I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Godzilla (1998)

“We got approached with GODZILLA, and Dean was really in favor. I said, ‘Are you crazy? Have you seen a Godzilla film? How does the monster look? They put a guy in there.'” –Roland Emmerich

May 20, 1998

Man, LOST IN SPACE was a terrible summer blockbuster, but I was kind of excited to take a look at it because I had skipped it at the time and there was 20 years of curiosity build-up. And there’s another one coming later in the summer that I despised at the time, but it ended up being influential and kickstarting an in-my-opinion-bad-but-oddly-fascinating filmography, so I’m looking forward to finding out how I’ll feel about it now.

GODZILLA has neither of those factors going for it. I thought it sucked then and it has not grown better or more interesting. Director Roland Emmerich (WHITE HOUSE DOWN) has gone on to make fairly successful (but widely mocked) FX movies, often in the disaster genre. The only significance to this one is that it deflated his premature ascension to blockbuster-A-list after the still-befuddling-to-me smash success of INDEPENDENCE DAY in 1996. TriStar Pictures managed to build up fevered anticipation with a series of teasers that kept the design of the monster a secret. I remember one used the scene where the fisherman runs down the dock as Godzilla’s spikes tear through it. The tagline “SIZE DOES MATTER” simultaneously promised thrilling spectacle and giggled “ha ha, you get it, because of penises.”

I was skeptical on account of my belief in the auteur theory. I was one of the rare wet blankets who hated ID4 (which stands for “Independence Day takes place partly on July 4th”) and as much as I wanted to see a cool modern Godzilla movie I didn’t think this guy had the skills to do it. On May 20th most of the world ended up agreeing with me.

Like so many of Emmerich’s films with writer/producer Dean Devlin, this is an annoying mix of destruction spectacle and ensemble character drama with relationships worthy of a bad sitcom and shtick that the same show would’ve rejected. Emmerich loves cartoonish archetypes and accents, so he has Simpsons voice actors Harry Shearer as a news anchor and Hank Azaria as a working class New Yorker cameraman named “Animal.” He has Jean Reno (at one point wearing white shirt and suspenders like LEON) as a French spy with a crew named Jean-Luc, Jean-Claude, Jean-Pierre and Jean-Philippe. He has such jokes as “ha ha, nobody can pronounce the main character’s last name” and “ha ha, a guy is fishing and then he thinks he caught something but it’s Godzilla” and “oh my goodness a guy has headphones on and he’s rocking out and doesn’t notice Godzilla is about to eat his truck” and “when Godzilla roars he has really bad breath so Matthew Broderick makes a funny face because of Godzilla eats fish,” and “you guys you are gonna laugh so hard at this the Mayor’s name is Mayor Ebert and he looks like Roger Ebert and he has an aide named Gene who looks like Gene Siskel and the thing about it is Mayor Ebert likes to eat candy alot can you believe this joke you guys this is an amazing joke I have for you all also he gives a thumbs down.”

Mayor Ebert and Gene are played by Michael Lerner (MANIAC COP 2) and Lorry Goldman (HERO AND THE TERROR). This bit must’ve been revenge for Ebert’s one-star review of STARGATE. He seems to have panned all of Emmerich’s movies, but usually mildly. He compared Ally Walker in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER to Debra Winger, for example, and his INDEPENDENCE DAY review concluded that it’s “in the tradition of silly summer fun, and on that level I kind of liked it, as, indeed, I kind of like any movie with the courage to use the line, ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it.’” So, much like well-reviewed M. Night Shyamalan’s anti-film-critic streak in LADY IN THE WATER, this makes Emmerich seem like kind of a baby.

(The joke didn’t cause Ebert to be any easier on GODZILLA, but he wrote that “they let us off lightly; I fully expected to be squished like a bug by Godzilla.”)

Broderick (THE CABLE GUY) plays Dr. Nick Tatopoulos, a scientist whose mutant worm study is interrupted when he gets snatched up by the government to investigate the giant monster attack on a Japanese fishing boat. The other lead is Audrey Timmonds (Maria Pitillo, TRUE ROMANCE, NATURAL BORN KILLERS), the mistreated assistant to Shearer’s news anchor character. She wants to be a journalist and also dated Nick eight years ago in college but ghosted him and now sees him on TV and goes and finds him both to rekindle their love and to take advantage of him to get a story (even though she’s not a reporter).

Much like Tea Leoni in DEEP IMPACT she’s an aspiring TV journalist who lucks into inside information and is able to use it to advance her career and (though this is not the intent of either movie) she does not seem to be good at the job at all. I think in both cases we’re supposed to relate to them and admire their tenacity in putting their feet in the door, but it accidentally creates this idea that women can only prove themselves in this field by coincidentally being in the path of a disaster.

We should note, though, that Emmerich’s UNIVERSAL SOLDIER had a female reporter proving herself after a firing by getting a big scoop on zombie-soldiers, so this may not have been an idea specific to what was in the air in ’98.

One of Audrey’s secret weapons: her friend Animal got the only footage of this “dinosaur” attacking Manhattan. Obviously 9-11 happened only three years later, and there’s plenty of footage of that even though cell phone cameras still weren’t invented, so we know this is far-fetched.

I don’t know what to make of the motif of bosses hitting on subordinates. In the case of Dr. Chapman (Vicki Lewis, PUSHING TIN) hitting on Nick, it’s comic relief. In the case of Audrey’s boss, thankfully, it’s played as sleaze.

Early on Emmerich follows the JURASSIC PARK template, scientists out in nature following a trail of giant footprints, helicopters flying over, conversations happening in the back of speeding Jeeps. But most of the movie, whether in a fishing boat or New York City, takes place in the pouring rain at night. We eventually see the monster when it attacks Manhattan, and on that day in May when the film first unspooled in public the world was collectively surprised and dismayed that this Godzilla doesn’t look like Godzilla. It’s a big-chinned, hunched over iguana type thing that runs around really fast and hops and stuff. There’s alot of computer animation (some of that looks pretty dated now), but I read that they built a 1/6 scale animatronic too, probly when they just have the head close up, because he looks better in those scenes. To me the most memorable shot, though, is a CGI one where he appears to be getting it on with a building.

The one original Godzilla feature that Emmerich felt it was important to keep was that the monster was created by nuclear radiation. This is done in a surprisingly hokey way: scratchy footage of Komodo dragons watching a nuclear test. It looks like the American b-movies that the original GOJIRA: KING OF THE MONSTERS already improved upon in 1956.

There’s a whole stretch that involves the monster chasing the main characters while they’re in a taxi, so Emmerich introduces his love for improbable driving feats that will later be elaborated upon by John Cusack’s limo driver character in 2012. A funny part is that Animal is the one behind the wheel but the movie seems to give all the credit to Nick’s backseat driving. Godzilla eats the car but before he swallows it the doctor uses his worm expertise or whatever to know the right timing to say “Okay, gun it! Go go go!” so Animal jumps the taxi out of the mouth and lands safely on the Brooklyn Bridge. As long as we can accept that the stupidest shit in Emmerich movies is the fun part, this is the most fun part I think.

A less fun part is the whole long section about Godzilla eggs hatching in Madison Square Garden. Although the entire marketing campaign was based around the tagline “Size does matter,” they decided that what people really want to see in a giant monster movie is some small monsters. After this went on for much longer than I had patience for I checked the running time and could not believe I had 40 god damn minutes left!

The way we finally get past the baby part is that they call in fighter jets to bomb the Garden. After much buildup some jets fly in, bomb once, declare it a “clean” run and leave, with no one bothering to check and everyone declaring it all over with. Great work everybody.

I must admit that there are a couple jokes I appreciated in the spirit they were intended. The French spies have to pass for American soldiers, and part of their disguise is to chew gum. Also Reno’s character tries to avoid speaking to the real soldiers at a checkpoint but, having no other choice, he disguises his accent by talking in an Elvis voice. And given a wave-through he says “Thank you very much.” That did make me laugh.

But then he says “Elvis Presley movies. He was the King,” and I wished I could get a refund on my laugh. Don’t explain your joke, fellas.

I have one other positive thing to say. The second person on screen is Al Leong (DIE HARD).

GODZILLA opened big as expected, then dropped off 59% in the second week. So maybe size does matter but stamina is also important? Long after the movie was gone, the crap remained in its wake. There were plush toys, keychains, gumball dispensers, trading cards, banks, bubble bath, shampoo, watches, umbrellas, bedding, towels, rugs, a “KFC Godzilla Monster Meal,” plastic Taco Bell cups and cup holders and toys, Edy’s “Godzilla™ Vanilla with Chocolate Godzilla™ Chips & Fudge” ice cream, a handheld “Virtual Shakin'” video game, “a monstrously fun game of daring, dodging and squishing!” that included “8 cans of colorful Squish-It dough,” another board game called “Godzilla™ Street Stomping™ Game,” birthday invitations, “Atomic Glow-in-the-dark HyperHyde Finger Puppets,” a pinball game, a 6′ inflatable Godzilla, a limited edition Zippo lighter, a Halloween mask, and many toys and action figures primarily from Trendmasters, the same company that did the hideous LOST IN SPACE toys. Busy summer for them.

I can’t imagine many kids were excited for the action figures of the humans with the unnatural poses and giant weapons of the era (Grapple Gear Nick, Capture Net Phillipe, Power Shield Jean-Luc, Rapid-Attack Battle Bike with Godzilla Force Animal, etc.). Personally I think the monster looks better in some of the promotional art than he does in the movie, though they didn’t do themselves any favors with that ugly glowing green logo.

Because stores were having trouble selling that stuff, Trendmasters cancelled a second line they’d created for Christmas release as well as one for the more popular animated series based on the movie and starring Ian Ziering as Dr. Tatopoulos.

Being the thorough researcher that I am, I tried to watch some of the cartoon. It has a baby Godzilla that imprints on Nick, then grows and fights other monsters. It has Audrey (Paget Brewster) and Animal (Joe Pantoliano) plus somebody playing the Vicki Lewis character and a French lady that knows Jean Reno. I didn’t get to it but apparently Lerner returns as his beloved character Mayor Ebert. I think Godzilla looks much better than he does in the movie, and all of the monsters are well designed and animated, but otherwise it’s pretty typical afternoon cartoon shit, so I didn’t make it even two episodes in

I believed then, and continue to believe now, that they would’ve gotten away with this movie if they just made it look like Godzilla. It would not have been a beloved movie, but it would’ve delivered the one thing everyone was looking for: Godzilla fucking up some buildings with post-JURASSIC PARK effects technology. Researching the movie now I wasn’t too surprised to learn that Emmerich had a disdain for Godzilla movies and had turned down the project for years until the success of ID4 gave him the clout to do it “his way.” That included pushing creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos to “go wild,” but the designer already felt “It’s more disrespectful for me to alter something existing than to take a fresh new direction. It means ‘Oh, your Godzilla is what it is, but we can make it better.” So he thought it would be more respectful to make it worse?

Of course Tatopoulos was important enough to Emmerich and Devlin that they named their main character after him. His design also reignited their interest at a time when they were considering backing out of the movie. But I won’t hold it against him too much because he was an excellent production designer on DARK CITY and 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE. He also designed the aliens in PITCH BLACK/CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK/RIDDICK, the robot in I, ROBOT and the monsters in SILENT HILL. He’s done some good shit. One of his earliest IMDb credits is as art director and conceptual artist on BEASTMASTER 2: THROUGH THE PORTAL OF TIME. So I like him.

Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (THE MASK OF ZORRO, SMALL SOLDIERS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, THE LONE RANGER) receive a story credit because of an almost entirely unrelated script they wrote in 1993 that Jan De Bont had been slated to direct until he left over a budget disagreement (or, he said after seeing and hating this movie, for wanting to make it in the spirit of the Japanese Godzilla).

His version would’ve been about a scientist hunting Godzilla for killing her husband, but ultimately accepting him as a defender of Earth. De Bont wanted his eventual TWISTER leads Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton to star. He had a more traditional looking Godzilla fighting a winged monster called the Gryphon (both were designed by Crash McCreery at Stan Winston Studios). Elliott & Rossio had wanted to use Ghidorah until they learned that the character wasn’t included in the American rights. Their script contained one particularly brilliant kaiju maneuver that would’ve been a classic: Godzilla rips off the other monster’s head and impales it on the torch of the Statue of Liberty like some savage putting a head on a stake.

When Emmerich came aboard he ditched that script in part because he didn’t like monsters fighting. “It’s just the same movie over and over again. They always had another monster in it, and I never get anything out of two monsters fighting.”

(I read the script a long time ago, but there’s great information about the canceled movie here)

Emmerich’s non-monster-fighting GODZILLA is that rare movie that makes $375 million but is so universally disliked that they never continued with an intended trilogy. But they didn’t give up immediately. In 1999, Emmerich and Devlin did hire Tab Murphy (Disney’s TARZAN, Thomas Jane’s DARK COUNTRY) to write a treatment for a sequel.

In Murphy’s story, Dr. Tatopoulos is “tortured by guilt” for helping kill Godzilla. He views scientists dissecting the monster’s body parts in a warehouse, but refuses to take part in the project. Then he finds a “BabyZilla” and helps it escape to the water. Two years later the doctor ends up in Australia tracking this new Godzilla (which nuzzles him because it’s imprinted on him) and its brood of “TeenZillas.” Also he goes to Monster Island and sees mutant animals. Later Godzilla fights a new monster the treatment just calls “The Queen Bitch.” I guess to make up for Emmerich having to direct a monster fight there’s also a whole thing about fighter jets dogfighting with giant insects.

To me the biggest headscratcher about the treatment is that it brings back part 1 lead Audrey only to marry Nick right before he’s abducted by a Godzilla task force. It actually says “(Note: this is the first and last we see of Audrey).” Instead the female lead is “a beautiful and rugged no-nonsense female biologist” he encounters in Australia. Towards the end he’s handed a note that says his marriage has been annulled, which is convenient because then he rescues the biologist and they embrace! I wonder what the fuck was up with that?

TriStar didn’t want to give Emmerich and Devlin as much of a budget as they wanted, so the sequel stalled until the rights lapsed back to Toho.

The final days of the Tatopoulos monster were in its birth country of Japan, where it became canon that it was not the real Godzilla. It’s just some dumb asshole who’s quickly killed by the real Godzilla in Ryuhei Kitamura’s GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (2004). Perhaps to underline that GODZILLA ’98 represents the worst of American culture, the scene is accompanied by a Sum 41 song.

Kitamura and Shōgo Tomiyama, producer of sixteen Godzilla movies dating back to GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE in 1989, claimed to have liked Emmerich’s movie, but the producer renamed its monster “Zilla” because “Hollywood’s Godzilla is just a normal monster. He’s not a God. Hollywood treated Godzilla as a live monster or live animal. They shot him down with missiles and all that.”

