Godzilla (1998)

First time anybody realized dinosaurs were lame.

After a giant-sized creatures leaves a foot-print in a foreign country, Dr. Niko “Nick” Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick), a worm-enthusiast/scientist, is brought to the scene to scope it all out and hopefully let the army know what the deal is. The problem is, Nick doesn’t know what the deal is until New York City just so happens to get attacked by this creature, leaving half of the town in ruins and evacuated. This is when Nick and the army decides to take their mission-work over there, where they will hopefully get rid of the beast, and not even think twice about how it all started in the first place (smart move). But standing in their ways, sort of, are a group of Frenchmen (lead by Jean Reno); a news cameraman that wants to get every shot he possibly can (Hank Azaria); a mayor, aka Roger Ebert, who doesn’t want his whole town blown to bits (Michael Lerner); and even Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Audrey (Maria Pitillo), who not only happens to be in town, but a reporter that’s just waiting for her big break. She feels as if she’s finally gotten that chance now with Nick back home, however, she realizes that they have bigger fish to fry right away.

Get it? It was sort of a pun.

Aw, who am I kidding?!? What the hell do I care if you got that or not? Because, to be honest, you’d probably be a lot better off, had you not understood the joke – which would have also meant that you never even bothered to see the movie in the first place. Good on your part. Seriously.

The state of modern journalism: Getting trampled on by whomever it is you're covering.
A metaphor for modern-day journalism: Just imagine the foot as the internet.

Sadly, for somebody such as myself, I’ve seen it more times than I can count, and I have nobody else to blame that on except for my parents. Yep, that’s right: My parents. Not only did they practically force this down my throat once it came out on VHS, but it was practically the only movie they’d allow me to watch whenever I was bored. No professional wrestling, no video-games, no MTV, no nothing! Just this 1998-reboot of Godzilla that, dare I say it, is an absolute offense to the original Japanese creators who made it, or anybody else who shelled-out money to go and see it all the way back in the summer of ’98.

It makes sense why some would go and see it – hell, it was the late-90’s, and when you have something with the tag-line, “Size Does Matter”, and you’re advertising your movie as, “from the creators of Independence Day“, chances are, people are going to see this. Especially during the 90’s. Nowadays, Roland Emmerich and his rag-tag team of over-eccentric goofballs, can’t really seem to get a hit on their hands, and I think that’s with good reason: People stopped trusting them as soon as this movie came out.

See, with this here Godzilla, what works well is the build-up. Even though the characters suck, the plot suck, and every line of dialogue sucks, there’s still a nice bit of tension leading up to the moment of when we’re finally going to see that huge monster that is “Godzirra!”. However, once we do see him, not only does he look like total, CGI-crap, but he doesn’t really have much personality or anything. I know that’s a bit hard to ask of for a movie creature, but for some creatures in film, the slightest ounce of personality can go a long way for them; heck, even the old-school, clunky-looking Godzilla’s were at least half a bit of charming, if only because they looked so cheap, that it didn’t matter whether you could take it seriously or not.

But here, with this Godzilla, not only does he look like garbage that only a late-90’s DELL would be able to fix up in a matter of seconds, but we don’t know what to think about him in the first place. Is he good? Bad? Or, is he just simply living the way he was supposed to live, and we, as a society, are just in his way and living on his land? I, for one, don’t really know. It seemed like here, that the only time Godzilla actually started doing some straight-up evil, villainous stuff, was when he was either getting shot at, hit with explosives, or chased all around downtown like it was some harsh game of “Cops and Robbers”. Any other time before or after then, we don’t really get a sense that Godzilla is being all that much of a meanie; in fact, it’s probably more of the government that are the ones being the meanies here. Not Godzilla.

And no, I am not saying that they should have just let Godzilla walk all across the Big Apple, tearing down buildings, stepping on cars and endangering thousands and thousands of lives, but I would have said that they should have found a more humane-way to level with him. Sounds very hippie-ish of me and, considering the movie I am speaking about, a bit ridiculous, but hey, it’s a creature-feature – and with creature features, you have to think of the creatures themselves and whether or not you can put a tag on them as “good”, “bad”, or “easily misunderstood”.

