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Godzilla, originally a mutant resulting from nuclear radiation, premiered in a dark and serious Japanese movie in the early 1950's, just a few years after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. A couple of years ago, the Americans tried to make Godzilla their own, using a computerized monster as the star of their script. The millions the film made, despite its creative shortcomings, inspired Japan's Toho Studios (Godzilla's owners) to bring the monster back home.
But to sell an old story you need a new angle (especially if you can't offer multi-million dollar effects). So writer Hiroshi Kashiwabara has given their rubber suited beast some er..."charm". And according to distributor Columbia Tristar's press release (quoting an unnamed source at "an important visual effects company"), the "charm" of the many campy Japanese Godzilla pictures is a result of "an agreement between the filmmaker and the audience to look past surface flaws." It concludes, saying, "In America, we spend a fortune ... making something technically perfect but often empty in terms of its soul."
While I wouldn't describe the retro styled creature in Godzilla 2000 as enchanting, he does fascinate Shinoda (Takehiro Murata), head of the GPN (Godzilla Prediction Network). Driving around Japan with his young daughter (Mayu Suzuki) in a vehicle full of high-tech equipment, the pair observes the nuclear power plant eater in hopes of understanding his motives. Where as CCI (Crisis Control Intelligence) chief Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe) just wants Godzilla dead.
Meanwhile deep-sea divers inadvertently activate a hidden spacecraft that has been in hibernation for 6000 years, and human existence appears on the brink of destruction. (Yes, this is still the Godzilla movie.) Heading for downtown, the alien pilot perches atop skyscrapers (reminiscent of Independence Day) and wreaks havoc below. Now only an alliance with Godzilla can save mankind
Technically, the cheesy effects, obvious miniature sets, and poor English dubbing, will help to offset most of the potential fear this monster flic may hold for children. As for soul, I suspect the feet of that well-worn rubber costume has more than this movie.
Godzilla 2000 is rated PG: for monster violence and mild language.
Cast: Takehiro Murata
Studio: (pictures (c)2000 Columbia Tristar)