(Weird trivia: Tatopoulos almost made his directorial debut with BRADLEY COOPER’S THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, but was replaced by Kitamura. What does Kitamura have against that guy!?)

Hate for this GODZILLA was so universal that for years it was treated as a scandal that Harry Knowles had given it a rave review. The accusations had to do with him being flown to the premiere by the studio, but they stuck because it seemed so implausible for someone to love this shit. Eventually he conceded that the movie sucked and he had gotten swept away by the crowd and the pageantry of the event.

A new American Godzilla film was made in 2014, also called GODZILLA but using a monster that resembles the Godzilla we know from 60 years of films. It does not acknowledge Dr. Tatopoulos or any previous attacks by iguana-like lizards – a true restarting-the-computer-because-it-was-fucked-up reboot. Though not exactly a cultural phenomenon either, that movie is getting a sequel, not to mention a KING KONG crossover. And each time that Godzilla (or new Japanese incarnations such as SHIN GODZILLA or the animated GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS) stomps its feet it’s packing the earth harder over the grave of Zilla. Let’s make sure that spot doesn’t get struck by lightning or pissed on by a Freddy dog or anything. So long, Zilla. You are not missed.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 at 10:20 am and is filed under Monster, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

86 Responses to “Godzilla (1998)”

  1. The one thing that’s stuck with me about the 98 Godzilla phenomenon isn’t even the movie. It’s the soundtrack. Like so many late 90s soundtracks it has a weird mix of artists, and I remember thinking at the time that Puff Daddy’s “Come with Me” was the nadir of lazy sampling from that era.

    And then there’s the Rage Against the Machine song, which includes the lyrics “Godzilla pure motherfucking filler, get your eyes off the real killer.” It then goes on to criticize consumerism and America. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song off a soundtrack that had more disdain for the movie it was supposed to advertise. And the song had to have been written long before the movie came out, but for some reason Rage knew. They knew all along.

  2. Okay, here I go again: I really like this one! In my eyes, it’s a real GODZILLA movie. Okay, the very first one remains a masterpiece that had some good subtext about the horrors of a post-Hiroshima world, but the Emmerich movie is like the other movies: A bunch of cool giant monster mayhem, embedded in way too much crap about human characters, that nobody cares about.

    I think Vicky Lewis missed a few NEWS RADIO episodes because of it, if I’m not mistaken. I hope she got paid well, because as much as I like ZILLA, it’s no excuse for missing out on NEWS RADIO.

    Soundtrack notes: For some reason I don’t own the album or listened to it in full. I do however own the Puff Daddy single (36 year old me wouldn’t even add it to a Spotify playlist, but 16 year old me, who only knew Led Zeppelin by name, really loved it!), the Jamiroquai single (which is still one of my top 3 songs from that band) and the The Wallflowers single, which might be the best coverversion of a David Bowie song ever (Heroes).

    Random memory: The day it opened here, a radio station aired a bunch of increasingly bizarre skits, with an intro in which some kids sing a song about how much they love Godzilla because he is their hero. My favourite episode was the one where Godzilla goes to the barber to get a haircut like Aaron Carter, then cuts the barber’s head off with his own scissors, because he said that Carter looks stupid.

  3. Nephew and I just watched it Sunday for it’s 20th Anniversary. Cool trivia: watching BEAST OF 20,000 FATHOMS and the original 1954 Japanese GODZILLA movies does this one no favors. Even as a life-long Godzilla fan I never hated this movie. It’s a passable, at best, giant monster movie. I dunno, this movie is so generic and lazy it’s hard to get emotionally worked up over I feel.

    The real problem with this movie isn’t stupid ’90’s attitude towards design and adaptation, the problem with this movie is a weird tone that can’t make up it’s mind if we’re supposed to take it seriously or not (ala the ’76 KING KONG) and some really bad characters even on the standard of an Emerich/Devlin (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER)/Big-Dumb-Modern-Blockerbuster joint. I’m sick of the usual kneejerk: ‘all Japanese monster movies have forgettable characters.’ Balderdash! There’s every single character in INVASION OF ASTRO MONSTER, The weird goofy crew from VS GIGAN, The cyborg lady from TERROR OF GODZILLA, that total badass who climbs a building to shoot a missile into Godzilla’s mouth in VS BIOLANTE, the thief stuck with losers in VS SEA MONSTER, Jet motherf***ing Jaguar!!, etc. That line still comes up today in regards to the 2014 movie and I was seeing some crazy people say that about SHIN GODZILLA as well. Anyways, there are some fun and maybe even interesting characters in here but they are all side-lined in favor of a sleep-walking woefully miscast Matthew Broderick as super boring scientist guy and Maria Pitillo who is given a thankless girl friend who ranges from being unlikably whiny to just unlikable. Meanwhile we have Jean Reno and Hank Azaria who are much better characters but get shifted. Basically Emerich/Devlin did the same thing here they did with STARGATE: sideline the cool Kurt Russel character in favor of the boring James Spader character.

    But for the first hour and a half or so it’s a serviceable, at best, modern take on BEAST OF 20,000 FATHOMS formula. The helicopter chase scene is fun and is the only time it really comes alive in the spectacle department. Then it just keeps going and going and the Madison Square Garden sequence and chase climax don’t really deliver.

    Super controversial hot-take: It’s not as boring as the 1992 GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA and that awful anime GODZILLA: MONSTER PLANET movie that came out last/this year.

  4. ‘A bunch of cool giant monster mayhem, embedded in way too much crap about human characters, that nobody cares about.’

    If you don’t care about the Martian-possessed princess in GHIDORAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER (just to name one of many great fun characters in the series), then you have no soul…

  5. I would like to point out that this review doesn’t show up on top of the websight. In fact, it’s underneath the WILD THINGS review.

  6. Also I am open to the possibility that the classic Godzilla movies lost a bunch of entertainment value through dubbing and possible cuts made by the German distributors, however until further notice, I stand by my “fuck the humans in these movies” view.

  7. You sir have no heart nor taste. Plus I read up on the German releases of these movies and apparently all of them are tied to FRANKENSTEIN which sounds hilarious.

  8. I was all set to defend Trendmasters’ honor on the basis that they did the first toyline for Toy Story, but then I remembered that that was Thinkway Toys and the argument crumbled. I did own some of the Lost in Space and Godzilla toys, though, and they were pretty cool for what they were.

    I liked Godzilla when I saw in theaters, but I was a.) we’ll aware of the anti-hylpe and went in with low expectations, and also b.) 15 years old. What can I say, at the time I had a soft spot for computer generated dinosaurs and dinosaur-like monsters. I’ve never gone back to revisit it and see if I’d hate it now; possibly I would.

  9. Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with all those Frankensteins in the German titles either. I get why a million Italo Western were re-named DJANGO (and in one case: NOBODY) or why some Mario Bava gothic joints suddenly have Dracula in their title (For example OPERAZIONE PAURA has the hilarious title THE DEAD EYES OF DR DRACULA here), but I simply can’t figure out what Frankenstein has to do with Godzilla. Especially when, if I remember right, the movies don’t mention Dracula at all. At least the people behind the Bavas dropped a few Drac lines here and there into the dub. (Also “dropping a Drac line into the dub” sounds like either slang for doing drugs or a very filthy sex act.)

  10. *the movies don’t mention FRANKENSTEIN at all.

