Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Godzillapalooza #24: Godzilla 2000 (2000)

Godzilla 2000 (2000)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 180 feet.
-MASS: 25,000 metric tons.
-SPECIAL POWERS: The Godzilla of the 2000 decade has all of the traditional powers of his predecessor; thermonuclear atomic ray breath, super-regenerative power, etc. The Millennium Godzilla also can release a sort of shockwave of radiation from his body and his spines release a great deal of heat when firing his atomic ray.
-BACKGROUND: Godzilla's origins in the Millennium series are the same as always, being that he was created from nuclear radiation. While "Godzilla 2000" makes no real attempts to connect itself to any of the previous movies other than the first one, for the sake of continuity I like to think that this Godzilla is Godzilla Junior from 1995 all grown up and starting his own legacy. Granted, the Millennium Godzilla returns to its Showa roots in that it is much smaller than the Heisei version. I suppose its up to the viewer to make of it whatever they wish. This Godzilla though is consistent throughout the entire Millenium series except for in two movies, but more on that later.


-HEIGHT: 197 feet.
-MASS: 40,000 metric tons.
-SPECIAL POWERS: Orga's powers are very unorthodox and somewhat tied to Godzilla's, considering it uses Godzilla's DNA to take its monster form. Orga's main powers is a hidden laser beam cannon in its shoulder. It has the ability to heal rapidly like Godzilla and controls its UFO through telepathy. Orga can also absorb an enemies powers and appearance by essentially eating them. Other than that, Orga's powers are mostly physical, such as claws, leaping, and the ability to unhinge its jaw like a snake and swallow large things whole.
-BACKGROUND: Orga is a little complicated to explain, and that's saying something for a Godzilla monster. An alien, called the Millennian, that emerged from the sea after millions of years uses Godzilla's DNA to take an organic form. Half-way through the process, it mutates and becomes the hulking Orga. Orga proceeds to fight Godzilla and loses. That's essentially Orga in a nutshell.

This installment of the Godzilla series follows a father and daughter team called the Godzilla Prediction Network, the photographer that tags along with them, and the leader of the Crisis Control Intelligence. As you might expect, the GPN is committed to studying Godzilla, while the CCI only wants him destroyed. While Godzilla is doing his thing, roaming around Japan unchallenged by the military's efforts, an ancient UFO that (in the words of James Rolfe) "looks like a flying whale turd"rises out of the sea and starts flying around. It takes an interest in Godzilla because of the regenerative power of his cells.  They have a brief tussle and the UFO flies to Shinjuku and lands on top of a tower. The military tries to blow it up, but only further screws up the situation. Eventually Godzilla shows up and round 2 starts. After a little while the UFO transforms and mutates into Orga for a final battle. The battle gets intense and Orga bits Godzilla trying to absorb his DNA and become a clone. Then Orga attempts to swallow Godzilla whole, but Godzilla blows him to bits from the inside. After a triumphant roar, Godzilla kills the arrogant leader of the CCI and marches away into a wall of flame.

Godzilla 2000 was Toho's immediate response and bitch-slap following the American made atrocity in 1998. Overall, it's an average entry in the series and the plot is so-so. But there are still a lot of positives in this movie. First of all, it was a huge breath of fresh air from Toho and it meant that a new series of Godzilla movies had begun. It incorporates almost all of the best elements from Ifukube's original scores from the classics and has some of the best special effects to this point. Godzilla has a fresh new look, including some gnarly dorsal plates and the most badass looking nuclear breath yet. Orga is also a creative and powerful opponent. Anytime Godzilla's on-screen its awesome, but all the other moments are a bit of a snore-fest. Of course this isn't the only Godzilla movie that makes me feel this way.

Most of the characters are whatever, but I do like the little girl in the GPN. She's the most hardcore person in the film and she knows it. The villain leader of the CCI is totally lame and acts like he's an anime character, which is pretty funny. This film also presents some cool new shots and angles that hadn't been used before in a G-movie. Scenes of city destruction are pretty sweet and what you would hope for. This movie also has some pretty cool nostalgic moments of Godzilla just rolling through the military defenses like it's nothing. The Japanese military never learns. This movie also uses a CGI Godzilla for the first time ever (for Toho). It's only in one underwater scene, and it looks pretty crappy. There's really not much else to say about this one. Don't feel too bad if you miss it, unless you're just weird like me and have a thing for collecting these movies. Godzilla 2000 is good, but by no means great.

Best Part:
I've said this so much that including a "Best Part" section is getting very redundant, but the final battle with Orga has got to be the shining moment of this film. It's fun, different, and full of explosions and other cool effects. Then afterward Godzilla is walking away in the flaming city and just kind of destroying stuff for the heck of it, to the backdrop of Ifukube's classic and deliberate Godzilla march. Great stuff. I also particularly like Godzilla's first appearance and when he starts chasing the GPN van. For best effect, you've got to watch this movie after watching the '98 one. It let's you appreciate it more, take a deep breath and say, "This is what Godzilla is supposed to be."

My Ranking: #19

Up next, Godzilla prepares to fight another inexplicable giant death moth, but it's not Mothra or Battra... "Godzilla vs Magaguirus"