Godzilla 2000 (1999)

Gojira!!!!! Rah!!! This film was a direct result of the hideous train wreck that was TriStar's Godzilla from 1998, an Americanized version of Japan's national identity that ended up being a steaming pile of poo and an insult to the entire nation. Toho Studios, who had signed off on the TriStar picture because money, were under fire. So they decided to make a new Godzilla movie, one that would try and return the lizard to its Japanese roots.

To be fair, Toho had announced shortly after they killed Godzilla off in 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah that they were planning on bringing him back to commemorate the new millennium, and they were probably hoping to ride the popular wave generated by the TriStar movie. Though Godzilla 2000 wasn't the best monster movie ever made, it did exactly what it intended to do. Namely, to return the franchise to where it was supposed to be. It also helped to squish any efforts by TriStar to barf out a sequel to their movie.

Anyway, so this movie takes place in an alternate timeline where only the first Godzilla movie from 1954 is canon, so just forget about everything that's happened in the last 50 years, ok?

On to our show...

Let's meet our protagonists, shall we? Shinoda is the head (and presumed founder) of the "Godzilla Prediction Network." The GPN is a small network of computer geeks and Godzilla fans who use home-made seismographs and such to track Godzilla more effectively than the Government for the purpose of warning people where he'll strike next, but at the same time are trying to find a way to contain and study the beast without destroying him. Shinoda is a medium-sized, slightly stocky 40ish man with a goatee and the fashion tastes of a science nerd (think Ross on Friends).


His daughter Io is cute and dependable, and pretty sharp for a 10-year old, kinda like Lisa Simpson. She runs the household and business matters while her dad obsesses about Godzilla. Tagging along for the ride is a magazine reporter named Yuki, a smokin' hot 20ish girl with short hair and a trendy, if sedate, fashion sense (think Rachael on Friends). And, yes, it's clear there will eventually be romance between Shinoda and Yuki, because movie.

(R) Io, the daugter. (L) Yuki, my future fourth ex-wife.

In our opening set-piece, Shinoda and Crew are near Nemuro on the northeast coast of Hokkaido in a SUV full of computer gear, waiting for Godzilla, who has been setting off telltale warnings on his fancy seismograph. Shinoda explains to a only slightly interested Yuki that these machines detect "Density changes in the plasma that expresses voltage regulation." Io helpfully converts that into English for the audience (who are also only slightly interested), by saying it's basically a seismograph and "When a charge fluctuation occurs, the plasma above the earth's surface is induced to the ground, the plasma and the tremor in the ground become linked." Uh, ok...that was no help. Yuki (and the audience) just stares blankly at them and says, "Whatever."

Godzilla arrives! Wading through the fog, the beast munches a fishing boat for a snack, annoys a lighthouse keeper, and stomps a noodle bar full of hillbillies. The new Godzilla suit here is great, the old suit hadn't been updated since 1989 and it was showing its age. The new one is a return to the animalistic, feral, natural look that was the norm in the first few Godzilla movies. And because this is a new timeline, they could freely alter the size from the Heisei series of the 1990s, scaling him down to 180-feet tall instead of 325-feet. They also returned his personality to the more destructive, independent monster that he originally was. After all the kid-friendly Godzilla incarnations of the 1970s, the new Godzilla for 2000 was brutal and violent.


Shinoda and Crew encounter Godzilla in a roadway tunnel in a scene that blatantly rips off both the TriStar Godzilla and, weirdly, Jurassic Park's T-Rex paddock scene. Godzilla is scared by bright lights, though, so our heroes manage to escape. In a nice touch, we watch as the computers in the back of Shinoda's SUV fry as Godzilla's radioactive body comes near. I'll say it again, the new lizard suit looks great here, big and formidable, his size really apparent next to the car, and the new feral-looking face is wonderful.

Meeting in the tunnel.