  11. The Trendmaster toys of OG Godzilla were cool, had a bunch of them (didn’t have any for the ’98 line):

    By cool I mean it’s from my childhood and thus above criticism. Despite my love of toyetic crap I do not collect figures as I have no room for them and the money can be spent elsewhere.

  12. Having a soft spot for Emmerich/Devlin is one of my absolute worst character flaws, but even I have to admit this one really sucks. Emmerich movies are gonna live or die by the earnestness and charisma of their casts, who have to completely embrace the corniness and still be likeable. Reno does OK with that but Broderick, Timmons and Azaria are completely ill-suited to this sort of thing, and barely even make an impression, and they’re allllll over the movie.

    Hot take: the Tatopolous ‘Zilla is actually not all that bad a design in and of itself. It’s no substitute for a real Godzilla, but I think Kitamura is right that it would be a perfectly fine Godzilla antagonist, or a monster from a SyFy channel original movie or something. I appreciate that it’s a sleek, visually uncomplicated creature (unlike most modern CG monsters which are a big mess of tentacles and wiggly bits) which, having derived from Marine Iguanas, has a vague sense of biological plausibility to it. Unfortunately it never gets to do anything very cool (I do like it swimming, which makes sense given its iguana roots) and ending the whole thing with the baby ‘zillas was just spectacularly, jaw-droppingly misguided. I mean, I don’t think I can imagine something which more obviously demonstrates how much Emmerich failed to understand the appeal of this basic premise (especially since they just look like meek, diminished versions of the big one! At least get a new monster in there if you’re gonna go in a different direction!). Like, any five-year-old could have told you not to do that.

    Fortunately, Emmerich must have warmed a little bit to the concept of giant monsters since this one, because the kaiju climax of INDEPENDENCE DAY:RESURGENCE is actually pretty fun.

  13. I also rather like this one, I find it to be an easy watch and the least egregious post-UNIVERSAL SOLDIER Emmerich feature that I have seen. The lower-mid-tier-episode-of-FRIENDS feel of this is a lot easier to take for me, even pleasant, compared to the frantic mugging of ID4 or the protracted melodrama of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, and it doesn’t trot out the hoariest dramatic cliches imaginable when it decides it wants us to care about its characters (ID4 again)

    It probably does help that the “proper” GODZILLA films aren’t that popular over here; I’m not sure most of us would be able to pass a “which one is Godzilla and which one is Reptar” test. I did watch GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK recently and must admit it knocked the spots off either American film. However the one time I saw the original GOJIRA I must confess I found it pretty dull, but I am open to giving it another try one day.

    RE: the soundtrack; possibly the archetypal example of a huge soundtrack inconspicuous crowbarred into its film; DEEPER UNDERGROUND (with its $1million tie-in video) playing faintly and briefly in a subway scene, COME WITH ME and the HEROES cover in the background of bar and party scenes etc

  14. CJ: Yeah that’s what I read from one German fan wrote up a little thing on it. That Frankenstein is never mentioned but the title would suggest that Frankenstein was behind the rival monster or something. My favorite German retitling does not have Frankenstein in the title, GAMERA VS BARUGON is called Godzilla der Drache aus dem Dschunge

  15. I will moderately defend the baby zillas. I also haven’t seen this movie in almost 20 years, but I seem to remember that I thought their inclusion alleviated some of the main problem with the original Godzilla movies: giving the humans something monstery to do. In those movies, the scale of the monsters precludes the cast from having, really, anything to do with the thing we all came to see, so they just stand and occasionally run around and comment on the stuff we’re seeing. It’s like they’re in another movie nobody cares about.* But until somebody can figure out how to make a movie that is entirely from Godzilla’s perspective, we’re stuck with these assholes. At least with these small creatures in the mix, some of those pointless human scenes have carnage in them. It’s better than more talking.

    Obviously, this argument would hold a lot more water if the movie had delivered all the expected giant monster stuff in addition to this velociraptor ripoff stuff. Since it doesn’t, it definitely feels like a detour, not to mention more evidence that nobody really wanted to be here.

    * The exception is the new SHIN GODZILLA, where I was shocked to find myself enjoying the human scenes almost as much as the monster scenes. I expected to hate that movie based on the premise (WITNESS! The blood-curdling terror of jurisdictional hierarchy!) but it really won me over. That last shot stuck with me for days for some reason.

  16. The first civilian review I heard of this movie was from my brother’s girlfriend at the time: “If even my dad and my brother hated it, it must be really terrible.” I saw it the next day and mostly just found it really boring. I liked that there was a lot of rain in it, at least. Films in general need more weather variations. People who live outside of LA can relate to that.

    Being unable to remember those specific scenes, the fishing and headphones jokes don’t sound TERRIBLE. I mean, they’re completely uninspired, but pretty commonplace type gags in middling event films.

  17. zero-mentality

    May 22nd, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    This (terribly conceived and executed) film pairs interestingly with BATMAN AND ROBIN, as two genre IP blockbusters a year apart that underperformed and were met with vitriolic hostility from their niche fanbases – I think you could argue that the reactions to these two and PHANTOM MENACE a year later were sort of the dress rehearsals for modern internet film culture and the inadvertent godfathers of the nerd-friendly, focus-grouped genre IP blockbusters of today, which are pathologically fixated on delivering precisely what the studios and their chosen filmmakers think their target demo wants and nothing more. Too bad the film itself is so fucking boring though!

    Also, geoffreyjar is totally correct that the Japanese Godzilla flicks are filled with fun and memorable characters – Dr. Serizawa in the original, the manic advertising exec and his goons in KING KONG VS, the amnesiac alien/princess in GHIDRAH, the swashbuckling rocket crew in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, the chain-smoking Interpol agent and sadistic alien commander in MECHAGODZILLA, the assassin and the psychic in BIOLLANTE, etc. They’re way more interesting than anybody in comparable American genre films, at least.

  18. zero-mentality- It probably has to be mentioned somewhere in this thread that PHANTOM MENACE not only picked up the baton from GODZILLA in the big budget vitriol relay race, the two had a head-on collision when the PHANTOM MENACE hype train gave us the “Plot Matters” tagline after the public feeling on GODZILLA became clear.

  19. CJ – Could the Frankenstein thing come from WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS? In the original Japanese incarnation that was a sequel to FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. I know that’s not a Godzilla movie, but it’s Toho and Honda and giant monsters so it seems like a possible explanation.

  20. Not terribly relevant, but Tatopoulos was on a Syfy show called FACE OFF and he seemed like a really cool guy.

    Also when I was a kid watching a trapped Godzilla get shot to death by rockets was very upsetting for me. Godzilla is basically a dinosaur, and kid version of me always rooted for the dinosaur no matter what.

  21. CJ – Yours is the only positive reaction to the The Wallflowers’s “Heroes” cover that I think I’ve ever encountered. I remember hating it at the time, and it led me and my friends to consider what it must be like to be Bob Dylan and to have revolutionized rock music only to have your son turn out to be a complete putz. Did he humor the kid? And what was his reaction when Jacob Dylan first played him music by The Wallflowers? Did he just kind of say, “That’s real neat, son” and then leave the room?

    Looking up the Godzilla soundtrack did lead me to realize that Jamiroquai is the name of the entire band and not just the name of the guy who wears the hats, so that was something.

  22. One positive thing that came out of this movie: anytime I or anyone I know hears that Green Day song “Brain Stew,” we instinctively do the Godzilla scream from the “remix.” It’s one of those little things that makes life just barely tolerable.

