Godzilla (1998)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Sci-Fi Action, Sci-Fi Horror  |   Release Date - May 20, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 139 min.  |   Countries - Japan , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Fred Beldin

The producers' first conceit is even attempting to link their film to the classic Japanese monster (didn't they learn anything from Dino De Laurentiis?). The story line is so far removed from the original Toho feature that it's unnecessary to call this a remake; Ishiro Honda certainly didn't hold a copyright on the "giant nuclear monster destroys big city" story line. In fact, the modern Godzilla's plot limps along feebly in its first half where the behemoth plows through Manhattan. It's only when the writers break completely from the original and introduce a nest full of baby monsters that the energy picks up and Godzilla provides some fun, fast-paced action. Another problem that the "blockbuster" has is the creature itself. Even with the original Godzilla's rubbery body and fixed face, he (or more accurately, she) had personality, something that this modern, digitally animated beast woefully lacks, so it's up to the human cast to provide it, and they're not all up for the task. As the "worm guy" who figures out how to fight back against the monster, Matthew Broderick is his usual appealing self, even when spouting such ridiculous lines as "Each one of these amazing reptiles are born pregnant" and "That's a lot of fish." Maria Pitillo, as his ex-girlfriend and cub reporter, exists mainly to wear flattering tops and suck lollipops. The best performances, not surprisingly, come from two regulars from The Simpsons; Hank Azaria is funny as a gonzo TV cameraman and Harry Shearer essentially reprises his Kent Brockman role from the animated sitcom. If the makers of Godzilla hadn't been so hot to jump on the remake bandwagon of the late '90s, they might have produced a film with more lasting impact than a series of Taco Bell tie-in commercials.