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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Takao Okawara
Cast:
Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, Shirô Sano
Writing Credits:
Hiroshi Kashiwabara & Wataru Mimura

Tagline:
Get Ready to Crumble.

Synopsis:
The king of all monsters is back and bigger than ever! The action heats up when a UFO reveals itself as a massive alien monster with awesome destructive powers. The alien monster heads straight for the behemoth GODZILLA(r) who's just crushed the entire city for the battle of theillennium. But GODZILLA(r)'s furious heat beam may not be enough to destroy the death-dealing alien, and the future of humankind is in jeopardy. Now, it's a bang-up, threeway, no-holds-barred brawl as GODZILLA(r), the alien monster and the courageous citizens of Japan fight an unprecedented battle for survival in this earth-shattering new sci-fi action adventure that will blow you away.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$4,407,720 on 2,111 Screens
Domestic Gross
$10,037,390

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 12/26/2000

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer Mike Schlesinger, Editor Mike Mahoney and Supervising Sound Editor Darren Paskal
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Trailers and Talent Files


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Godzilla 2000 (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 2, 2014)

How come the Japanese can produce some of the world’s finest electronic products but they still can’t make a Godzilla that doesn’t look like some dork in a suit? This question stumped me throughout Godzilla 2000, the first 21st century chapter in the Japanese franchise. I also wondered how a movie this cheesy could possibly exist in this day and age.

Full disclosure time: along with four or five others, I actually enjoyed 1998’s Godzilla from director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin. Not for a second will I claim that it’s a great piece of work, but - as with their similarly-maligned Independence Day - I thought it delivered enough excitement and thrills to overcome a variety of flaws. Most of the latter revolved around poor performances and lack of character development, but since one generally doesn’t expect stellar acting in a monster movie, I didn’t feel especially dismayed by these issues.

In any case, Godzilla 1998 went down as a bomb. Yes, it took in almost $140 million, but since some industry “experts” stupidly predicted it might outperform then-current phenomenon Titanic at the box office, the gross disappointed.

I guess the relative lack of success experienced by the 1998 film caused dismay back in Japan. According to the original DVD’s production notes, the folks at Toho Studios killed off the Zil in 1995’s Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah to set the stage for his “rebirth” in the then-upcoming American version.

Apparently Toho hadn’t abandoned the franchise, but they’d planned to give Godzilla a rest until at least 2005. However, probably since his American cousin underachieved, the Japanese version was resurrected for a brand-new adventure. Titled Gojira Ni-Sen Mireniamu, the film appeared in Japan for a winter 1999 release and apparently did some nice business there.

We wouldn’t see it on American shores until the summer of 2000, when it had been creatively retitled Godzilla 2000. This follows the also-imaginative naming of the last Japanese Godzilla flick to receive a widespread US release, Godzilla 1985. Whatever Sony pays the folks in this department, it’s too much.

Anyway, G2K hit America and instantly caused confusion. Many thought that it was a sequel to 1998’s Devlin/Emmerich effort. Many may still believe that. If you’ve gotten to this point in the review and still aren’t certain, let me spell it out: this film has nothing to do with the 1998 Godzilla.

For many long-time Zil-fans, that’s a good thing. Those partisans were in the forefront of the anti-Devlin/Emmerich crusade, and I’m sure they were darned happy to see their hero back in action so soon after his apparent demise.

If you’re expecting any mention of the events depicted in Destoroyah, keep dreaming. Godzilla just pops up as usual, with no explanation of how he came back into being. At least the 1998 film attempted to relate the creature’s origins; this one just pretends he never went away.

Not that I expect any of the series’ fans really cared. After all, one doesn’t watch Godzilla fare for crisp realism or sparkling continuity. Nor should one anticipate much of a plot. In G2K, the Zil just stomps around and destroys things until an ancient alien ship is discovered. Before long, the participants find that its intentions are evil, and it inevitably ends up in a tussle with the Big G. Much mayhem ensues - the end!

Frankly, G2K doesn’t do much for me. I can forgive the weak special effects. The film was made on a budget of only $11 million - which was very cheap for a movie of this sort, even in 1999 - and the limited money shows. In addition to the guy in the suit, we get some poor CGI effects that would have looked weak years earlier.