  23. Mr. M – “I will moderately defend the baby zillas. I also haven’t seen this movie in almost 20 years, but I seem to remember that I thought their inclusion alleviated some of the main problem with the original Godzilla movies: giving the humans something monstery to do. ”

  24. This teaser was pretty well done. Shows originality.

  25. The teaser for Independence Day was also much better than the actual film. Emmerich career was definitely helped out by some above average advertising.

    The trailer, which clearly has a Jurassic Park v. Godzilla thing going for it, reminded me why I never liked the baby Godzillas. At the time it just seemed like a knockoff of Jurassic Park, and Emmerich is no Spielberg. If you’re Emmerich, it’s just not a comparison you want to make.

  26. I have a bone to pick with this review. Sum 41 is Canadian and not American. Come on man, do your research. :)

  27. This is true, Sternshein. But in fairness, it’s hard to distinguish American and Canadian turn-of-the-millennium pop-punk bands when their singers all pronounce it like “socieTAY.”

  28. I’m dismayed to learn that Pitillo didn’t do much else after this. She had a TV show on for a couple years but then pretty much disappeared. I really hope this movie didn’t kill her career. It wasn’t her fault. She just signed on to star in a summer blockbuster.

    Killing the baby zillas really bothers me. I get that you can’t have kaiju running around New York, but it’s not their fault. They were just born. I think the wiping out of the entire nest with no moral ambiguity at all really leaves a bad taste that the film can’t recover from, and it’s already pretty low at that point.

  29. Man, I like late 90s/early 2000 pop-punk.

  30. Fred – They must’ve regretted it, since both the cartoon and the sequel treatment have Broderick’s character feeling bad about the killing and rescuing one of the babies.

  31. Yup, this movie fucking sucks and it’s a shame because a ’90s post-JURASSIC PARK Godzilla should have been a surefire thing, how did they fuck it up this badly? Learning Emmerich had no love for Godzilla explains everything.

    Maybe they went with that hunched over design because they were afraid morons would still think it was a man in a rubber suit otherwise?

    Anyway I saw this stinker in theaters no less as a kid and boy was I disappointed, but the silver lining is it did lead to me checking out the actual Japanese Godzilla movies over the course of the late 90s and early 00s, Godzilla was something I was aware of as a kid before this movie, even had a few toys, but never saw any of the Japanese ones until after this movie.

    That, coupled with starting to watch Dragon Ball Z later in ’98 and then Pokemon in ’99, all contributed to my budding Japanophilia, so thanks Zilla for making me want to watch the original movies (including the original 50s one)

  32. Did you like Godzilla (2014), Griff?

  33. Whoa whoa whoa, guys. Did we just miss the buried lead here that Vern has come to appreciate Armageddon???

  34. Having grown up on the Toho Godzilla films (on “Creature Feature” and the like) I had strong reservations about this one. I wasn’t pre-judging it due to those involved, but I certainly was skeptical. ID4 was an OK movie…not great, not terrible, and a decent riff on “The War of the Worlds,” and I like Matthew Broderick in the right part, but… Honestly, I still refer to this one as “Ferris Bueller vs. Godzilla,” and I can only wish that had been the movie that had been made. This one is two hours of stupid jokes, mindless action, bad acting and loud noises.

    But my doctor’s son is in it, so I can’t rag on it too much. He plays a helicopter pilot. I don’t think this movie helped his career, which puts him in the same boat as every other actor in it.

  35. Vern: WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS is called here FRANKENSTEIN: DUEL OF THE GIANTS, so it might be a possibility.

    RBatty: Yours is actually the first negative reaction to The Wallflowers I’ve ever heard. Okay, I can’t remember if I ever heard any other song from them, but I remember them being well liked by the German music critics of that time. It’s also a bit unfair to say: “Your dad is a fucking icon! How dare you to not revolutionize anything and just make successful, well written and produced radio compatible rock music, you asshole!”

    zero: See, now this is where my “We got alternative versions” theory seems to slowly come true. I don’t remember any of these characters, but I remember a weird subplot in KONG VS, about some dude who was presumed dead, we spent way too many time with his (I think it was his sister), then 2/3 into the movie he suddenly shows up alive and we never see any of them again.

  36. Bit of a tangent, but an acquaintance of mine (friend would be really pushing it) interviewed Frank Stallone for a podcast, who was every bit as cantankerous and bitter as the world knows him to be, and The Wallflowers was the most recent artist he would admit to liking. Less popular relative empathy?

  37. Fred: I didn’t mean to give that impression. I have not seen it since 1998. I’m just saying that in the ensuing 20 years Michael Bay has come to mean something more than “this new asshole with all the fast cutting,” so I’m interested to find out how I feel about it now. I’m not dreading watching it again like I was GODZILLA.

  38. Fair enough. I think my revisiting interest was reversed. I was anticipating the Godzilla rewatch but probably won’t bother with Armageddon.

    And yet I enthusiastically rewatched Sliver for its 25th anniversary. We all have our mashochistic movie fetishes. Sliver still sucks it turns out.

  39. If you’re a Gojira fan – man in a rubber suit, T-Rex or CGI looking like a man in a rubber suit, or not – you can’t dislike this movie too much. It’s a genre where I can accept almost anything. Bring it on, I say!

  40. Cartoon Godzilla was dope. At least to my 11-year-old self. It’s no beast wars, but it had lotsa great monster designs and solid animation. Season one even had some memorable multi-episode arcs.

    Also, I apparently had the entire trend masters line of OG Godzilla today’s. Even the play sets. I totally forgot I had those. But now I remember spending my entire birthday check from grandparents on Godzilla swag.

    Finally… I like the Zilla design. I never understood the hate. It’s good. I donno what a better redesign would look like, if you’re choosing to not ape the original. #pun

  41. There are two things I like about this movie: I actually really liked the opening with the lizard watching the atom bomb. It was a cool mini film, done by the guy who did the opening from SEVEN I think (not bothering to look that up).

    And even more so, that Zilla showed up in FINAL WARS. If you remember, he was a spy/saboteur of sorts in that one. It was an excellent fixer, perhaps the best ever.

  42. Felix – I liked the 2014 GODZILLA a lot, more so than most, even though I can admit that lead actor is bland as hell.

    But the supporting cast is good and the movie’s somewhat teasing approach to action felt like a breath of fresh air after the puninsgly overlong action of MAN OF STEEL, the movie leaves you wanting more, which I felt was better than giving you too much.

    But that approach hasn’t aged too well, I do still like the movie but wish it maybe wasn’t so shy about showing you the goods.

    So there’s room for improvement, I’m happy the KRAMPUS guy is doing the follow up, but I thought it was a good start to this whole “Monsterverse” that I am probably the world’s biggest fan of, it pains me when people say the MCU is the only good cinematic universe and totally forget about that one, though to be fair we are only two movies into.

    I hope it keeps going and doesn’t flame out, to me the giant monster genre is a perfect match for this CGI era, as much as I appreciate the “man in suit” stuff there’s no denying CGI adds a lot to it, more so than say practical makeup effects.

  43. I actually caught a bus into the city to see this one on opening night or maybe a preview screening or something. I don’t know what I was thinking but it was back in the day where I used to go see almost everything on the day that it opened including such classics as Gothika, The Haunting, and other films I don’t even remember the names of, never mind the plot.

  44. I have a unrelated question. I’m going to a live taping of How Did This Get Made in Chicago. When they first announced it some person’s first response was “I recommend Blues Brothers 2000.” Oh god please don’t be the movie they show. Yesterday I find out, yup, that’s the movie I’m going to see them talk about. I’m mad because the 7PM show I’m not seeing is RAD and Rad is awesome.