Here, with this Godzilla, I never fucking knew. It was only until the end where they tried to give us some sort of sad-sack attempt at sympathizing with him in a very quiet, rainy-night sequence. It’s the type of scene we need to see in these types of movies to gain some perspective on what we have just all went through as humans, as well as audience-members, but it’s handled so poorly afterwards, it seemed almost like an after-thought. Almost as if Roland Emmerich didn’t want to seem like a total savage when this movie came out, and instead, wanted to give us a glimpse at a peaceful Godzilla, that is really just peaceful because he went to war with practically the WHOLE DAMN UNITED STATES ARMY.

But you know. Just saying. Most likely, I’m looking into this a lot deeper than I should (that’s actually a definite), but the fact remains: This movie sucks.

There’s hardly much more for me to bitch and moan about with this movie that hasn’t already been said before. The action is whatever; the script is god-awfully cheesy; the special-effects would have been dated, even by ’98’s-standards; the ensemble tries, but are just pawns in the huge chess game that is this terrible script and movie; and half of the movie is a total rip-off of Jurassic Park in the first place (especially once those little twerps’ eggs start hatching). How Steven Spielberg didn’t lawyer-up right away and bankrupt the hell out of Roland Emmerich and his aforementioned pals is totally beyond me!

"Aw shucks! Guess I shouldn't have taken that day off in the first place!"
“Aw shucks! Guess I shouldn’t have taken that day off in the first place!”

Maybe he has yet to even see it? Maybe, just maybe, this could be the big break we as film-goers have been waiting for. Maybe Steven Spielberg, if he gets the right lawyers, picks the smartest angle to go at this case that he can find, and stick it to Emmerich and Pals, then maybe, we’ll never have to see another Roland Emmerich movie EVER AGAIN! Oh my gosh! Say it ain’t so! This really and truly could happen, people!! Whose with me?!?!?




Come on!

Oh, fine.


We could have changed history right here people. Not just for ourselves, right now, at this moment in time, but for future generations to come. Think about it, people. That’s all I ask.

Consensus: Overlong, dull, poorly-written, thin, a complete rip-off of better movies (*ahem* Jurassic Park), and just plain boring, Godzilla never really gets going once it shows us its titled-monster, and instead, just gets worse as it goes on, and on, and on, and on, into a state of complete oblivion that should be kept that way so no more people have to be punished into laying their eyes on it.

1 / 10 = Crapola!!

Hey look! They just took the Happy Meal figure and filmed it!
Hey look! They just took the advertised-Happy Meal action-figure and filmed it!

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images


  1. SIZE DOES MATTER…. well, that fucking backfired. Did you see the Honest Trailer for that piece of shit? Man, I remembered when that film came out and I knew it was going to suck. Some of the people I knew in high school thought it was going to be great and called me a negative Nancy for it. When I returned from school for my senior year, those idiots were forced to realize how right I was as I didn’t see it. I would see it on TV and it was worse than I thought. I think what stuck about the film more was its awful soundtrack that had Diddy destroy “Kashmir” into a stupid rap-rock song. I still wanna kill that motherfucker for raping Led Zeppelin.

    • They played that several times during this movie and it made me want to pull my hair out, as well as Robert Plant’s fucking curly-locks as well. Yeah, fuck this movie indeed my friend. Fuck this movie.

  2. I didn’t think it was overall a horrible movie but I think the character for the design was lame. Check out those dinosaur legs, they look like big ole chicken legs. Totally lost Godzilla’s bad-assness for me.

  3. Whoa you really went to town on this one Dan! I haven’t seen it since the 90s. I think it thought it was ok at the time but I’ve never felt the need to revisit. Looking forward to the new one though! 🙂

  4. That film completely ruined and decimated the reputation of a movie icon on an international level.

    Please check out my review of it.

  5. Godzilla (1998) once again brings to my mind a very peculiar connection between the movies of Steven Spielberg and Roland Emmerich. Several times over the years, one will have an idea for a project, only to have the other think of it first. Usually, it’s Emmerich who beats Spielberg to the punch, doing “Independence Day” before Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” and “2012” making Spielberg hold off on doing a remake of “When Worlds Collide” (1951), a movie which was essentially a retelling of Noah’s story. In the meantime, Darren Aronofsky has done Spielberg one better by actually bringing Noah to the big screen.

    With “Godzilla,” Emmerich was doing what Spielberg had already done two years earlier with “Lost World: Jurassic Park.” Instead of actually remaking the original “Godzilla,” what Emmerich did (and what Spielberg did with his sequel to “Jurassic Park”) is use plot elements from 1961’s “Gorgo.” Makes me wonder what other classics these two each still have in mind to reshape in their own image.

    “Godzilla” is such a basic story that you’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to film, and yet Emmerich proved how easy it it to fuck it up. I am so ready for the new “Godzilla.” It looks like it will be a good one, and that it will be more or less what we’ve come to expect from the giant, city-destroying lizard.

    • Yeah, screw Emmerich. It seems nearly impossible to screw a story as simple up as this, but somehow, he did and we all had to pay the price for it.

  6. That might be the most scathing review I’ve seen you write Dan, haven’t seen it but I’ll avoid it!
    Has anything been such a dud that it received a 0/10?
    I remember some Zeppelin purists being unimpressed with Kashmir being sample in the Puff Daddy song from the film, for some that may have brought this one down to the 0 score!

  7. Crapola! I love it!

    All I really remember is when Lucasfilm put out their own ad for Star Wars, using a spoof of Godzilla’s tagline “Size Does Matter”. Lucasfilm put “Plot Does Matter”. Then a year later, they ate those words!

  8. I liked this one as a kid. No wonder I’m being punished for it in the present life 😐

    Hilarious review, Dan. Looking forward to your take on the resurrected one.

  9. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like Roland Emmerich movies. Sure, they’re not “Good Will Hunting.” But sometimes all you wanna do is snuggle up and watch some crappy CGI monster destroy New York City and hear some shitty dialogue and laugh at how bad the 90s were. And “Godzilla” is perfect for that! And Emmerich in general has a pretty firm grasp on overdoing the CGI and spending too little time on believable or original dialogue. But sometimes that’s just what I’m in the mood for. There are far worse movies, ones without monsters and destroyed buildings to look at.

    • I don’t have a problem with Emmerich’s movies, but this one was just such a shame. Didn’t need to be as bad as it was, but for some reason, that’s exactly what happened.

  10. I’m ashamed to say I got the fish joke. Gene Siskel’s parodied in this film too, as Ebert’s yes man, which seemed strange to me, as Gene was always disagreeing with and teasing Ebert.

    • Yeah, that was weird. But I guess Emmerich really wanted to get back and them! So, you know, he made a shitty movie with them in it. Smart move.

  11. This is one of the most painful movies I’ve ever sat through; even by Roland Emmerich’s standards it was pretty grueling. Nice review and completely agree with your rating.

  12. I’d take The Big Show over Godzilla any day of the week. You’re right, this is a complete dud. Let’s hope Gareth Edwards revitalises the lizard! Great review Dan.


  13. WOW! Roland sure pissed off the Godzilla fans! –Though I’m sure it wasn’t his intention. Both he and Dean Devlin have said they would do things differently if given the chance but there aren’t too many 130 million dollar second chances laying around in Hollywood. The crazy part is the film still made over 350 million worldwide. I guess if you’re going to fail… fail big, right?

    I’ve written and produced a couple of my own projects and I can tell you that things don’t always come out according to plan. I do know when you fail it hurts really bad – and as humans, it’s bound to happen. When that does, how do we want people to respond to us?

    Dan, I know you’re an aspiring filmmaker. One day if you ever make a splash (and hopefully you will) – you’re going to want a little compassion here and there. My advice would be to always keep things classy and respectful.

    • Thank you for your words of encouragement, Patrick. I understand that making a movie is hard work and it doesn’t always come out to the best of its ability, but you have to take certain things into consideration when thinking of how a movie is being made, and what the final product is going to end up being like.

  14. Good review but are you telling me you didn’t get any enjoyment out of this at all? It’s corny and the plot’s pretty bad and the CGI is terrible but I still got some fun out of the incredibly corny lines and the third act wasn’t too bad.

  15. Wow, harsh and hilarious review. This movie deserves both, by the way. This flick even deserves you calling its monster a “he” (sorry for the spoiler…sorta). Love the fish joke. The best part of it by far was the poorly executed satire of Siskel & Ebert. If memory serves, Ebert took some pride in being spoofed. Good for him. A couple of questions for you:

    1) Did you notice how Godzilla changed size according to what was needed at the moment? (Large as a skyscraper in most scenes, short enough to fit in a tunnel in others.)

    2) Is it too late to bring your parents up on child abuse charges? (just kidding…maybe)

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