Bored, Godzilla then heads for Namuro and does the standard Godzilla thing, stomping on shit as he wades through plumes of smoke, backlit by flames, pretty common stuff we've come to expect from him. Godzilla here has this confused look on his face, kinda like he's looking for something or someone who was supposed to be there. He eventually wanders off down the beach to munch on a power station and go back into the sea.

Btw, I've said this about all the Godzilla movies, but his dorsal spines flop too much. If they are indeed like similar dorsal spikes and plates on modern reptiles and fossilized dinosaurs, then they are attached directly to the animal's vertebrae and should not wiggle like wet pasta noodles like they do with Godzilla.

Still mean.

Later, at Yuki's magazine (O-Parts Magazine), high up in a tower in downtown Tokyo, she's complaining that she has to keep following around "the freaks" in the GPN (oh, she's going to fall in love with Shinoda now). She wants to be put on "hard news" instead? Because a giant radioactive lizard destroying your country is not "hard news"?

Btw, dialogue here and in other places establishes that Godzilla has occasionally appeared before and has caused some havoc, but the world hasn't seen any of the freaky aliens and other monsters in this alternate timeline. Just one lizard wandering around Japan's shores for the last 50 years, popping up to stomp a few things before disappearing again. Remember that is is a direct sequel to the original 1954 Godzilla.

Yuki on assignment.

Ok, we need some human antogists, right? And what's the natural counter to a band of plucky civilians and a naggy kid? An obviously eeeeeevil corporation, of course! In this case the terribly named " Crisis Control Intelligence Agency", a shadowy quasi-government group with deep pockets and nebulous motivations. The CCIA is led by a Type A Douchebag named Katagiri, played by then-famous 30ish Japanese TV and movie heartthrob Hiroshi Abe. While I'm sure the sultry Abe is a nice guy in real life, here he gives a listless performance bordering on being clinically dead and is not helped at all by his English dubber whose voice is far too deep for Abe's slight frame (imagine Sean Connery's voice in David Spade's body).


Katagiri's main henchman is Chief Science Officer Miyazaki, a nerdy sort of fellow with geeky horn-rimmed glasses and skinny ties, he will become more important as the story moves along (hopefully).

Miyazaki (yeah, buddy, you are).

The CCIA is currently involved in investigating the "Big Rock", a huge 600-feet wide meteorite that has been discovered deep in the Japan Trench to the east of Japan. They rig it with balloons and begin to raise it like they do shipwrecks today. The meteorite surfaces among the research ships and strangely just floats there, in a scene that looks like the end of The Abyss. Meteorites don't usually float, so....yeah....that's not going to be a problem at all.

The Big Rock surfacing.

Right about now Godzilla returns! This time he's been spotted approaching Japan from the northeast, making a beeline for the nuclear reactors near Tokai on Honshu. Katagiri helicopters to the area and orders the reactors shut down. It's clear just how much power Katagiri wields as head of the CCIA, being able to turn off the electrical power to a major part of the nation just by a wave of his hand. [Editor Pam: If a giant lizard came by and stomped the reactors, I'm not sure it would matter if they were shut down or not. This was never covered in any of my nuclear engineering classes.]

Shinoda and Crew also arrive in Tokai just as Katagiri's helicopter does, landing in a field next to them. Katagiri strides out to meet Shinoda, a cold grin on his face and they trade some verbal barbs. I'll give you some back story to help you out. Shinoda and Miyazaki were colleagues in the GPN before Katagiri enticed Miyazaki to join him at CCIA, this and competing philosophies on what to do with Godzilla have fueled a burning hatred between Shinoda and Katagiri. Got that? I know the movie want us to be on Shinoda's side, but Katagiri's viewpoint really makes a lot of sense. He wants to keep Godzilla from killing people by killing him first. Exactly what is wrong with this idea? Shinoda wants to "contain him for study", which seems rather naive considering all the luck they've had with containing him in the past 50 years, right?

Their body language says "resentment".