I can also forgive the absence of story and the lame acting. However, I can’t get past the film’s overriding campiness. It’s all so cheesily over-the-top that I found the results off-putting. For many of the series’ partisans, this sense of camp is part of the charm, but I don’t care for it.

The weak English looping doesn’t help. Jokes about poorly-dubbed Asian films have been around for years, and movies like G2K won’t dispel them. Honestly, I think those in charge of the re-recorded dialogue tried to play up this side of the production; it’s become such a well-known aspect of the movies that I suppose people get something of a charge out of the cheesy dialogue.

If that’s you, then you’re almost certain to enjoy Godzilla 2000. It seems to include everything that a fan of “old-school” Godzilla desires, from campy action to cheap effects to poorly-dubbed speech. Personally, I think the movie has some moments but it generally turns into a chore to watch.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Godzilla 2000 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As far as SD-DVDs go, this was a decent but average presentation.

Sharpness tended to be adequate. While the image never seemed especially concise, it came with reasonable clarity and accuracy. I couldn’t claim it looked precise but it seemed fine for the format. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but edge haloes cropped up at times; these could be a notable distraction at times. In terms of print flaws, occasional specks materialized but nothing serious marred the presentation.

Colors tended to be flat and pale. At no point did any of the tones seem well-defined; instead, they remained drab and lifeless. Blacks were acceptable, though they tended to seem a bit washed-out, and shadows were decent but occasionally dense. This could’ve been a less attractive image, but it could’ve been better as well.

I felt more pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Godzilla 2000, as the soundfield seemed broad and engaging throughout most of the film. All five channels received a nice workout as they blasted action that effectively conveyed the onscreen affairs.

While much of the audio blended together well and also displayed some adequate panning, at times I found the track to seem too “speaker-specific”; the environment appeared less seamless than I’d like. Nonetheless, it’s a robust mix that matches the action.

Audio quality seemed generally strong. Dialogue appeared artificial but accurate and distinct; I felt the speech didn’t blend well with the action, but I can’t criticize the intelligibility and clarity of the lines.

Music was bright and crisp and displayed solid dynamic range, while effects sounded vivid and nicely hyperrealistic. All of the fight sequences came across without distortion; they blasted the action cleanly and with strong fidelity. Bass response sounded deep and rich. All in all, I found the soundtrack of G2K to offer a very engaging experience.

When we shift to the extras, we get an audio commentary from writer/producer Mike Schlesinger, editor Mike Mahoney and supervising sound editor Darren Paskal. To my surprise, this was a pretty interesting track. Frankly, I never knew that so much effort was put into adapting films for American distribution; I’d thought they just translated the dialogue, dubbed it and left it at that.

However, as I learned during this commentary, the transformation is much more complex than that. In the case of G2K, the film was partially rescored and edited, and dialogue was changed to recast the movie in some different ways.

Schlesinger dominates the discussion and he does a nice job of describing all the ways that the American version differs from the original film. He also clearly is a big fan of the franchise, and his enthusiasm makes the commentary more enjoyable. In fact, he’s so worked up about the movie that it’s often difficult for Paskal and Mahoney to get a word in edgewise. Nonetheless, I think this track offers some interesting information and I like it.

We find two minutes and 15 seconds of Behind the Scenes footage. I expected a “making of” featurette here, but instead I got some entertaining raw shots from the set.

These all offer effects pieces, most of which concentrate on Godzilla as he stomped around the city. If you’ve seen Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and remember the part in which Pee-wee bicycled through the big lizard shoot, you’ll find similar footage here; it looks like that film captured the style of filmmaking accurately.

In any case, I really like these pieces, especially when we see the director (I guess) give advice to the actor in the suit. I can’t understand what he says, but it doesn’t matter - bad acting is universal.

The set also features trailers for Godzilla 2000 and the 1998 US Godzilla. The disc concludes with Talent Files for director Takao Okawara and Godzilla. The entry for Big G is cute but the extra seems fairly pointless.

Godzilla 2000 offers a campy experience that’s sure to please fans of the original Japanese films. Will it be compelling for anyone else? That’s more of a problem. The movie did little for me, as I found myself put off by its many flaws. The DVD provides mediocre visuals along with good audio and an interesting commentary. Maybe fans of campy Godzilla will enjoy this, but I didn’t.

To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of GODZILLA 2000

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main