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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Takao Okawara
Cast:
Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, ShirŰ 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
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (US Version)
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Japan Version)
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 99 min. (US Version)
107 min. (Japan Version)
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 9/9/2014

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer Mike Schlesinger, Editor Mike Mahoney and Supervising Sound Editor Darren Paskal (US Version Only)
• Both American and Japanese Versions of the Film
• ďBehind the ScenesĒ Featurette
• Trailer


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 [Blu-Ray] (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 2, 2014)

How come the Japanese can produce some of the worldís finest electronic products but they still canít make a Godzilla that doesnít 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 1998ís Godzilla from director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin. Not for a second will I claim that itís 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 doesnít expect stellar acting in a monster movie, I didnít 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 ďexpertsĒ 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 DVDís production notes, the folks at Toho Studios killed off the Zil in 1995ís Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah to set the stage for his ďrebirthĒ in the then-upcoming American version.

Apparently Toho hadnít abandoned the franchise, but theyíd 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 wouldnít 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, itís too much.

Anyway, G2K hit America and instantly caused confusion. Many thought that it was a sequel to 1998ís Devlin/Emmerich effort. Many may still believe that. If youíve gotten to this point in the review and still arenít certain, let me spell it out: this film has nothing to do with the 1998 Godzilla.

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

If youíre 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 creatureís origins; this one just pretends he never went away.

Not that I expect any of the seriesí fans really cared. After all, one doesnít 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 doesnít 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 canít get past the filmís overriding campiness. Itís all so cheesily over-the-top that I found the results off-putting. For many of the seriesí partisans, this sense of camp is part of the charm, but I donít care for it.

The weak English looping doesnít help. Jokes about poorly-dubbed Asian films have been around for years, and movies like G2K wonít dispel them. Honestly, I think those in charge of the re-recorded dialogue tried to play up this side of the production; itís become such a well-known aspect of the movies that I suppose people get something of a charge out of the cheesy dialogue.

If thatís you, then youíre almost certain to enjoy Godzilla 2000. It seems to include everything that a fan of ďold-schoolĒ 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 Blu-ray Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Godzilla 2000 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a surprisingly iffy presentation.

Sharpness became a significant distraction, as the movie never displayed the accuracy one expects from Blu-ray. Some of this appeared to stem from the cheapness of the production and the awkward effects, but those factors didnít seem to explain all the softness. Even basic shots of humans with no effects involved tended to seem tentative and fuzzy. These issues may have resulted from the original photography, but Iím hard-pressed to understand why; a movie from 1999 shouldnít look this ill-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws failed to appear as well. The movie lacked specks, marks or other issues.

Colors became another weakness, as the hues 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. Maybe the Blu-ray represented the film as well as possible, but the image looked consistently dull and bland.

I felt more pleased with the DTS-HD MA 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 ďspeaker-specificĒ; the environment appeared less seamless than Iíd like. Nonetheless, itís a robust mix that matches the action.

Audio quality seemed generally strong. Dialogue appeared artificial but accurate and distinct; I felt the speech didnít blend well with the action, but I canít 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.

How does this Blu-ray compare with the original DVD from 2000? Audio gave us a bit better clarity and punch, and visuals seemed somewhat tighter and better defined. I preferred the Blu-ray because it lost the edge haloes from the original and showed greater detail, but it had enough flaws to make it a mediocre upgrade.

While the old DVD included just American cut of the film, the Blu-ray expands that. It gives us the US version (1:38:54) as well as the Japanese edition (1:46:56). The review in the body of this article discusses the American version since thatís the one found on the original DVD.

Although I donít think it makes G2K a good film, the Japanese edition does work better. Sure, it still suffers from the amateurish effects and general cheapness involved, but it seems more involving. The American cut trimmed a lot of scenes, and these tend to fare better in their longer format. The Japanese G2K seems to have more room to breathe and comes across as more fulfilling in terms of its development and movement.

Still, itís the elimination of the bad English dubbing removes a lot of the campiness from the American version. The dialogue remains flat, but the original Japanese actors deliver the lines in a much more natural manner that brings more gravity to the experience. Again, this doesnít turn G2K in a quality film, but the Japanese version delivers a substantially more satisfying take on the tale.

Donít expect improvements in visual quality, though. The comments I made about the American versionís transfer continue to apply here, as the Japanese cut shows the same ups and downs. Unfortunately, it displays less involving audio, as it replaces the American editionís 5.1 mix with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. It sounds reasonably good but lacks the strengths of the 5.1 version.

Alongside the US version of the film, 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; Iíd 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, heís so worked up about the movie that itís 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.

In addition to the filmís Japanese trailer, we find two minutes and 15 seconds of Behind the Scenes footage. I expected a ďmaking ofĒ 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 youíve seen Pee-weeís Big Adventure and remember the part in which Pee-wee bicycled through the big lizard shoot, youíll 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 canít understand what he says, but it doesnít matter - bad acting is universal.

Godzilla 2000 offers a campy experience that may please fans of the original Japanese films. Will it be compelling for anyone else? Thatís more of a problem. The movie does little for me, as I find myself put off by its many flaws. The Blu-ray brings us bland visuals, strong audio and an array of supplements highlighted by the movieís superior Japanese version. The latter makes this worthwhile for Godzilla fans, but the American cut remains a dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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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