Anyway, this wouldn't be a Godzilla movie unless the Japanese military didn't make an effort to stop the rampaging beast, right? The Self-Defense Force's First Division deploys to the Tokai area to set up a defense line, and we get all the requisite scenes of tanks and infantry running around and pointing at things dramatically. I'm a military hardware nut, so I'll note that the (model and stock footage) tanks are all Type 74s and Type 90s, with Type 82 and Type 96 wheeled APCs for good measure. All those infantry dudes with little rifles are sure going to be helpful against an opponent with Atomic Fire Breath and size 137 feet?

Tanks on the move.

At a briefing, a General outlines his plan to lure Godzilla away from the nuclear reactor into the mouth of the nearby Kuji River, where a bunch of underwater mines will "take care of him". This seems rather bravado, as experience has shown that nothing the Japanese military has tried before has ever worked. If the mines don't work, the Army has some fancy new armor-piercing surface-to-surface missiles, which the General guarantees "will go through Godzilla like crap through a goose." Having been around flocks of geese, I can visualize that quite well. There's also talk of the inevitable (limited) civilian casualities. In every other Godzilla movie, the military is seen as hopelessly outclassed and inept, but still honorably trying to defend the citizens of Japan. Here, however, we are supposed to boo and hiss the General for his nonchalance at killing civilians in his effort to stop Godzilla. This seems more at home in an American movie, which invariably portrays the military as evil and bad.

Big G don't back down, baby.

Action time! Instead of attacking in concert with one another, the various military units attack one at a time. Kinda like a bad Kung Fu movie where the hero is confronted by a dozen bad guys, who then proceed to attack the hero one at a time and get mowed down. As with virtually all Godzilla movies, the results are almost always the same, either Godzilla shrugs off the attacks and goes on his merry way, or he gets pissed and kicks around a few tanks and melts a few helicopters before going on his merry way. Here, he will be seen to just stand there and take it, roaring a bit and waving his arms around as if to say, "Is that the best you got! My grandmother can fight better than that!"

Digging this Persario.

First up are the stock footage Army Cobra helicopter gunships, who get to Godzilla as he is still in the shallow surf a few hundred yards offshore. While it looks cool, all those little rockets they shoot are not really worth the effort, what with Godzilla's hide already proven to be able to deflect nuclear weapons and all. The choppers do manage to get Godzilla's attention so he slows down his march on the nuclear reactor.

Chopper attack!

As Godzilla crosses over a small grassy area between the beach and the river mouth, approaching it diagonally, his exit from the sea and across this spit of land is seen from a retreating helicopter's view and is really quite effective despite the obvious bluescreening. These types of aerial shots are really the highlight of the movie in my opinion, showing an advancement in technique over previous Godzilla movies which relied mostly on ground-level shots of the action. These long-shots also really show off the new Godzilla suit design. It's clear, however, that he's been eating a lot of Big Macs and Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the years he has been off-camera because he has gained considerable weight. He has a double chin, wider hips, thicker thighs and he doesn't seem to have the energy to run like he used to anymore.

Thicc boi.

The tanks give it a go next. Bam bam bam, lots of noise and smoke but no real effect to be had on our lizard. In the shots of the tanks firing, you can tell which are stock footage and which are plastic models by watching if the tank recoils when the cannon is fired or not. When the tank in the foreground (real) lurches back with each shot, but the tank behind it (plastic) doesn't move an inch, it's really obvious. However, just before they open fire, we get another neat three-way composite, blended together very nicely, which really gives an effective vision of scale. In the foreground, we see Katagiri pull up in a jeep and get out. He gazes away from us across the formation of tanks, over which looms the approaching Godzilla. Very nice.

Run away!

Godzilla then blunders into the mines in the river mouth, but they don't do much more than annoy him. The vaunted Goose Crap missiles are fired next, but they just bounce off Godzilla's hide. Sure hope they didn't spend too much money on R&D for those things.


