Godzillla 2000 (review)

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Monstrous Fun

TOKYO (AP) — Downtown Tokyo was leveled last night for the 23rd time in the last 50 years in a daring twilight rampage by Godzilla. Anti-monster sirens blared minutes before the attack, allowing thousands of citizens to escape injury by fleeing the area, although one vegetable-stand owner was heard to scoff, “Bah! Godzilla…” before being stomped to death by the beast. Police officials were quoted as saying “Aaahhhhh! Godzilla!!!!”

Godzilla, 65,000,053, of Monster Island, Japan, is described as 85 feet tall, with green scales and red eyes. He is known to be typically armed with a whipping tail and atomic breath. Citizens were warned to remain in their houses unless they were in immediate danger of being stepped on.

Godzilla-related damage throughout Japan topped $15 billion last year alone.

How many times has Tokyo been destroyed in the name of entertainment? Or perhaps I should ask: How many miniature mockups of Tokyo have been stepped on by a guy in a rubber suit in the name of entertainment?
Do you think Godzilla insurance is available to homeowners and business owners in Japan? How do you put in a claim for your noodle shop, fried to a crisp by Godzilla’s atomic breath? I’m sure the valuable services offered by the Godzilla Prediction Network in Godzilla 2000 are well appreciated by the uninsured. How nice it must be to open the newspaper over your rice and tea in the morning and read: “Today: sunny and warm, with a 20 percent chance of Godzilla.” An okay day to open the shop, then.

With all the crappy movies puttin’ on airs of respectability that are foisted on unsuspecting moviegoers (see: Pearl Harbor), it’s such a joy to be reminded of the genuinely, unassumingly cheesy movie is still with us, the kind of movie that is unpretentiously awful, and knows it is, and loves itself anyway. “This is what I am,” it says, “and I may not be much, but I am proud of me.” What Godzilla 2000 is is a Toho monster movie, and anyone who grew up with Channel 9’s Saturday creature features will be in their glory.

The same old battle is still being fought in Japan — not between the humans and the monster, though obviously that battle is still joined, but between the scientific types who want to study Godzilla (and their subset, the children who love Godzilla despite his antisocial behavior) and the military and political types who, 50 years into the war, have yet to figure out that we just don’t have a weapon that can make a dent in Godzilla’s rubber– er, scales. This time out, it’s the geeks of the Godzilla Prediction Network, the Lone Gunmen of Japan, on the Let’s Study Him team, and the fine, trigger-happy gentlemen of the Crisis Control Intelligence Headquarters, on the Let’s Blow Him Up Real Good team. The traditional annoying girl reporter also makes an appearance.

What an absolutely hilarious flick. The translations are horrendously awkward… or perhaps the original dialogue was just terrible. (People actually say, in all seriousness, things like “Godzilla is inside all of us” and “Great Caesar’s ghost!” I can’t imagine those were much better in the Japanese.) The army is still pretending it’s in this fight, still sending its ineffectual toys against the monster. And then there’s Godzilla’s nemesis this time out: Is it a giant robot? A giant moth? Nope. It’s a giant rock that turns into an alien spaceship that looks like it can’t make up its mind whether its imitating a sex toy or a birth control device, and then it tries to mate with an office tower (ewwww) before Godzilla swoops into town to whoop its ass.

It’s all pretty nonsensical and incomprehensible, but who cares? It’s all about GI Joes versus a guy in a rubber suit. It don’t get much better than this.

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