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movie reviewmovie review out of 4

*Also starring: Hank Azaria, Maria Pitillo, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer, Arabella Field, Philippe Bergeron

Review by David Wilcock
1 star out of 4

Fantastically over hyped, Godzila finally lumbers onto the big screen. The film opens with footage of nuclear testing on the french polynesian islands, then an attack on a boat from some beast, and finally we join Dr. Nick Tatopoulos (Broderick looking about 17 years old) doing some research in Chernobyl. Some shady U.S government guys appear, and ask him to come to an island where they have massive footprints, from what looks like a giant lizard. And what's more, this beast is heading for New York. Gulp!

Although Godzilla should be a non stop roller coaster ride, and at some points it is, there is something curiously uninvolving and unexciting about this movie. The main faults lie with the acting and writing, common problems with 'summer blockbuster' movies. Broderick is pretty useless as the hero, with no humour or a 'tough guy' image. While Emmerich's previous summer flick, Independence Day (1996) had wisecracks and action from Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith, this has neither. Also, Maria Pitillo, as Broderick's former girlfriend, is just as useless, with a chronic disability in acting. She's incapable of showing emotion, speaks every line in the same way, and basically she's total crap. It's up to french actor Jean Reno to save the day, and indeed he does, turning in a campy performance as a french secret agent. Shame he has such little screen time in such a overlong film. Hank Azaria also turns up as a crazy cameraman named 'Animal', and he adds a little life to the picture. Also making an appearance is Harry Shearer (probably best know for doing voices in The Simpsons) as a slimy news reporter.

O.K, so the acting is not up to par, but it never is in these movies. But what about the script? Well, that's not up to par either. Emmerich and screenwriting pal Dean Devlin seem so caught in the destruction of New York City that they forgot to write a script. The dialogue is banal (Broderick looks at a lot of fish and utters 'That's a lot of fish.'), and the character development is non existent (Reno plays the typical frenchman ('No croissant?'), Broderick forever remains a geeky scientist.) Also, the film is seriously lacking a sense of humour. The jokes that are uttered are pathetic, and there's an 'hilarious' running gag about Siskel and Ebert. (The mayor is Mayor Ebert, and is assistant is called Gene! HA HA HA HA!.) The plot is dire, and in the end just rips off Jurassic Park (1993) by having lots of baby Godzilla's (i.e. Velicorapters) running around New York.

Right, so the script and acting suck. But what about the special effects? Thankfully, they're are quite good. Godzilla is an impressive piece of CGI, although we don't see much of him because the movie is so dark. The destruction of New York is pretty well done aswell. But although they are impressive, they can't save Godzilla from being an hugely disappointing and boring movie. The movie goes on for far too long aswell, and it can't seem to decide on a ending. And of course, the ending itself leaves possibility for a sequel. Let's just hope one never arrives.

Copyright 1998 David Wilcock

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