Gojirathon 23: Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (1999)

G: minus 4 days

Gojirathon is me just writing up some thoughts about the movies I see while I conduct my little marathon of Godzilla-movies in anticipation of the new Hollywood retooling. Why Gojirathon and not Godzillathon? Well, because Rolfe already did his Godzillathon as part of his Monster Madness, and I don’t want to steal his work. I’ll be using the terms, G, Big G, Godzilla and Gojira somewhat interchangeably… since I can be a bit lazy at times, when it comes to these things.

Godzilla 2000 (1999)

According to IMDB-trivia (which I continue to read after writing the text for each movie) the plan was to retire Godzilla for 10 years allowing the americans to make a trilogy of monster-movies starring Matthew Broderick and the King of Monsters. But the reception of Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film Godzilla was so poor that the trilogy was scrapped and Toho made their decision to start earlier with their followups.

All that led up to what is a bit confusingly titled Godzilla 2000. Confusing mainly since it was made in 1999 and the next film, Megaguirus, was the one actually released in 2000. In japan Godzilla 2000 even got the subtitle “Millenium”. And I think this is one of the biggest reasons that fans of the series call this era the Millenium-films.

But what about the film itself then? Well, starting out it feels a lot different than the previous outings of the characters. The screen is back in it’s Scope-glory (though I’m fairly certain that they used Super35 instead of true anamorphics) and it seems that the effects people found a new toy in their arsenal. Computer-match-moves. Yes, I know that computer-graphics have been present in quite a few of the older films. But now it is employed more heavily in the effects-work. Quite a few digital flourishes are added to the Godzilla-rays and dorsal-fin-glows. And the camera is allowed in all 3 dimensions during process-shots to accommodate a much more realistic feel in the miniatures. All in all making it feel much less like we are watching a man in a suit walk around in a miniature city and more like we’re actually witnessing a giant monster rampaging through a real city. And CGI also comes into play, for the first time I think, as a means to portray transformations of creatures as the Organizer G1 first starts of as a giant tentacled CGI beast and then morphs into the monster that literally tries to swallow the big G.

The human part of the movie also has gotten way more interesting. Mostly in terms of cinematography, as we get some very inventive angles for the series. And we even get a child-character that isn’t annoying.

The story itself is kind of simplistic and traditional. Humans encounter a giant rock in the ocean floor. It turns out to contain a UFO that has been lying in wait for 65-70million years for a source of light after its crash-landing.

This while a father and his daughter are part of the GPN (Godzilla Prediction Network), a group of civilians who track the whereabouts of Godzilla and tries to help in a peaceful, not militaristic, way to lower the damages of the King of Monsters. As the audience-equivalent we get a reporter who reluctantly are sent out to get pictures of Godzilla with help from the strange father and daughter.

In general I had very positive reactions to this film. Though I do have two main things that irked me throughout. Firstly was the Godzilla-rays. They are rarely really energetic and the whole process from fin-glow to shoot-out is far to slow for my taste. And secondly the redesign of Godzilla. Yes, those dorsal fins probably look awesome on paper. And even more awesome on the poster (because damn the Godzilla-posters are regularly awesome at least from the start of the Heisei-films). But on the suit it looks really awkward to have those giant pointy fins sticking out. The stuntwork even makes sure to show a scene where Godzilla actually gets stuck in a building momentarily. This coupled with the decision to go with skin between the shoulders to the mouth made the final design a bit less than optimal.

But again. All in all I was really impressed here. And I hope we continue this trend and also that this sudden burst of optimism isn’t just due to me actually getting a full nights sleep for once.

Be seeing you!

Gojira99

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