    Anyway, is Blues Brothers 2000 something that’s so bad that they’ll make a lot of really great jokes and I’ll laugh. Or is this movie so meh that they’re going to struggle with saying anything. Or perhaps since I already hate the movie without having seen it that when I do see it and hate it that I’ll really relish when they make fun of it.

  45. Just the title of How Did This Get Made? irritates me. I don’t know, because somebody tried something instead of standing on the sidelines and sniping, you fucking useless, cynical hemorroid on the asshole of the creative instinct? Way to base your entire identity around being my bitter, annoying aunt who can’t accept a free meal without complaining about the portions. I’m sure all that negativity will fill the hole inside eventually.

    Don’t worry, the irony of this post is not lost on me, you guys. You don’t have to point it out.

  46. All three of them make movies you know.

  47. And they must be absolutely flawless creations that came out exactly how they intended them to every single time. Otherwise, how would they have the absolute fucking gaul to devote a portion of their professional life to shitting on other people’s hard work for profit? No glass houses for these guys, I’m sure.

    Full disclosure: All of those actors annoy me. I’ve never seen any of them play a character that wasn’t an island of self-regard that refused to engage with humanity on any level except their own. Somehow it seems like appropriate typecasting.

  48. I’m sorry, man. I’m sure they’re funny. I just hate this whole culture, man. All we do is tear each other down. Movies, stories, entertainment, whatever you want to call the results of humans turning fantasies into virtual reality of one kind or another, are supposed to be the things that bring us together. I can’t stand this thing where instead of encouraging each other to express ourselves, we just wait for the first drop of blood in the water. It’s why I come here and not to any of the other billion movie sites out there. Vern can get laughs without being a dick about it. That’s the kind of change I want to see in the world.

  49. Nevermind, go back to talking shit about Godzilla

  50. What shit did I talk? I defended the one thing about the movie everybody else decided was a terrible idea.

  51. Majestyk, just out of curiosity, do you still like MST3K? If I remember correctly, you mentioned in the past liking it. I personally love it. I know Vern thinks they’re jerks for making fun of others works. I haven’t seen, or heard of, How Did This Get Made.

    As to GODZILLA, Broderick is a mystery that confounds me. He had so much charisma as Ferris Bueller it came off the screen and smacked you in the face. Everything since then, he’s dull as dish water. I thought he was good in his early stuff (LADYHAWKE, WAR GAMES) and I hear he’s the toast of Broadway when he’s on stage, but I’ve never seen him. But, it’s like his film charisma tank was drained with Ferris.

  52. I still do enjoy them, but I admit that the Rifftrax sect goes too far a lot of the time. Joel always had a sense of compassionate bemusement, even when the movie was beyond terrible. He was like, “Hey, this isn’t very good, but let’s make the best of it, you guys.” When the bots would get too dark or cruel, he would make them take a step back. On the other hand, Mike (who I must admit is a better joke writer than Joel) often acts like the quality of the movie is a personal attack. I hate the jokes that are just “This movie is bad and it is causing me pain!” when, hey, man, you’re not actually trapped on a satellite by some mad scientists. You didn’t have to watch this shit. That’s on you. I prefer when the jokes are of the “Hey, did you notice this funny thing about the movie?” and not “Fuck you, movie, and the humans who made you!” The one misstep of the new Netflix MST3K, I felt, was Patton Oswalt’s little commercial break intermissions. They were too mean and dismissive for the tone of the show. I like my MST3K good-natured. Getting paid to riff on movies is a privilege, you guys. Stop acting like it’s a burden.

    I am not an Oswalt fan in general. He just seems like a pissy little turd to me, a true believer in hardcore geek orthodoxy. My heart goes out to him for his loss and all but he seems like the kind of nerd who’ll be like “Let me stop you right there and tell you why you’re wrong” when someone tries to tell them about their favorite movie. I don’t have time for that point of view.

  53. Just yesterday I read an actually really interesting article about the writer’s history (and problems) with press screening, that included one or two lines about how he got into a verbal fight with another critic, who he called an “emberassing hack” and accused of making “hacky jokes”, only tro drop in the same article some hacky jokes about Michael Bay and Vin Diesel himself. I really don’t get snark culture.

    Anyway, every time I hear that AMC wanted Matthew Broderick as the star of BREAKING BAD, I wonder if this would’ve been a “Holy shit, I didn’t know he was capable of being so great!” moment or if the series would’ve been cancelled after its short first season. (And if not: What would the series look like, considering how much of the plot actually evolved out of Cranston’s performance?)

    Also one magazine that I read back in the 90s was actually pretty okay with the movie. They didn’t love it, but they recommended it as mindless and impressive popcorn fun. They also took some time to praise Emmerich’s interesting casting choices, which, if you think about it, is actually true. I can see some studio suit trying to pressure him to get Mel Gibson or Arnie or anybody, who would be a more obvious star for a late 90s special FX and action tentpole movie, but who did he cast? Ferris Bueller and Moe Szyslak. (At least Jean Reno counts as a bit more obvious in that regard.)

  54. I have fond memories of this one, while recognizing the flaws. I like the creature design and the monster mayhem is actually pretty solid. I like how there wasn’t some other monster involved, just humans versus very big reptile, and the human weapons actually work. I mean, Godzilla was good at taking cover, using his environment as a shield, but when the military got him out into the open, the missiles did their jobs. Most monster movies do something lame like “nukes actually make him STRONGER” and render human opposition futile. I like how, contrary to Mathew Broderick’s assertion, humans are still top of the food chain.

    And I liked the baby Godzilla scene. It followed the Jurassic Park formula (go from T-Rex to raptors back to T-Rex) but on steroids (HUGE T-Rex and HUNDREDS of raptors). I would have been interested in a sequel where a bunch of adolescent Godzilla’s are running around causing a ruckus.

    Anyway, it’s a juvenile movie, but good-juvenile. I’d call it a success, not a failure.

  55. Friends of mine have been trying to get me to listen to How Did This Get Made? for a while now, and I haven’t made the plunge. I will say that when a bring up the fact that I don’t like my movie criticism too cynical, my friends have assured me that the podcast is good natured and recommends that people watch a lot of the movies. But, yeah, that title is a big barrier.

    And CJ, I haven’t listened to the Wallflowers in about twenty years, so who the hell knows. I was far more obnoxious about my opinions when I was a teenager. I’d like to think that I’ve mellowed out as I’ve gotten older.

  56. I find HDTGM generally celebrating the craziness of movies and usually good natured (save the earliest season before they became better critics/analysts). That said I’d be nervous about heading them talk about a genuine favorite movie. So Hudson Hawk and Vampire’s Kiss made me nervous but I don’t recall being offended. And they produce Nundercover shirts for Hudson’s Hawk so I have that now.

    Blues Brothers 2000 is terrible. They’ll probably have fun with that.

    I’m sure it’s down to liking the personalities. I think Manzoukas is funny and he is playing up his cantankerous persona. June is wonderful and it’s a shame she’s too busy to do many episodes anymore.

    Other “bad movie podcasts” I find insufferable. But then I find most podcast hosts insufferable. I also think HDTGM picks more interesting targets than just the usual whipping boys.