Feeling left out, the Japanese Air Force makes a token effort now. Some stock footage F-15J Eagles zoom in and the pilots fire a few Sidewinder missiles before returning to base to play JRPGs and watch anime girls. A Sidewinder is a dedicated anti-aircraft missile and carries a conventional fragmentation warhead that weighs just a hair over 20 pounds. Not quite what you would think needed to punch through Godzilla's A-Bomb-proof skin, but there you go. Godzilla, for his part, just stands there stoically and takes the hits. Perhaps he knows that they can't hurt him, perhaps he's just enjoying the air show. I'll give them another kudo here, there's a shot of a pilot's-eye view coming in to attack that shows Godzilla standing in the river mouth getting blasted by missiles. This is really very neat on several levels. They cut and blended him into the background shot of the harbor and coastline very well, thank you. Oddly one of the better visuals of the movie.

He's so handsome!

Intercut into this attack sequence is an unintentionally hilarious scene of Shinoda zipping along a causeway towards the action on a motorcycle. He passes two guys with rubber boots and fishing hats walking the other way, towards the shore. This means that with Godzilla battling the Japanese army literally right around them, these two guys are just ambling along looking for a good spot to toss a lure. I guess having 50 years of rampaging monster attacks will really jade a guy, eh?

It's funnier when you see it in motion.

Ok, at this point we'll go back to the floating Big Rock plotline. Parts of this were cut into the above epic Battle of the River Mouth, but for the interests of clarity, I'll condense it all at this point. During the morning of Godzilla's attack, the Big Rock suddenly tips up to a 90-degree angle, backlit by the rising sun (as meteorites are wont to do). Ominous music plays, blatantly ripping off the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the Monolith is first seen by the monkeys in the savanna. They even show us the rock from below looking up, filling the screen as the music crescendos, just like in that much better movie. Miyazaki the CCIA scientist is here and he is understandably confused and amazed. Alright, here's the weird part. We get the impression that the Big Rock scans Miyazaki, reading him totally from the cellular level out in a neat-o visual of his innards. You don't know this, but the Rock was scanning him to see if he was Godzilla. He wasn't.

The Big Rock rises.

Then suddenly the Big Rock flies off, accompanied by the whir-whir noise that all the flying saucers in the 1950s used to make. It clips the ship's crows-nest radar tower as it passes over, that's a nice touch. Miyazaki calls his boss Katagiri and tells him that the Big Rock just grew wings and flew off. Incidentally, if the Big Rock was between the rising sun and the ship, and the Big Rock took off over the ship (heading east) then the site must be west of Japan, right? Does this jive with what they said before? No, because they said it was in the Japan Trench which is east of Japan. And then as the Big Rock zooms in on Godzilla it does so from seaward, which would be from the east, right? So if I have this correct, the Big Rock went east past Japan and then did a 180 and came back to where Godzilla is. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Gawkers on a boat.

Ok, here we go, back at the beach for the Second Battle of the River Mouth. Just to get all the players placed right, here's a rundown. It's about midmorning and the sun is out. Shinoda is still on his bike down by the beach watching the battle. Io and Yuki are still on top of the SUV filming the battle. Katagiri is presumably still standing perfectly still somewhere, although he's gotta know the Big Rock is coming because Miyazaki called him. Godzilla is still standing there in the mouth of the Kuji River getting pounded on, but like Rocky Balboa in the twelfth round you know he's not going down. The Big Rock is zooming in from the east. The arrival of the Big Rock gives us another great flying point-of-view shot of Godzilla in the river mouth, this time as seen from the Big Rock. I hate to keep hitting this, but these aerial shots are really the highlight of the special effects.

The Big Rock.

Anyway, the Big Rock does the whole scan-from-the-cells-out-like-in-Star-Trek thing on Godzilla. This shows us that the Big Guy has different looking cells from humans, they have these little spider thingies all around them. The Big Rock has found Godzilla.

Godzilla's cells, looking like something out of Descent.

