- ROUND 2: GODZILLA 2000 -
. . . and in this corner: GODZILLA 2000 (also known as Godzilla Millennium but hereafter known as G2K).
This is the latest Japanese remake of their most honorable franchise. The story opens with Dr. Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata: GODZILLA VS. DESTROYER, GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA) and his daughter Io (Mayu Suzuki) sitting in their SUV, watching the ocean. Their vehicle is marked with the letters GPN which we learn stands for Godzilla Prediction Network. Antennas and various scientific instruments protrude from the roof.
Also with them is reporter Yuki Inchinose (Naomi Nishida: MY SECRET CACHE), there to get some pictures of the big beast. She is not disappointed.
Godzilla (who can be tracked underwater by his radiation output) rises from the sea to stamp flat a small town and a power station. He seems to have a pet peeve regarding electricity. Yuki manages to take a few pictures as the three run for their lives, but the photos are ruined. Godzilla's radiation, from what looked to be at least a mile away (!) fogged the film (Mini-science moment: radiation will do that, but it takes quite a dose).
Seemingly satisfied, Godzilla returns to the sea. Meanwhile, somewhere else off the coast of Japan, a research team engages in some underwater engineering to bring an unusual meteorite to the surface. This big rock has strange magnetic properties and (for a rock) strange buoyant properties, because as soon as they free it from the muck of the ocean bottom it floats to the surface on its own. The effort is coordinated by chief scientist Shiro Miyazaki (Shiro Sano: VIOLENT COP, THE MYSTERY OF RAMPO) but lead by deputy minister Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe: OROCHI THE EIGHT HEADED DRAGON).
The rock is towed into port but as soon as the first sunrise in many millions of years strikes its surface (reminiscent of the monolith from 2001) the rock comes to life. It quickly becomes clear that it is, in fact, an alien spacecraft. The rocky shell is knocked loose and the craft flies over Tokyo bay. And who should happen to be wandering by, intent on stomping a nearby nuclear power plant, but the Green One himself. The UFO and Godzilla eye each other, then the silvery craft fires an energy beam knocking Godzilla on his scaly ass. Godzilla hops back up and lets loose with a blast of his well known bad breath, sending the UFO spinning. Realizing discretion is the better part of valor, the alien craft speeds away to the heart of the city and perches like a huge bird on top of a skyscraper (which happens to contain the offices of Yuki's newspaper).
Meanwhile, the military has arrayed a formidable looking group of tanks and missile launchers on the beach, ready to do battle with Godzilla One More Time. Before the attack can begin Dr. Shinoda and Io arrive in time to protest the attack. Shinoda says, "Godzilla must be confined, of course, but not destroyed. He must be studied first."
Ha! Tell that to the relatives of all the people he trampled. Katagiri (who turns out to be an old rival of Shinoda's) looks at Shinoda like he's crazy (which he'd have to be) and orders the soldiers to fire. The latest armor piercing shells explode against Godzilla and not only don't hurt him they just make him mad. Duh!
Godzilla stomps his way into Tokyo (I can just see people who live there looking out the window and thinking, "Again?!") to have it out with the alien saucer. The final battle involves an extraterrestrial monster that threatens both Godzilla and all of humanity, of course.
Okay, now it's really time for a
BUT THAT'S OKAY.
To me, Godzilla has always represented a force of nature incarnate. He represents all the things we don't understand yet, so there he stands, impervious to our weapons and our understanding. He just is.
Now at this point you might be thinking that I thought G2K was a better movie. Wrong. It was a much, much worse movie. Hilariously worse. Wisconsin couldn't make a cheesier movie. I'd love to ask the translator why they chose to render an expression of surprise from one man as "Great Caesar's Ghost!" and from another as "Gott in Himmel!" What the hell?
Katagiri is a way-over-the-top bad guy. The good and pure Shinoda
thinks nothing of running into a building with his daughter when
he knows the building has been set with explosives minutes away from detonating;
and Godzilla himself is the most fearsome looking man in a big rubber
suit you'll ever see. I give G2K an easy four negative shriek girls.
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