Roger M. Wilcox's review of

Godzilla 2000

(First posted to Bad Movie Night in 2001 or so.)

My reviews for Bad Movie Night thus far have dealt only with bad movies that were just plain BAD — like Battlefield Earth or Airport '79 or the 1984 production of Nightfall.

Godzilla 2000 is not that kind of "bad" movie. It is an exceptionally cheesy movie with surprisingly good production values (which Godzilla movies are generally not known for). It's the kind of movie that a Bad Movie Night or MST3K fan can watch and really, really enjoy. And in certain scenes, you can even tell that the filmmakers' tongues were planted firmly in cheek.

The movie opens with the Godzilla Prediction Network (no, really!) setting up a big antenna and tuning in to Godzilla's radio frequency. Or Godzilla's cosmic ray emissions. Or Godzilla's remote lizard-breath field. Or something. (Good physics has never been the strong suit of Godzilla movies, and I had no reason to suspect it would change for this film.) Our hero, his daughter, and a girl reporter you just know is going to end up marrying the hero in the end, all go racing through the countryside in their SUV chasing after Godzilla in a manner that looks AWFULLY reminiscent of Twister. Finally, they meet face-to-face with the G-man himself. Godzilla looks a little different than in previous movies (though not NEARLY as different as that awful Alien/Tyrranosaurus crossbreed from the 1998 Devlin/Emmerich Godzilla). The spines on Godzilla's back are bigger and more jagged, his snout no longer looks like a Scotch terrier's, and he has more teeth. He's still obviously some guy in a rubber lizard suit, though. Stunned by this new make-over, our heroes are nearly turned into little wet spots on the pavement when everyone's favorite 80-meter-tall firebreathing lizard swats at them. Godzilla then decides to step on a power plant.

Typical monstrous rampage? No no no. Godzilla is secretly trying to save us by stepping on that power plant! He's on our side! And, um, we're supposed to ignore the whole swatting-at-our-heroes incident as just some good-natured ribbing. Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket.

You see, unbeknownst to our heroes but beknownst to us, the hero's arch-rival (who works for ConHugeCo and explits child laborers or something so that we'll all hate him) has discovered a giant meteorite lying at the bottom of the ocean. But when his recovery team shines its underwater flashlights on it ... it wakes up! (Dramatic chord.) It ascends to the surface of the ocean under its own power, then keeps on ascending until it's floating above the water when the sun shines on it, and finally flies off toward Japan. I swear I am not making this up.

Meanwhile, Godzilla continues his rampage, taking out one power plant after another. The Japanese army (they have an army now?) moves its tanks and planes into position and unleashes their newest weapon, a super duper whiz-bang wow jeepers armor-piercing missile. Their heightened special effects budget actually allows them to score DIRECT hits on Godzilla this time. But to no avail. You can't keep the G-man down!

However, just when we think we're about to get some good scale-model-of-Tokyo-stompin' action, the flying meteorite shows up and captures Godzilla's attention. It swoops down over the Japanese troops, making a tremendous roar, whereupon one of the troops bleats out (in perhaps the movie's cheesiest moment), "Did you see that flying rock go by?!". (You'll really have to see it to understand why this line is so cheesy.) One of the crevices on the meteorite turns out to be the Wave-Motion Gun from Space Cruiser Yamato. (Or at least, that's what it looked like.) Godzilla gets blasted. Godzilla counter-attacks with his new souped-up fire breath special effects, which are powerful enough in this movie to blast part of the meteorite's outer layers clear. Underneath, we see the gleam of a computer-generated flying saucer.

The movie slows down here for about half an hour. Both Godzilla and the meteorite/UFO have taken each other down for the count. Godzilla retreats, and the UFO just kinda falls down. The hero's evil twin brother — er, excuse me, his not-blood-related arch-rival — ties the UFO down with "unbreakable" cables, which the UFO promptly breaks. The UFO lands on top of the talles building in Tokyo. Suddenly, files start disappearing from people's laptops. If the UFO can't steal the city's energy ('cause Godzilla trashed all the power plants), it'll steal the city's data!

(This is the movie version of computer science: Whenever someone reads a file, the original automatically gets erased. And, um, data is measured in kiloWatt-hours, so if you steal enough data you can power a spaceship. Good thing nobody was wearing virtual reality goggles in this movie, or else they'd all die when their files were erased, since everybody knows that if you die in the virtual world you die in the real world too. Gah.)

The girl reporter does what Lois Lane would do, and sneaks into the building the UFO is sitting on top up so that she can tap into its data stream and see what's going on. Of course, the hero's evil arch-rival decides to plant explosives in this same building in an attempt to foil the UFO's plans, and so the hero must race to the building to get her out of there. There's lots of computer displays and stairwells and a red convertible sports car, and everybody makes it out just in the nick of time. (Such an original twist! I'll bet Hollywood wishes they'd though of having movie heroes escape "just in time." That's never been done before. Not that I'm being sarcastic, nooooooo.)

Thanks to the computer digging the girl reporter did, we now know that the UFO is after Godzilla's DNA. It wants to get its hands on that fantastic Wile-E-Coyote-like "healing factor" that allows Godzilla to be perfectly unhurt at the beginning of every movie despite having been pounded to near-death in the previous movie. So when Godzilla shows up to fight the UFO, the UFO sends a few menacing-looking tendrils out to snatch some of Godzilla's skin cells. Then we all stand back and stare in awe at the UFO's computer-generated graphics budget, as it transforms itself into ... a clone of the Godzilla from the Devlin/Emmerich Godzilla movie!

The real Godzilla, of course, isn't going to let the Devlin/Emmerich Godzilla get its way. He has his pride, after all. They get in a big fight, there's a lot of energy blasts and fire breath, and finally the G-man defeats the evil mock American-Godzilla clone by letting the clone eat him. Oh, and the hero's arch-rival gets his just deserts by acting too pompous.

The last lines of the movie are classic:

"Why does Godzilla always come to our rescue?"
"Maybe because there's a little bit of Godzilla in all of us."
Whereupon Godzilla turns around and torches the entire city.

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