  57. Raphael is the one I have the least problem with. She’s more inoffensive than obnoxious. I’m jut never excited to see her, because she, like her cohosts, is one of the current crop of comedic actors who always deliver exactly what you assume they will as soon as they show up. I call this David Koechner Syndrome. If you’re into their schtick, hey, no problem. Pull their string and watch ‘em go. If you’re not, you just sigh and buckle in for more of the same broad, improv-y shit they always do. “Oh look, another sarcastic married best friend.” “Oh look, another gross, intense guy.” “Oh look, another snide loser who thinks he’s better than everyone else.” I’ve never seen any of them play a character who existed beyond the sketch comedy level. That’s fine a few times but eventually it’s a drag whenever they show up. They’re something to endure, not enjoy.

  58. BTW, does anybody remember when a few years ago Fred Dekker’s plans to direct a Godzilla movie in the 80s were uncovered? I know, Dekker has a certain following, but personally I think he only made one good movie (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) and his plans to have a little boy befriend Godzilla sounded like a dodged bullet. (Also if I remember right, he wanted a stop motion Godzilla. I like stop motion as much as the next guy, but THIS would’ve been a huge sacrilege IMO.)

  59. My brother bought the soundtrack, and am entirely more familiar with it than the movie as I don’t think I’ve seen anything beyond trailers.

    Someone mentioned Jamiroquai, how it’s the name of the band and not the singer. He was on the UK TOP GEAR several years ago and at one point when asked said he had something like 40 vehicles altogether (mostly motorcycles). Another case of one-hit wonder here (unless the song from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE was a hit) but a millionaire still.

    The two tracks I liked most were from Ben Folds Five and Foo Fighters. The Ben Folds track is called “Air” and it kind of reminds me of the band of the same name (that would score next year’s THE VIRGIN SUICIDES). The Foo Fighters track actually might still be my favorite song of theirs, “A320”. It’s right in line with the kind of anthemic rock they still put out today, and is supposedly one of Dave Grohl’s favorite songs but doesn’t play it because of rights or something.

    And finally, what the fuck was Jimmy Page thinking?

  60. I don’t think Jimmie Page has a leg to stand on when it comes to interpolating other artists’ material. Karmically, we should all be allowed to sample Led Zeppelin whenever we want to balance out all the poor black blues artists who helped make him a millionaire.

  61. Sampling I have no problem with, but just appearing on the track and subsequent videos and performances was a bad look for him.

    Not to mention the whole hypocrisy behind him suing Abel Ferrara and company for using a track which sampled “Kashmir” on BAD LIEUTENANT.

  62. Actually Jamiroquai had a bunch of top 10 and top 40 hits in Europe during the 90s and early 00s, with several of their albums going gold or platinum. And while I wouldn’t call myself a fan, I liked several of their songs. My favourite remains their semi-instrumental didgeridoo orgy SUPERSONIC, which apparently was also their commercially least successful during their heyday

  63. Maj, all fair comments. Your mileage may vary depending on your feelings about the hosts. I find it more remarkable that there’s even a single podcast I bother to listen to regularly. I guess they hit the sweet spot of I like the subject matter and I like the hosts. I find most podcasts to be toxic blather, or at best something I don’t mind if they happen to have a good guest on.

  64. I’d seen Jay Kay on MTV a few times in the late 90’s, and I found myself in agreement with some of the things he was saying about the music industry at the time.

    This is him on the clip of TOP GEAR I mentioned. I’ve since upped my barometer of one’s success if they ever casually mention “staff cars” in their interview.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrsESBkjZBI

  65. Fred: Like RBatty, I have not actually listened to the podcast because the title is too obnoxious for me to get over. So for all I know, they might be all buttercups and positivity and “You’ll get ’em next time, champ!” and they’re just bad at advertising. In which case I will eat my words. But yeah, I don’t really listen to podcasts either. It’s just…talking. I got so many other things I want to read and watch and listen to and experience. It’s just never gonna be a priority.

  66. I’ll always remember watching Godzilla ’98 with a big opening night crowd, and just experiencing the fun and joy get sucked out of the room as everyone started to realize “oh man, this movie’s terrible”. At least with Phantom Menace I think most people still walked out of the theatre thinking they sorta liked it, or it was still a good movie but something was wrong with them for not liking it (like me). But this movie, yeesh – it’s unexciting, uninvolving, full of obnoxious characters and rote action sequences. Even my friends who like everything hated it. The only part that I thought was legit good was the whole “dying heartbeat” scene and then a few years later I found out they ripped it off from King Kong ’76. So yeah, it’s a pretty worthless movie.

    Maggie – I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a performance full of CHARISMA, but Broderick is fantastic in Election. It’s a perfect companion piece to Ferris Bueller in a twisted way.

    Side note: So interesting that this is remembered as a huge flop since Boxofficemojo says this grossed $266 million with inflation. That’s kind of a huge hit these days, easily outgrossing Godzilla 2014 and Kong Skull Island, and all Fast and the Furious movies except for 7. (Yes i know I bring up pointless facts like this alot, but it’s just weird to me how much money hated movies made back in the day)

  67. I had a look at all the movies featured on How Did This Get Made in their Wikipedia listing and I think I get the idea behind the concept, wondering how some of these ideas ever got past the pitch session outlining the concept, never mind actually being made. Whether the execution is any good or not is a whole other thing (I’ll have to go find some to listen to).

    Seems to be missing many (if any) examples of films like Fight Club that are rightly thought of as classics but you would have thought would have had the kybosh put on them given it was attacking the very fundamentals of the company that made them. Somehow, it survived the entire development process. I hear a certain head of all Fox (and owner) was furious when he finally saw the final product. I mean, almost none of the ones listed sound very good films to be honest.

  68. I agree modern culture is too cynical about movies, but How Did This Get Made? does not fall under that bracket despite it’s title.

    It’s a good natured show, not too hard on the movies they watch, mostly they seem playfully bemused.

  69. But, I think Mr Majestyk goes negative with a heavy heart, rather than the gleeful attitude of the culture he’s criticizing. I’m sure there’s a late 90s pop punk song that addresses this…
    https://youtu.be/PkRJzErnRmY

  70. I like snarky humor sometimes but I gotta agree with Majestyk, in the last decade or so the internet has spawned an overly hip “nothing is good enough” kind of criticism that is just kind of depressing. I actually just watched Cinema Sins’ “Everything Wrong With Star Wars: The Last Jedi” because it was recommended to me on YouTube, and… well… Okay, they are right about most of what they say. The movie has flaws. Many of the things they point out are actually things I thought while I was watching. Why is that happening? What’s up with that edit? How did that happen? How did he know that? Etc. So that is kind of entertaining, to revisit the movie and know that somebody else thought the same thing that you forgot you had thought at the time but remember now. These kind of “cinema sins” can build up and turn a good movie into a confusing mess. But pointing them all out at once? This is just pure negativity. I have now almost forgotten why I actually liked Last Jedi, and that is a bad thing. To be fair, Cinema Sins actually pointed out 4-5 cool things in the movie and gave it a little bit of credit.

    It’s okay to pour criticism onto bad movies. It’s okay to point out some weird things or flaws or plot holes in good movies. But when your entire schtick is tearing things apart, maybe it’s time to go outside and take a walk and think about doing something constructive. Pointing out 121 bad things and only 4 good things? It’s exhausting to watch.

    BTW Majestyk, people have “gall” when they do something offensive. “Gaul” is an old word for France. Somewhat interchangeable I guess.

  71. I have often been criticized for being too positive about movies – on this sight too. And I guess it’s true that I almost always find something positive in almost all the films that I decide to see. But there are a whole bunch of things I refuse to see. And in those rare cases where I see something I dislike or hate, I deliberately forget about it very quickly. And I do not see any joy in telling others that I didn’t care for it. Am I strange?