So Godzilla and the Big Rock start trading fire now, because the Big Rock has a giant Energy Cannon, of course. The Big Rock blasts Godzilla one good, driving him backwards like a Jedi on a wire harness across the water to crash into a dockside warehouse model in a shatter of balsa wood and glue. Understandably miffed at this unprovoked attack, Godzilla heats up his own Atomic Fire Breath for a return volley. This is really neat, as his dorsal spikes not only glow, but they crackle and sizzle as they heat up. Then you see fire welling up in his mouth before he flicks his neck back as if to "throw" his fire.

Just a flesh wound.

Damaged, the Big Rock crash lands in the river mouth, ending up sticking out of the mud at about a 45 degree angle. Godzilla, I guess, quickly departs the stage at this point. We don't see him leave, and we wonder why he does leave when the Big Rock is hurting and down, but he does. A little later the General mentions that the Air Force is still searching for Godzilla but there is no sign of him. I assume he swam out to sea when we weren't looking. We see that Godzilla's Atomic Fire Breath knocked a bunch of the rock off to reveal a shiny silver spaceship inside the Big Rock. From now on, the Big Rock will be referred to as the "Silver Ship". We join a breifing just as Miyazaki says, "Therefore, I am convinced that this vessel comes from another galaxy." What? By "therefore", I assume that he just laid out his reasons for making this declaration without any proof at all, but the audience is not to hear them. Miyazaki now goes further out on a limb with his theory that the Silver Ship draws its power from sunlight and when it crashed in the ocean all those millions of years ago, it sank down where sunlight couldn't reach and was only "reawakened" when they raised it to the surface.

The Big Rock in the river.

This explanation is accompanied by a quick 60-million-years-ago "flashback" to a CGI Silver Ship crashing into the ocean, with several huge volcanoes gushing lava and ash into the sky. I know that Japan is very volcanic, but was it really this volcanically active at this relatively recent time in geologic history? Just how dumb are the dudes who built the Silver Ship, anyway? Runs on sunlight? If they did come from another galaxy, then they would have had to travel a long way in space where the only "sunlight" was from pinprick stars, right? I guess they have some heavy duty batteries in there. And how ironic is it that they traveled millions of light years across the universe just to crash into the ocean and sink like a...well, like a Big Rock? Is it ironic, or is it moronic?

Yeah, ok, I'll buy that.

A call comes to Miyazaki then, it's Shinoda and he wants to use the CCIA's much fancier equipment on a piece of Godzilla's skin that he found at the beach after the battle. Miyazaki refers this request to Katagiri, who bristles ever so slightly at the thought of helping his bitter rival. Katagiri consents to meet with him to talk about it, however. We also get a little scene where it's clear that the Silver Ship is (somehow) downloading info from everyone's computers nearby, looking for "info on Godzilla" (ok). One shot of a laptop screen shows that the files being read are all dated 01/08/99, I guess this is when they filmed this particular scene. Also, Yuki is wearing a bad hat.

Remember these old laptops?

They run lab tests on the skin sample and learn that Godzilla's skin (even a detached piece of it apparently) is capable of cellular regeneration at amazing rates. Finding that a regenerative compound in the cells repairs the damage, Shinoda proudly names the thing "Regenerator G-1". Apparently Yuki is as bored with the scientist-talk as the rest of us, because she gets this forlorn, I'm-a-fifth-wheel look on her face and leaves the lab. She and Shinoda wave good-bye through the glass, Yuki's smile hiding what is obviously sorrow at not being able to be a bigger part of Shinoda's life. It is painfully clear that Shinoda is an idiot. We see the telltale signs that Yuki is falling for him, but he just keeps his eyes on the big lizard thing. Stupid scientist.

Go have sex with her, you dumbass!!!

