30 Days of Godzilla – Day 23: Most Underrated Movie and TriStar’s Godzilla (1998) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 23: Most Underrated Movie: Underrated? I prefer the term under appreciated just cause I think that better describes my mindset for this one. I guess maybe a tie between The Return of Godzilla, because whole people like it for what it is, I don’t think it gets enough credit for it’s craft and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla from 1993. I see it get rarely talked about despite all the cool things it does. Yes MechaGodzilla is a human weapon, but that’s kind of the point isn’t it? That we kind of feel conflicted between humanities survival and Godzilla’s. There’s also the mother-child bond that I loved a lot in this film. It’s a very emotional movie that has you engaged.
Honorable mentions; Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and Son of Godzilla. While they may not look as good as the previous films, I think they’re fun films for what they are. And giving a nice colorful adventure look for Godzilla that feels you can just have fun with them.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Godzilla aka TriStar’s Godzilla 1998:
I’m not really sure what to start with this review. I’m tempted to talk about the 1994 project that was originally going to happen but failed but that’s a different topic for another day. I could talk about as a kid how I enjoyed it just because I could finally see something called Godzilla in theaters, but again another topic for another time. I guess to put this film simply, it’s a “fun” monster movie, just not a Godzilla movie.
I know that sounds weird but I think that’s kind of the best way I can describe it. Technically yes, it does open up with nuclear testing and irradiates a creature, good start, however I feel that the that’s all the film does with it. In this film Godzilla’s a giant radiated mutant lizard (marine iguana) and that’s about it. Nothing interesting to say, no real sense of tragedy of the creature, no personality, etc. It feels more like a remake of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms mixed in with the Jurassic Park hype.
Granted King Kong and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms did inspire Godzilla, his origins were very much rooted in real life tragedy and horrors. I think a core component of Godzilla is what Godzilla means, his mythos, his meaning, the tragedy of his being a monster that can’t survive peacefully because his very instincts to survive could cause massive damage. The 1998 Godzilla doesn’t really have any of that and instead focus’ on animal survival rather than monster survival.
When you strip away the core construct of what makes Godzilla, Godzilla, you’re already potentially facing problems. Taking away the distinctive features of Godzilla, what makes him stand out, what made him iconic, in order to create your version which keeps none of those features, you’re also facing a problem. Basically what the Emmerich film did is strip away what Godzilla is and decided to make it’s own thing with just the Godzilla name put to it.
That said how is everything else? It’s about what you expect from a 90’s era Hollywood movie. The cast isn’t particular great, nor is the material in the script they are working with.
Jean Reno’s cool though.
The directing is mediocre at best. The “destruction” spectacle can be entertaining if you turn your brain off, or just ignore that the military causes more damage than Godzilla. The movie drags on at points that the two hour and 19 minute run time seems unnecessary, with the entire third act feeling like padding and becoming the most Jurassic Park it can be. The CGI will feel dated but I do like some of the practical effects that were used in the film, they looked nice. Music was alright, but nothing really spectacular for me.
Overall I think you might enjoy this film if you just want to turn off your brain. It’s a movie that mostly fits being in theaters as a popcorn movie rather than constant viewing at home, maybe if you’re with your friends and want to make fun of it. It’s not really a movie that’s for me, but I think others who have certain tastes and mindsets about what they want from a movie can find enjoyment from it. As a kid I did enjoy it a lot, but now it’s really dated.
I don’t even have an ill will towards the movie though. I know it gets hate for kind of staining the public image of Godzilla as this was the only time America for the most part could see Godzilla in the American style, but I don’t really mind or care. Emmerich’s Godzilla doesn’t ruin Godzilla for me, and I could care less about wanting the public to acknowledge Godzilla being great. It’s not a Godzilla movie, but a meh high budgeted B-Movie that some will enjoy or some will not. I don’t personally recommend it though, I think it you just want action I guess go for it but I think you can find better than this movie.
Side note: Zilla’s alright, I don’t hate him, I just don’t care for his movie.
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