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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Godzilla-1998
Godzilla-1998
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted December 3, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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GODZILLA-1998

Synopsis:

Present day: A Japanese fishing vessel is attacked and sunk in French Polynesian waters. All save one, drowned or just plain disappeared. The vessel itself has yet to be found. Three fishing vessels off the coast of Massachusetts are dragged to the bottom of the ocean by an unknown force and Footprints the size of houses are found in Jamaica. All these events spell one thing…GODZILLA! Do you really need any more of an explanation! It's a well-done film and a decent entry into the giant monster genre!

Audio/Video:

The audio on this film is simply thunderous! The LFE/Subwoofer is incredibly rich and deep and definitely shakes the house to it's foundations when cranked! The surrounds are really nicely used. Everything in the movie fully utilizes the fronts and rears. From the opening Centropolis titles to the end titles the HT is hummin' to use a colloquialism. For Audio, this is easily a reference disc with few equals! This 5.1 Dolby Digital platform is easily one of the best I've heard. Director's Commentary This has to be the absolute worst commentary I have ever heard. It's actually a Special Effects Commentary and in a word it's boring. So boring that I'd actually rather hear Matthew Broderick's awful lines! I don't know if it's indifference or just ineptness but, these commentators are just plain awful. There are long lags between comments and when the comments are made they are self-congratulatory and lackluster at best. I'm sure there are some interesting bits of information included in the commentary but, it's way too painful to wade through the slow paced sedative inducing discussion to find them.

The video is clean. The colors are true and the fleshtones accurate. The transfer itself is beautiful. I didn't notice any fleckings, markings or any transfer errors to speak of. The film is very dark and that can hide a multitude of sins however, given the commitment to excellent transfers Columbia Tri-Star has provided, I think it's safe to say that the imagery is exceedingly clean. And visually sharp. Great transfer!

Extras:

Where do I begin? Columbia jam-packed this disc with all sorts of extras.

Trailers:

There are three trailers included for Devlin/Emmerich's Godzilla. All are in 5.1 and are very well done. The teaser campaign for Godzilla was probably one of the best campaigns done for a film in recent years. It's a pity the film wasn't as good as these trailers. Additionally, the original Japanese trailers for Godzilla vs. King Ghidora and Godzilla vs. Mothra are included in widescreen and in their original languages with subtitles!

Featurette:

More like the generic made up documentaries found on discs that have been recently released IE…Mutant Watch on the X-Men disc and the faux news reports on ID4. It's host is anchorman Caiman (Harry Shearer) from the film. He covers the film from Japan with commentary and interviews with the balance of the actors in New York. Surprisingly enough, the true star of the film is conspicuously absent during this segment. Additionally, there are interviews with Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich regarding the impetus for making the film and their visions of Godzilla for the new millenium. Overall, I found their comments distasteful. Primarily because they assumed that this version was superior to the original in every way. It's a remake, following in some much larger shoes and it doesn't even come close to equaling the intensity of 1954's Gojira! More on that later!

Menus:

The menus for Godzilla are so well done that they deserve special mention. They are very nicely animated and are also presented in 5.1. They feature scenes from the movie and when an item is selected, Godzilla's foot squashes the menu screen and brings you to your selection.

Music Video:

The full video for the "Wallflowers" Hero is included in windscreen but in 2.0 stereo. Annoyingly, once selected you have to watch it in it's entirety before you can select another option. If you are not a fan of this group, and I am not, it's a pain to have to sit through all three plus minutes of the video before you can watch something else.

Godzilla Takes New York (Before and after photos):

Self-explanatory. All the sites decimated during the film are shown both before and after their CGI makeovers.

Photo Gallery, Cast Filmographies, Director/Producer Biographies:

These static entries round out the extras on the disc as in most cases with DVD, these information only segments are present.

Overall:

Let me start by saying I am a Japanese Godzilla fan! Suitmation is the way Godzilla was done and it's the way he's still being done and quite successfully at that! Devlin/Emmerich's Godzilla is not at all Godzilla in any sense of the word. If anything he's a mutated iguana and not Gojira! The film itself is definitely enjoyable but should not bear the name Godzilla. One of the problems I have with the film are it's scale issues. Throughout the whole of the film, he changes size. Forget about all those "he's as big as, and can run as fast as and is as tall as".In one scene he's one size and in another he's either much larger or much smaller? Why? Who knows? All I can say is they just don't add up in this film and can really bug the deuce out of you!

Another problem I have is the inclusion of the term "Gojira". The lone survivor from the Japanese fishing vessel utters that to Jean Reno's character and instantly the association is made. For those of us who know what the name means, we get it. But for someone walking into it cold, there's definitely a sense of …WHAT???? That comes over you. Mind you, this is an enjoyable movie with a lot going for it. My main problems lie with the producer/director and their belief that this is better than the "real" thing. It's kinda like Classic Coke and the New Coke. Nobody liked the new Coke so the Classic was brought back! Devlin and Emmerich's film embodies none of the characteristics or charm that made Godzilla (Japan) a great viewing experience. Call me old-fashioned but it's just not Godzilla unless there's a man in a giant rubber suit tearing up model buildings and fighting another guy in a rubber suit! Is this a really fun and enjoyable ride? Yes, just don't call it Godzilla, maybe "The attack of the giant mutated Iguana" cue 1950's stinger music. Recommended

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