So last night I went to Rifftrax Live showing of the beloved 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. As you can imaging this movie was just ripe with riffing potential. For those who don’t know this was an American big budget adaptation of the beloved Japanese monster. Unfortunately Roland Emmerich did everything wrong. Godzilla looks like a weird hybrid between the alien from Alien and Jay Leno. As the guys point out in the movie every girl acts like Matthew Broderick is Channing Tatum. WTF is up with this. This is Ferris Bueller.
They had a group of French Secret Service agents which are the heroes in the movie. They are there because Godzilla was created by French nuclear tests in Polynesian. Like the French would give a shit. Your in bad trouble if you have to rely on the French. They seem to spend most of the movie whining about how bad American coffee is.
Another thing I forgot is the obvious lampooning of Siskel and Ebert. The mayor Ebert who looks exactly like Roger Ebert and his aide Gene who looks exactly like Gene Siskel. I guess Roland had one too many bad reviews from these guys and felt the need to poke fun at them. I’m guessing that the two gave this movie a thumbs down.
Well most of the movie is in the rain and has a very nimble and agile Godzilla dodging the fire from tanks, helicopter and submarines. In fact all the military accomplishes is destroying buildings including the Chrysler Building and sinking their own submarine. Our hero Matthew and his French buddies along with his ditzy blonde girlfriend and Hank Azaria find Godzilla’s nest in Madison Square Garden. They manage to alert the world to the threat of hundreds of hatched little Godzillas and escape before an airstrike obliterates the arena. Godzilla is really pissed and gives chase as they try to escape in a taxi. They manage to lure Godzilla on the Brooklyn Bridge where he gets entangled and the military can finally hit him.
This is the first time I have seen this movie since it came out in 1998. It does hold some sad memories for me. I saw it at a budget theater and the next day I learned my dad had a stroke. He later died. So it was good to see this movie in a theater again and have some good laughs. So you can still catch the encore presentation this Tuesday for anyone in North America.
There is also a planned showing just before Halloween for the Anaconda.
It is 2004 and Godzilla finds a way out from the center of the Earth from the last book. He burst out of Krakatau volcano and starts to make his way north. Anguirus is destroying oil rigs in the Caspian sea. Baragon has surfaced in Montana and starts to munch down cattle and people.
Fortunately the governments of the world have been working on an answer to the Kaiju problem. The Russian Federation has build Moguera and is piloted by a young Olympic gymnast Nadia Nimova. Japan and the U.S. jointly develop Mechagodzilla and he is piloted by a young paraplegic with new VR technology.
The greatest threat comes from Mongolia. The new dictator Kulgan Khan has dreams of world conquest. He finds King Ghidorah with its middle head torn off from its last fight with Godzilla. The Khan has his scientists rebuild it into Mecha-King Ghidorah. It is piloted by a young girl with a psychic link to it. The robots and Godzilla meet in a final showdown in Tokyo.
The fourth book in the series is another solid entry. It brings some more favorite and obscure monsters from the movies. There was a fifth book Godzilla and the Lost Continent that was supposed to follow. It sounded like it was the best story of the series. Unfortunately Random House’s license from Toho expired and it was never released. That’s too bad since the description and sample chapter in the back of this book intrigued me. It sounds like it was written so maybe some day the book will become available.
My final thoughts on this series. I love Godzilla and it was a real treat to find these books. It gave a fresh new perspective on Godzilla yet staying true to the mythology. I hope the lost book surfaces someday to give the series the closure it deserves.
Here are the new monster role call:
And a bit of nostalgia when I was a kid on Saturday mornings
It has been a year since Godzilla’s epic battle with King Ghidorah. The U.S. and most of the world is in a deep recession due to the monsters destruction. The INN news network is sponsoring a scientific expedition to Antarctica. The Destiny Explorer is a thirty foot long dirigible that will have the best and brightest teenagers in the field of science.
At this time a mysterious hole opens in the Antarctic and the worlds communications are knocked out. Monsters start causing a reign of destruction. Gigan destroys satellites and lands at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Megalon and Battra rampage through South America. Manda attacks Shanghai and Hedorah Osaka.
Luckily for the Earth they have their own defenders. Godzilla with Anguirus, Mothra, and Rodan fight back. The Destiny Explorer rescues some Army Rangers in Lima and heads off for the Antarctic. There they find a deranged teenage girl using technology of an ancient civilization for revenge on the world. The timely arrival of Godzilla and his battle with Biollante saves the world.
The third book in the series is another exciting read. Godzilla is back and once again the good guy. New monsters and a lost civilization of crystalline beings make this book a fun read. Marc Cerasini really shows his knowledge of the Godzilla universe and combines it with his knowledge of geography and military hardware.
Kip Daniels is a troubled teen living in LA. His only joy in life is the video game Battleground 2000. One day he skips school to play the game at the arcade and reaches the highest level. Suddenly men is suits take him away at gunpoint. The video game is actually a test by the US Air Force to find talented young men and women to operate a new weapons system. Kip now finds himself part of G-force a secret force dedicated to defending against Godzilla or any other Kaiju that appears.
Well this is the later end of 1999 and all hell starts to break loose. Varan emerges from the Gulf of Mexico and causes destruction from the Yucatan to Galveston. Rodan sets up a nest on top of Mount Rushmore. Meteors from space land in Kansas and mutate preying mantis into Kamacuras. Into this Godzilla surfaces at California and starts a trek cross country.
Godzilla is actually being lead by Mothra to a confrontation with King Ghidorah. It all concludes with an apocalyptic battle in New York between Godzilla and King Ghidorah on New Years Day with the fate of the world in balance. Dick Clarks’ New Year show has to be moved to Atlanta.
The second book in the Godzilla series goes all out. It brings back some of Godzilla’s adversaries and gives them a modern makeover. The story has what makes any Godzilla story, a world destroying threat and lots of giant monsters stomping around. Throw in the high tech gadgets and various cast of believable characters and you have another fun story.
Here is the monster role call:
Bambi. OK not in the book but could have happened on Godzilla’s cross-country journey
Brian Shimura is a Japanese-American college student in journalism. He has just arrived in Tokyo for an internship with International News Network(INN). Immediately he is thrust into the biggest story of the millennium. Godzilla has returned and is on another rampage. After destroying a Russian nuclear submarine and several other ships he hits the Japanese mainland. The Japanese Self-Defense forces are mobilized and attack Godzilla by land, air and sea.
Brian gets a first hand view of the action thanks to his uncle Maxwell an admiral in the US Navy. The attacks against Godzilla prove futile and the destruction mounds. Only the self-sacrifice of a Japanese scientist and admiral Maxwell lure the monster away from Tokyo.
I found some missing Godzilla books at the Half Price bookstore and decided it was time to dust off this series of books from the 90’s. I love Godzilla. I don’t think there is anyone under sixty that didn’t grow up watching his movies. Marc Cerasini crafted a tale that is respectful of the mythology. His knowledge of military equipment, Japanese culture and geography brings a believable story to life.
Ever wonder about the submarine crew that gets crushed like a can. The jet pilots that are swatted out of the sky. The freighter crew that watch their flesh melt under Godzilla’s breath. Or the tank crew racing away to avoid getting stomped on. All these little bit players get their place in the sun in this book. This was the beginning of an exciting new book series.
This has been the year for Godzilla. He got a big budget movie which was awesome. Blue rays are being released and Rifftrax live is doing the 1998 movie. I really love these events and encourage anyone in North America to check it out. The kickstarter program was a resounding success and they had enough to do Anaconda in October. I’ll let the guys explain.