139 Min | Action – Sci-Fi – Thriller | July 1998
IMDB Rating: 5.3
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo
Godzilla Review: In 1998, Godzilla got an American make-over by “Independence Day” director Roland Emmerich and audiences haven’t stopped complaining since. Rather than make the atypical Godzilla film, Emmerich and his co-conspirator Dean Devlin took the “Jurassic Park” approach and turned the mega-monster into a really, really big T-Rex and instead of using aliens, bad weather or the apocalypse as an excuse to destroy a city, decided it would be best to watch the beast all but devour Manhattan. In the rain. The first thing that will likely hit you upon your first viewing of “Godzilla” is “well, that wasn’t so bad,” but then you come to the ultimate conclusion that, well, it wasn’t as good as it could have been, either.
Emmerich, who surely knows how to turn out an entertaining popcorn flick (often at the expense of logic and character development) puts on a good show here, with solid special effects, fun chase scenes and lots of lots of destruction. Matthew Broderick takes the lead as a scientist brought in by the military to try and tame the savage beast. For the most part, the film works, but where it really falls apart is in some of its atrocious acting (Maria Patillo, I’m looking at you) drawn-out plot and it’s seemingy endless series of endings. Seriously, Godzilla feels like it’s over once it hits the hour and fifty minute mark, but intead overstays its welcome by becoming more ridiculous by the moment and not knowing when to stop.
Perhaps a better editor could have tightened up the film and made Godzilla more enjoyable to the end. Hell, one can’t imagine why Columbia Tri-Star didn’t step in and take it down a notch, when most other studios are all too eager to trim big and bloated block-busters. Given the time and the patience, and with the right mindset “Godzilla” is an overall entertaining film with its redeeming moments, but is perhaps one that could never live up to all the hype. On a side note, the film’s famous ad-campaign featured the tagline, “Size Does Matter.” Well, in spite of the innuendo, the film certainly supports that theory by proving that a film too big and too long simply doesn’t cut it.