See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Godzilla 2000

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata) clutches the wheel of an off-road vehicle jammed with high-tech equipment. The scientist seems to pilot the four-wheeled lab more by instruments than sight, chasing a phenomenon they have been tuned to detect. Yuki Ichinose (Naomi Nishida) grips her camera and curses her ambition, along for the teeth-rattling ride. Io (Mayu Suzuki), Shinoda’s girl-genius daughter and caretaker, rides shotgun monitoring the detectors. The trail of the high-tech safari heats up. Shinoda slams on the brakes, his face awe-struck. The source of the signal, the object of his research, rears its ugly head. Meet Godzilla.

If you’re a real Godzilla fan, I’m preaching to the choir: You’ve anticipated Godzilla’s Y2K return like a holy roller impatient for Armageddon. But if you first met the 60-story tall, nuclear fire-breathing dragon in director Roland Emmerich’s (The Patriot) new and improved Godzilla (1998), Godzilla 2000 may surprise you, and not pleasantly. Emmerich created a new-jack monster from the gargantuan feet up. His Godzilla is more the bastard child of Jurassic Park’s computer-generated Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor on nuclear growth hormones than the eponymous Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), who looked and acted like a Sumo wrestler on crack in a B-movie rubber dinosaur suit.

Godzilla 2000 is old-school Godzilla Classic: The man in the rubber suit is back. Director Takao Okawara has given his fortysomething star a facelift for the new millennium, but hasn’t liposuctioned the potbelly or those thunderous thighs. Baby still has much back: That monstrous tail remains adequate to level the model train set buildings we’re asked to believe are Japanese cities.

Okawara also refuses to completely shun computer-generated effects. Godzilla’s lethal nuclear halitosis is effective, but some of the permutations of his monstrous opponent, Orga, are rendered with the graphic quality of a second-rate rave video.

Any Japanese Godzilla movie is more or less part disaster flick and part WWF Monster Smackdown. This millennium’s version follows suit and borrows some action and screwballish romance moments to add a pinch of American spice.

King of monsters or the emperor’s new rubber suit? In Godzilla 2000, it’s a matter of taste.

James Keith La Croix writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by James Keith La Croix

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit