After Americans got their shot at f*****g up Japan’s most revered franchise, it’s up to the old school at Toho to show the world how it’s done. For better or worse, these are the people who know how it should be done.
I remember when “Jurassic Park” came out, Steven Spielberg asked a young child who had seen it what he had thought. The kid told him, “You took too long to get to the dinosaurs.” Any story concerning the humans is really just window dressing. As such, Godzilla (once again a guy in a suit with a bunch of miniatures, though aided by a judicious amount of CGI) arrives within the first ten minutes. This time out, scientists discover a giant flat rock at the bottom of the ocean. Once they shine their lights on it, it begins to move toward the surface, where they soon discover it contains something not of this world. As can be expected, the “thing” and the big lizard develop a severe disliking for one another. Urban renewal ensues.
The best the human characters can do is not get in the way. The English dubbing is actually very good and the dialogue actually quite funny. The filmmakers seem to be slyly injecting a bit of satire as well, as one of the things Godzilla has to fight bears more than a passing resemblance to the American Godzilla of two years ago. The ensuing battle bears more than a little allegory about the struggle for control of the character.
In the end, all you care about are the big effects sequences, and they deliver. For Japanese children, the Godzilla theme is as familiar as “Vader’s Theme” is for us. For fans, the opening strains alone are enough to make the pulse race with excitement. “Godzilla 2000” succeeds, unlike the previous American disaster, because the Toho team knows how to give the people what they want.
GODZILLA VERSUS GODZILLA? Discuss Toho’s Godzilla versus Hollywood’s version of Godzilla in Hate Mail.