  72. I’m not going to ardently defend How Did This Get Made since I don’t listen to it anymore and haven’t in a long time, and I have plenty of my own problems with it, but comparing it to CinemaSins (which is a 100% pure garbage that’s not ever funny and not ever accurate in its nitpicks, just a terrible product all around, and the people involved in making it should feel bad and their 7.7 million youtube subscribers should feel even worse) is going too far. Majestyk has copped to not ever listening to it, and that makes sense, because if he did he would know that the vast majority of the time they enjoy the movies they talk about and usually recommend that their listeners should watch them. There have been a few notable episodes that fit Majestyk’s idea of what it is (the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode, for example) but mostly it’s celebratory.

  73. Coincidentally just a few hours ago I stumbled across two seemingly really cool YouTube channels. One is called CinemaWins, which does the same thing like CinemaSins, only that it lists everything that’s awesome about a movie, the other is FilmJoy, which goes more in depth than the admittedly more jokey (yet honest about its love) CinemaWins channel. All in all I noticed a backlash against the negativity and snark in film criticism recently. I mean, a few weeks ago, suddenly everybody agreed that SPEED RACER was an underrated masterpiece, instead of “LOL, worst film ever!” Fingers crossed that this attitude catches on and will become the next big thing.

  74. Honest Trailers generally seems fair. They’ve had times where they’ve stopped and said that there’s really nothing much they can knock a film for because it’s so good. Case in point, The Winter Soldier.

  75. Most of the jokes in Honest Trailers fall flat to me and seem unnecessarily mean spirited (Like referring to actors with nicknames like “Stupidface”). Also when they were nominated for an Emmy (!) and tweeted something negative about that nomination, one of the guys who run it sent their goons after me and I got Twitter harassed all day (which admittedly isn’t that bad, because you can simply ignore the messages they send you), so fuck them.

  76. I’ve only seen a few Honest Trailers videos, they may be mostly terrible and I don’t know, but at the very least they are a solid step above CinemaSins because, in my experience at least, they actually write jokes. You can quibble about the quality of their jokes, and if they’re mean-spirited or obvious or low-effort, but they’re jokes. CinemaSins can’t even clear that very low bar.

    CinemaSins is truly worthless because their nitpicks aren’t even jokes. A “CinemaSin” is almost always “here’s an inconsistency happening on the screen” *DING* — and 99.9% of the time it’s not even a valid inconsistency, it’s a case of the incredibly dumb people behind CinemaSins not understanding the movie they are trying and failing to pick apart. That is genuinely, sincerely, the vast majority of their content. The rest of their content is pointing out “cliches” — i.e. if a character in a movie is saved at the last second, they’ll go “deus ex machina cliche!” *DING*, which is not a joke. Very, very, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry occasionally they will make an attempt at a joke and it will inevitably be something like “this woman on screen isn’t doing a lap-dance!” *DING*

  77. flyingguillotine

    May 24th, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Back in 2005, we got really close to making THE MEG (at the time, just MEG) with Jan de Bont at New Line. But he wanted a way higher budget than New Line was interested in laying out at the time, so the project stalled and New Line went away. I bring it up because it makes me wonder if he ran into a similar scenario with the 1993 Godzilla.

  78. I think the story was that TriStar wouldn’t approve De Bont’s proposed budget, he walks, and then the studio ends up approving an even higher budget for the Devlin/Emmerich joint. I remember the De Bont script being pretty stupid, but it did contain a market acceptable amount of spectacle and a title creature that looked and acted mostly like Godzilla, so people prolly would’ve been fine with it.

    Someone above praised Emmerich for “interesting casting”, but the word at the time was that the production blew so much on the (mostly not very good!) effects that they had to settle for an ecelectic collection of B-listers, character actors, and people from the television. I remember reading in an old issue of G-Fan that they approached Jennifer Aniston for a role at some point so they probably did want this to be a more star-driven flick but decided to splurge on more shots of Dreamcast-quality baby Godzillas warping in from another dimension to drink Pepsi or whatever.

    Another interesting thing I read in the voluminously venomous G-Fan coverage of this movie was that originally Devlin/Emmerich axed Godzilla’s atomic breath on the basis that it wasn’t “realistic”, but fan outrage on the web convinced them to compromise by giving Godzilla the “power puff” (seriously) weapon seen in the film, which is apparently a large expulsion of compressed air that ignites when in proximity to flame, hence the semi-cool scene of Godzilla appearing to breathe fire. Is this the earliest example of fan griping causing filmmakers to about-face on a creative decision like that?

  79. flyingguillotine – I remember reading about that on CHUD back in the day. Or maybe that was a different incarnation. I’ve never read the book but have been waiting for this giant shark movie since back then.

  80. MEG the book is hilarious. Every. Single. Sentence. Is a bald-faced cliche, presented with such a lack of nuance or shame that it rises to Michael Bay levels. But then the finale has such berserk and ridiculous spectacle and action presented in such a po’faced manner that you can’t help getting sucked into the vainglorious idiocy of it all. The book stars more of a Sam Neil type (it was very clearly intended as a Jurassic Park rip-off) but you need a larger-than-life Statham type to sell ludicrousness of this scale. So I’m excited about it.

    Didn’t that same author write like six books in the MEG series? I don’t know how much more there is to tell after that first one, bro. It’s a big shark. It bites stuff. Not a huge arc for it to go through.

  81. There are indeed multiple MEG books.

    And I too have been aware of that project for at least a good solid decade now.

  82. I gotta fully admit to being a fan of this as a kid. I was like 7-8 when it came out and loved Jurassic Park too, so the whole babyzilla raptor rip-off thing totally worked for me, as did Godzilla’s general design that seemed both more lizard-like and weirdly humanoid. I even had a few of the toys too and watched the cartoon for a while. I’m also a total sucker for that classic giant monster movie build, and it’s probably because I watched this as a kid. >_>

    I haven’t seen it since though and I doubt it would hold up but I think I’d still enjoy it to some degree, if only for the nostalgia.

  83. I’ve read all the MEG books – they’re incredibly easy to read (and I honestly have no attention span for reading), and seem more like blockbuster script ideas/treatments than actual novels. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except the ending of MEG that Majestyk mentioned is so ridiculous and over-the-top that I’d argue it’s “unfilmable”. Or unfilmable with a straight face. It’s too bad the franchise was stuck in development hell for so long, because Jurassic World completely stole the giant Seaworld-style giant dinosaur-thing from the sequels, so there’s no way they can take the series in that direction now.

    And it’s been a while since I’ve read them, but I THINK Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen pop up in the later novels as characters, along with one of the Bond girls from Diamonds are Forever. And there’s an interesting “Just how bad is he?” explanation of who Osama Bin Laden is, as he’s one of the main villains of the second book (I remember reading it going “yeah I know who Osama Bin Laden is, thanks” until i realized the book was written in 1999).

  84. Also, I just realized 2018 is the year of two long in the works projects finally coming to fruition, there’s MEG and there’s also THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS which I was also first read about on AICN in 2008.

  85. I’m of the right age that this movie was my first REAL exposure to Godzilla that wasn’t just kinda general knowledge from cultural osmosis. So I think i’m always going to have a soft spot for this design, if not the movie. I just think he looks super cool and like the way it moves more like an animal then a dude in a suit (Wich even the CG one in the new american movie is designed to move like)

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