washingtonpost.com
Home   |   Register               Web Search: by Google
channel navigation




leftnav
Main Page 
Movies 
Music 
Restaurants 
Nightlife 
Museums/Galleries 
Theater/Dance 
Love Life 
In Store 
leftnav

       Style
       Comics
       Crosswords
       Horoscopes
       Books
       Travel
       Weather
       Traffic
       TV Listings

 
Quintessential Godzilla

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 18, 2000

   


    'Godzilla 2000' Big G is back, in all his chintzy glory.
(Toho Limited)
Turns out they do make 'em like they used to.

Toho Pictures still does anyway. From the Japanese motion picture studio that brought you "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster" and other classics from the genre of Men in Latex Lizard Suits Duking It Out in a Miniature Mock-up of Downtown Tokyo comes "Godzilla 2000," the 23rd entry in the enduring series of charmingly cheesy films about a giant, radioactive reptile.

It is exactly what you would expect.

In other words: choppy editing, third-rate special effects, acting that would get you kicked off most community theater stages, a harebrained plot, an obviously rubber-suited man playing the lead (in this case, gymnast Tsutomu Kitagawa in the title role) and laughingly bad dubbed dialogue (is there any such thing as "good" dubbing?).

Needless to say, I loved it.

Which is not to say I wasn't laughing myself sick along with the rest of the preview screening crowd at such flat-footed quips as, "Did you see that flying rock go by?" (No. What rock? You mean the one the size of the Shinjuku Hilton?)

The rock in question, of course, is not just any old rock. Discovered by scientists under water off the coast of Japan, and originally thought to be some kind of meteor, the rock soon sheds its, er, rockiness, revealing a shiny metal spacecraft that parks atop a Tokyo high-rise and begins electronically sucking every last byte of data out of the city's computers. (Oh my God. Not our data! That could spell the end of life as we know it.)

Wait a minute, you say. I thought this was supposed to be a movie about Godzilla.

Hold on, hold on. Big G in the house. Seems Godzilla, who makes an early appearance to munch a few fishing boats and sushi bars, has gone into hiding when evil bureaucrat Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe) sicced the army on him. (Even Godzilla, apparently, needs his beauty sleep after a hard day swatting off armor-piercing artillery.) It isn't until late in the game, when the silver spaceship starts draining the hard drives, that the G-beast surfaces again to do battle, this time on behalf of a nation of computer addicts. Yes, that's right, Godzilla is the hero, and don't you forget it.

His chief advocate is a conservation-minded field researcher named Shinoda (Takehiro Murata), a sort of Jane Goodall for Komodo dragons with a pituitary problem who runs the Godzilla Prediction Network. (Now there's a dumb organization if I ever heard one. What is it, something like the Weather Channel? "Chance of Godzilla 80 percent tonight, tapering off to light flurries of Mothra and Rodan by morning rush hour.")

Anyway, our scaly hero starts toasting the hovercraft, which morphs into an ugly critter called Orga. (At least that's what it's called in the press kit. I didn't catch its name when the behemoths introduced themselves to each other.)

So, is this Godzilla better than the state-of-the-art, computer-generated one that Roland Emmerich gave us in 1998? Less real, less scary and less (ahem) expensive, "Godzilla 2000" is nevertheless infinitely more "authentic," in the way that black-and-white photography is more "authentic" than color. And infinitely more hilarious.

Yes, it's bad. Awful, in fact. How many people do you know who'd say, "Gott in Himmel!" (German for "God in heaven," I kid you not) or "Great Caesar's ghost!" when confronted with a Gila monster the size of an apartment building?

But if "Godzilla 2000" were any better, it wouldn't be half as much fun.

GODZILLA 2000 (PG, 103 minutes) – Contains angry monsters and impolite language along the lines of "bite me."

 

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company


Search Entertainment


Optional Keyword

powered by citysearch.com
More Search Options
Related Item
"Godzilla 2000"
showtimes and details


washingtonpost.com
Home   |   Register               Web Search: by Google
channel navigation