Morning breaks across Japan, and the clouds part and the sun shines down on the Silver Ship, which predictably begins to shimmy and shake. Can you guess what's going to happen here? It shakes all the remaining rock off to reveal a shiny silver spaceship. The "unbreakable electromagnetic cables" snap like 10-pound fishing line and the ship lifts out of the water and zooms off. The Silver Ship, by the way, is really nicely designed, with smooth, flowing lines and unbroken surfaces that make it look really sleek and powerful. Shaped kinda like a bicycle seat, there are no visible exhaust nozzles or vents so I guess it uses an anti-gravity drive to move. A wicked Energy Cannon is its main armament.

Obilgatory crowd scene.

The Silver Ship heads for Tokyo and starts to cause a ruckus, because in these movies Tokyo always has a bulls-eye on its back. But I guess in American monster movies, it is always New York City getting stomped by the giant bugs and the aliens. Why don't you ever see Henderson, Kentucky get attacked by the mutant snakes with laser beam teeth? Anyway, since this film's director recently watched Independence Day, the Silver Ship starts blasting buildings and swatting helicopters. In all the shots of the ship from the ground, you can see the city reflected on the polished, shiny underside of the ship. This must have been a bear to animate, but it really adds to the believability of the visual.

Too late for that.

The Silver Ship now glides to a stop directly over the top of a big, tall skyscraper just like the one in Los Angeles that the saucer in ID4 stopped over. It also happens that this tower is the one Yuki's magazine has its offices in. How convenient. The ship physically sits on top of the tower, crushing the topmost floor and sending everyone inside to the floor. Don't ask me why it's doing this. Conveniently for the plot, this tower just happens to be the exact one that Yuki's magazine is based in (imagine the odds!).

Sitting on top of the building.

Some exposition tells us that the Silver Ship is back to sucking up digital info from the city's computer networks and that's apparetly really bad? Sure, I'd hate it if some alien knew my browsing history. The Army plans to put a bunch of demolition charges in the tower and implode the building out from underneath the ship. The charges look like big, industrial size turkey fryers on wheels for some reason.

The turkey fryers.

Now, we need some human drama, right? So Yuki gets trapped in the tower when she tries to recover some data from the mainframe or whatever, so Shinoda and Io have to come and rescue her! Ok, this is all going to happen fast so stay with me. Shinoda and Io run in to find Yuki still watching the computers. Shinoda tells her to take Io and get out, while he stays and tries to figure out what the aliens want with Godzilla (???). If I get this straight, the alien spaceship (which is sitting on top of the building) is inexplicably downloading its plans for global domination into Yuki's laptop while simultaneously draining every other computer in the city. The girls get away, but Shinoda has to do some Die Hard-esque running and jumping down elevator shafts to escape.

She should leave now.

Back at HQ, Katagiri has moved his staff out on the roof of the building, setting up some computers and tables on a patio overlooking the city. Why he did this is beyond me, although it does allow a great view of the city and the coming action. The charges are detonated and the tower goes boom, but the Silver Ship seems undamaged and flies off. Ok, this is a spot where the American editors cut a hunk out of the Japanese version, presumably to keep the running time down. In Japanese version, after Katagiri saw the smoke drift away from the Silver Ship, it sends a "slide show" of sorts to his computers set up on the roof, showing a series of words basically saying they are going to take over the Earth and such. Just in case you were wondering, the words were "erase, suppression, dominate, prosperity, opulence, revolution, and kingdom". It was a nice dramatic scene, which put the helplessness of the situation in sharper focus.

He's in charge now.

Anyway, Shinoda and his laptop arrives at the rooftop with Katagiri's team. Shinoda shows everyone why the Silver Ship wants Godzilla. It seems that the "Millennium Aliens" want to start an empire on Earth by converting our planet's air to make it more suitable for them. When they crashed on Earth in prehistoric times, they lost their solid composition and were reduced to anti-matter in the process, and now they need Godzilla's cells to regenerate their bodies. Got all that? Good, because how Shinoda is supposed to know all this is so far off the unbelievability scale that I won't waste your time dissing it.

True words.

