Godzilla 2000
(ゴジラ2000 ミレニアム)

Godzilla 2000 (ゴジラ2000 ミレニアム)
Made in: Japan
Language: Japanese (or badly dubbed in English)
Director: Takao Okawara
Starring: A guy in a rubber suit
Year: 2000

Synopsis: In his 23rd appearance, the famous monster has returned to wreak havoc on a bunch of miniatures.

Professor Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata) and his daughter Io (Mayu Suzuki) are part of an organization known as "The Godzilla Detection Network," which is determined to track and study the creature.

But working for the government is Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe), who will do everything he can to destroy the big green menace through the use of tanks, planes, helicopters, missiles, and anything else that makes loud noises.

And at the same time, Katagiri's people have discovered an alien being underwater that's been lying dormant for over sixty million years. It appears to be a rock. But in actuality, it's a shape-shifting creature that first takes the form of a flying saucer that runs amok. It also has the ability to hack into computer networks.

Then, the thing conveniently changes into another giant monster that antagonizes the already grumpy Godzilla, who just wants to be left alone. Cheesy special effects ensue, followed by the destruction of countless model buildings and bridges.

The Good: The best thing about Godzilla 2000 is that it cleverly bashes Hollywood's overblown 1998 re-imagining of the giant monster, and targets director Roland Emmerich in particular.

The folks over at Toho Studios poke fun at Emmerich's Independence Day as well, referencing some of the grand destruction scenes from that movie by recreating them with deliberately sub-par effects. And the final monster that Godzilla does battle with bears a suspicious resemblance to the CG knock-off from the 1998 version.

For the most part, Godzilla 2000 is a nostalgic piece for those of us who grew up watching Japanese monster movies. There's a purity in the way that it was produced, namely through the decision to use miniature sets and having the central character being played by a guy in a big rubber suit.

Of course, the visual effects and cinematography are much better than they were back in the day. But with the final brawl looking like a drawn-out fight between two drunken sports mascots, there's just enough cheese and self-referential humor to remind you that it's supposed to be a pile of B-movie silliness.

The Bad: At times, there's too much emphasis on the human characters and their terrible acting. And any effort to insert some kind of substantive drama falls flat. In a movie that features a large lizard thing that breathes fire, the audience will most likely forgive a thin storyline or the lack of eloquent dialogue, because that's not what we came here to see.

However, the plot drags too much, and it makes you wait an awful long time before the final battle takes place. Godzilla doesn't even get a whole lot of screen time, which as surprising as it is disappointing.

Who would like this movie: This is one for fans of Japanese monster movies, and for those who disliked Roland Emmerich's 1998 version and all its bloated Hollywood pretentiousness. If you like watching bad movies every now and then with your inebriated friends, this should provide just enough entertainment. But if you're looking for foreign films with a bit more intelligence, rent something else.

(2 out of 4 stars)

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Review written by: Joe Yang

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