A Thoughtful Review From Someone Who Used To Love The Movie
I remember 1998 like it was yesterday….well, not really, I was about 4. However, I do remember the release of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla being on my radar. I was at the age where monsters and animals eating random people were my bread and butter. To me, Godzilla seemed like a bigger Jurassic Park.
I vividly remember getting all of the toys for the film. Even sitting in stores like circuit city, where they had the scene of the older man on the dock or the foot barely missing Hank Azaria, hasn’t left my mind. Watching it was a blast from start to finish. The monster looked cool, and there was a fair amount of adventure to keep me engaged….and then I actually watched Godzilla.
My Dad introduced me to the greater world of Godzilla. One where he fought big monsters, looked more like a T-Rex and had actual atomic breath. It wasn’t until then that I realized what I watched in 1998 was not only a mess. It wasn’t even a Godzilla film.
It wasn’t until my early 20s that I understood how the director purposefully decided to make his own movie. I remember thinking how fun it was seeing the baby dinosaurs in Madison Square Garden, only to realize that everything I saw wasn’t Godzilla proper. What makes it more tragic is that it wasn’t the massively negative reviews that made me fall out of love with the film. It was the fact that I loved what had come before so much more than what was released in 1998, and my opinion naturally shifted.
It was like taking off the rose-tinted glasses and seeing that the monster fest you loved was nothing but an insult to the character that did it better. Everything I thought was clever began to feel cheaper, from the fire breath to making Godzilla an overprotective mom.
What’s even more insulting is how the creature was defeated by nothing more than military might. Her children were bombed back to the stone age, and the world was meant to keep spinning. The movie treated the title character as nothing more than cancer than needed to be eliminated—another mistake created by man.
Falling in love with the movie was a lot more graceful than falling out of love. However, the clarity I received from the film felt more like a relief from a reality that was less than what Toho introduced. If you’re going to watch Godzilla 1998, don’t watch it thinking of a Godzilla film. Instead, watch it with the eyes of someone learning what not to do when making a kaiju film. At least the US nailed it the second time with Godzilla 2014.
Godzilla 1998 3/10
Thanks for reading everyone and please check out my rundown of Godzilla’s Showa Era, Heisei Era, Millennium Era, Reiwa Era and Monsterverse! I am still trying to figure things out scheduling wise but I am getting there! Thank you for the patience and support! We also have a new episode of our podcast, The Next Panel with Nick and Jake, up so make sure to give it a listen while you read! Stay Safe Stay Happy and Stay Fresh!