Moving on, Godzilla suddenly shows up in Tokyo Bay and starts stomping towards the Silver Ship, causing the usual concern and confusion. Godzilla, being nice, walks down the streets, careful not to hit the buildings. He really, really looks good here, the new suit design is glorious! Reaching the Silver Ship, which is just hovering there above the city, he stops and gives the roar as if to say, "Come get some!". Fight's on! The Silver Ship is a powerful opponent, and after Jedi Force Powering some electrical cables like a lasso and blasting Godzilla with its Energy Cannon, it looks like the big lizard is down.

Insurance claims.

Hovering above him, the Silver Ship starts to suck the Regenerator-1 cells out of Godzilla. A spinning ball of energy begins to form into a cellular matrix of sorts and the Millennium Alien emerges from the Silver Ship, regenerating into its original form, a single giant squid-like thing that I swear looks like one of the aliens from the Encounter at Farpoint episode of Star Trek. It then begins to use Godzilla's Regenerator G-1 cells to adapt to our atmosphere, or so Shinoda tells us (sure).

Of course it has tentacles, it's Japan.

Ah, things are looking pretty bleak for mankind, eh? Giant morphing alien with conquest on its mind about to do its Tamerlame impression on Tokyo, Godzilla down for the count, a grease smudge befouling Yuki's heavenly face. Looks like the end of humanity. But wait!!! Suddenly the rubble explodes outward and Godzilla leaps to his feet. Round Two! Godzilla confronts the alien, which by now has morphed into a horrible clone of himself. The clone differs in having the Energy Cannon in his shoulder, wicked huge claws and a hammerhead-shark head. The name of the alien is given in the literature as "Orga", though it's never identified as such in the movie. The name is based on the Japanese version of the Regenerator G-1, "Organizer G-1". That said, the creature effect is superb, one of the best villain monsters in all the movies. Kinda looks like either a juvenile alien queen from Aliens or the Rancor from Return of the Jedi, or even a send-off of the iguana in Tri-Star's Godzilla.

Can't get a clear shot.

The final battle between the two kaiju is intense and energetic, some of the best monster-fightin' I've seen in a Godzilla movie to date. There's bitch-slapping, Mike Tyson-esque head biting, laser blasting, Darth Vader-esque telapathic building smashing, rope-a-dope bouncing, fist shaking, tail whips, head butts, and harsh language. At some point Orga bites Godzilla's left forearm and holds on. Now, in a nice CGI effect you can see Orga sucking Godzilla's Mojo out through his teeth. Orga's head begins to morph green and scaly like Godzilla. Shinoda on the roof explains, "He's trying to become a Godzilla clone!"

Pretty lights.

Godzilla finally kicks free and Orga now looks freaky, all bubbly with spines growing out of his back. For being so ugly, Godzilla Atomic Fire Blasts him again. Orga is now conveniently standing on a huge underground fuel bunker or is wearing a coat of tanker trucks because he engulfs in a monstrous pillar of flame. Godzilla waits patiently for the flames to die down and we get a full-screen wall of flames before Orga emerges from it, a bit singed and smoking in places but still coming. OK, here it gets really weird. As they face off once again, the bubbling cloning Orga hisses just like a drone from Aliens and then opens his mouth up impossibly wide. It's like a rattlesnake unhinging its jaw to gulp down a prairie dog. Even Godzilla shakes his head at this and says, "What the...?" Godzilla must have a plan here that he's not sharing with us, because he suddenly rushes forward and sticks his head inside Orga's mouth!!! As Orga gulps more and more of him inside, he starts to clone/morph faster. Ah, now I see his plan. Godzilla heats up his spines and nukes Orga from the inside, giving him some serious heart burn. There's a massive explosion that must have leveled five city blocks and everyone ducks and screams. From the burning piles of rubble, Godzilla stands up, spines still crackling with residual energy. Orga's smoking corpse falls over, now truly dead, and disintegrates into dust. Godzilla leans back and gives a triumphant roar to the heavens. Yes!

Why is this so dark?

