The latest Rifftrax: Live episode,
shown in theaters across the country thanks to the good people at
Fathom Events, is a movie that was just made for riffing: Godzilla (1998). Yes, this is the
Roland Emmerich/ Dean Devlin version staring the unlikely pair of
Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno. In other words, the one that really
sucks. With a largely nonsensical story and a lot of goofy plot points,
the movie is well suited for the type of thing that Rifftrax does.
For those who haven't run across Rifftrax before, the group consists of
Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (all alumni of Mystery Science Theater 3000). They
create commentary tracks to movies, both big-budget Hollywood specials
and B-grade schlock that are available for purchase through their web
site, Rifftrax.com. The running discussion at our house is which is
better, classic MST3K or Rifftrax, and the latter is a slight favorite.
To get the rights to skewer Godzilla
(1998), a Kickstarter campaign was created and they raised so
much money that they were able to buy the right to not only this film,
but Anaconda too (that second feature will be shown in another live
event at the end of October). Unfortunately, do to the length of the
movie there wasn't time for a short of some of the other goofiness that
usually precedes the feature in these live events. I really enjoy
those, and it's too bad that a Norman short couldn't be included. They
did premier a new animated opening that was absolutely fantastic.
Hilarious graphics (I loved Thor using his hammer to stake a vampire)
accompanied by a great song make it a winner. Apparently they'll use it
from now on, which is fine by me.
They did have the usual gag slides before the show started. These are
funny and well worth reading so make sure you get to the theater a
little early. Godzilla's preshow included some slides featuring Movie
Lingo ("Reboot - piñata full of cash"), Movie Mistakes ("Jet Jaguar"),
and some great Quotes ("What the?! Where are the Owls of Ga'Hoole?" -
Guy who thinks Guardians of the
Galaxy is the sequel to Legend
of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"). Fun as always.
Once the Rifftrax trio was on stage and introduced some high donors
from the Kickstarter campaign, they launched right into the movie.
Right out of the gate it was pretty strong, with the jokes drawing from
semi-recent news events (when a cargo ship that Godzilla has wrecked
gets beached the guys explain that "another Carnival Cruise comes to a
predictable end"), film history (as Matthew Broderick sings off key to
a recording of Singin' in the Rain: "This is even less attractive than
the Clockwork Orange
version"), and mercilessly skewering the film ("Even the makers of Noah think they overdid it on the
There were a lot of great gags that lasted for more than one line,
coming back again and again. When attack helicopters are given the
designations Echo 1, 2, and 4, they created a hilarious bit with Echo 3
trying to chime in and help out. Jean Reno's character's dig on the
quality of coffee available in New York is brought up again and again
too, and it was always funny.
Unfortunately there were some dry parts. They guys keep riffing though
the entire film, it's not like they weren't trying, but there's just
not a lot to say through some of the overly long and rather boring
chase scenes. Like Starship Troopers, another bad big-budget flick that
they've riffed, this effort falls into the 'good' category rather than
Well worth seeing for the places where it hits the mark (and there are
a lot of them) this event was a lot of fun. While I really missed the
lack of a short the main feature was often hilarious with Mike, Kevin,
and Bill talking over the inane story that was transpiring on the
screen. It comes recommended. If you happened to miss the original broadcast, it will be replayed on August 19th.
Oh yeah, and make sure you mark your calendar for the next Rifftrax: Live event. Anaconda will be showing at
selected theaters on October