1999 / Director. Takao Okawara.
Hollywood are about to reboot GODZILLA with a big new epic blockbuster and the excitement of it's release has cast my mind back to the classic Japanese GODZILLA movies over the years. From the mid 50s right up to the mid 00's the franchise went through 3 generations of inception. GODZILLA 2000 was considered a reboot at the time and kickstarted what is known as the GODZILLA MILLENNIUM SERIES. It ignored all of the previous films attempted to start fresh and the weird thing about it is that GODZILLA is introduced as part of society. He's already an established monster to the people of Japan and they see him as a great protector. We're not given the origin story at all and there's no reference to him being the product of atomic testing (aside from one passing comment about his radioactive skin). And so the film begins with a team of Godzilla chasers who conduct research on the creature. They are racing against time as a private military outfit attempt to kill the beast. Midway into the story a mysterious cocoon surfaces from the ocean and all attention is diverted to it. Godzilla is forgotten for the next 30 minutes as the cocoon reveals itself to be an evolving alien spacecraft, which eventually becomes the alien beast, ORGA. In true GODZILLA fashion it then becomes a monumental smack-down. Beast VS beast as the city around them is destroyed. This is a fantastic entry to the franchise and what bothers me about the American's adapting the story is their lack of understanding. They always take it seriously and while the upcoming Hollywood film looks great, it will lack the charisma of the Japanese series. GODZILLA 2000 was made following JURASSIC PARK and THE LOST WORLD and yet it stuck with the traditional (wonderful) gimmicks. GODZILLA is still a man inside a rubber suit and he still stomps his way through miniatures... and that is where the charm is. I've watched the movie twice in recent weeks... once in Japanese and again with the English dub. Both are so much fun but I've got to fess up and admit that I enjoyed the dubbed version a lot more. The hokey dialogue adds a whole other level of lunacy, which strikes a chord with me.