Now they ruin the moment by having the humans start talking again. Yuki says lamely, "Boy, that's ironic. It woke up after 60 million years and Godzilla destroyed it the very next day." Yes, very ironic. To which Katagiri, studying at the feet of Keanu Reeves, deadpans, "Yeah." Thankfully, Godzilla, sensing that the humans are ruining his moment of glory, comes lumbering over to their rooftop. Everybody runs for the elevator, except for, you guessed it, Katagiri, who is still standing at roof's edge staring out like Captain Ahab at Moby Dick.

The humans.

Katagiri steps back and slowly lights up a cigarette before saying, "I've never been this close to Godzilla before." Godzilla rests his claw with a thump on the roof's edge just feet from Katagiri. And here, at the very end of the movie, Katagiri finally, finally emotes!!!! There is genuine fear and shock on his face as Shinoda tries to pull him away. For his efforts Shinoda gets slugged in the nose, Katagiri obviously is going to face down his white whale. Katagiri then looks up and laughs, "Ha Ha!" and then shouts "Godzilla!" at the top of his lungs as the Big Guy rips off the front of the building, taking Katagiri down with it. Shinoda lunges to catch him, but it's too late. Godzilla then turns and walks off as Shinoda weeps for Katagiri's death.

A badass way to die.

Ok, the fact that Godzilla seemingly picked Katagiri out of the crowd and killed him tells us that he's a lot smarter than we imagined, and has a sense of good and evil even. To be fair, the only evil thing Katagiri ever really does is try to kill Godzilla, which doesn't seem particularly evil to me. Not that he's any better at killing Godzilla than anyone else. Anyway, Miyazaki then says, "We scientists produced this monster. And ever since we've tried to destroy him." These lines tie this movie in nicely with the original intent of the original 1954 Godzilla, which was that H-Bomb experiments were to blame for Godzilla's rise.

Seriously, why can't we do this in the daylight?

Now we get my favorite part of the entire movie. Once Katagiri and the aliens are gone, you'd think Godzilla would head off into the ocean and another sequel, right? No, this Godzilla celebrates his victory by trashing more of the city with particular fury. He's probably thinking, FLAME!!!! "Dammit, I told you last time I stomped this miserable city that I wanted more koi ponds!" FLAME!!! "Who the hell built this McDonalds here??!" FLAME!!!!! The scene is totally silent except for some beautiful, Lord of the Rings-esque music, and is really quite powerful. Oh, crap! They ruined it! He just passed by a large, obviously placed, and well-lit product placement billboard for Toyota.

Godzilla taking his hurt out on Tokyo.

To make it even worse, Yuki is forced by the script to say, "But then, why does he keep protecting us?" Just as she is asking this, she's watching Godzilla incinerate Tokyo, so I think she's insane. Alright, alright, he did kill the evil aliens, but it wasn't because he was trying to protect the fair citizens of Japan. Was he protecting the citizens of Namuro in the beginning of the movie when he smashed up their city? Was he going for the nuclear power plant in Tokai to protect us all? But that's not the worst line, oh no, it's not. In one of the lamest wrap-ups in film history since Doogie Howser ended Starship Troopers with the line "It's afraid!", Shinoda looks lovingly across the flaming wreckage of Tokyo as Godzilla goes Dresden and says, "Maybe because Godzilla is inside each one of us." Kill me.

Oh fuck right off, movie.

Alright, a few notes on the closing credits. There are three one-name actor or actress credits that read "Bengal", "Denden" and "Dangerous", I wonder who they are and if Japanese audiences recognized them. The American actress Shelley Sweeney is listed on the IMDB, but not in the film's credits, despite having a speaking role, what gives? The stuntmen inside the Orga and Godzilla have their credits stuck in with the technical staff, no respect there. And finally, I found the presence of one of those "The incidents and characters that have been depicted are fictional. Any resemblance to real persons, yada yada..." disclaimers at the end to be incredibly funny.


Written in August 2003 by Nathan Decker.

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