever.
Mixed into the plot is mysterious French secret agent Phillipe Roache (Jean Reno: HITMAN) who seems able to outsmart the naive Americans at every turn. He's there to remind us that this whole thing is the fault of the French and their ecologically unsound nuclear testing.
He also reminds me of what an unforgivable mess this waste of time was. Plus, the one redeeming characteristic you'd think it would have, decent special effects, were nowhere to be seen. The effects were unimpressive and in some spots down right terrible. Godzilla gets one shriek girl.