Godzilla vs Zilla: How To Avoid Another Godzilla 98Posted 12:56 pm on Monday, September 24th, 2012 by Alex Rodriguez
When creating a film for a beloved character, many aspects go into the creation process. How to bring the character to life, what to include and exclude from its original source, how they interact with their world, etc. The creators of “Independence Day” and “Stargate” had a chance to make an absolutely wonderful film and bring one of pop-culture’s greatest assets back to his former glory. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and the great beast became a great joke. I am referring of course, to Godzilla.
This review most DEFINITELY comes very late, as the film came out in 1998, 14 years ago this summer. Because of how the film was received by fans and critics alike, the company that OWNS Godzilla, TOHO LTD. (yes, a company DOES own the rights to Godzilla and they are just as vicious about using him out of context as Godzilla is about Humanity) vowed that no one was allowed to touch Godzilla ever again without TOHO’s permission.
However, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have made an agreement with TOHO and will be releasing a NEW Godzilla film in 2014. What follows is of course everything that went wrong with 98’s Zilla (how the animal will be referred to as in order to differentiate him from the ACTUAL King of the Monsters for the duration of this review) and how each mistake can be rectified. Before I go into that though, a little history.
Before Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin came in and ruined the hopes and dreams of every giant monster movie fan (called “Daikaiju” in Japan) in America, there was a very well made script that I have had the pleasure of reading online. It contained EVERYTHING that made a Godzilla movie fantastic and every bit of it was stripped away. There were ancient alien artifacts, silly puns and banter, sci-fi elements and so on. Then these two came and pretty much said, “Let’s throw out this script and start from scratch.” And so we got…Zilla.
There are rules to abide by in making a proper Godzilla film and these guys missed EVERY SINGLE ONE! Did you know Godzilla was to even fight another Monster?!? A hybrid of various animals created by aliens to destroy the Earth! But Roland and Dean believed “their” Godzilla needed to be based in reality. And that was flaw number one.
GODZILLA FILMS ARE MEANT TO BE SHEER FANTASY AND SCI FI, NOT REALISTIC
What are the odds that a creature as big as Godzilla could even EXIST? None. No beast on Earth can breathe fire, regenerate cells, be both reptilian AND amphibious, or even SURVIVE at that size. It is physically impossible. There are no dinosaurs left. They were destroyed, or went extinct. The Godzilla series of films are about what would happen if we were faced with such a predicament. Clearly, not in a realistic sense. And these are FILMS! Why do we want to ground ourselves in reality when the point of sci fi films is to escape reality in the first place?
GODZILLA IS A DINOSAUR
Whoever had the idea that Godzilla needed to be an iguana SERIOUSLY had NO idea who Godzilla was. That was a BIG part of who he was, and it was completely replaced with a “realistic” origin. Kids like Godzilla because he’s a dinosaur! A reptilian beast! No kid has ever freaked out over seeing an iguana. But a Dinosaur…man! Kids LOVE dinosaurs! And even though Godzilla tore down buildings, fought military tanks and planes, and even giant robots…he was a DINOSAUR! The LAST of his KIND! He was unique. Which brings me to the next rule…
THERE IS ONLY ONE GODZILLA AND ONE GODZILLA ONLY AT A TIME
In the Showa series (1954-1979) Godzilla was the only Godzilla until he found an egg, which just so happened to spawn a little Godzilla called Minilla or “Minya” as his name was pronounced in English. He was the “Heir to the Throne” as Godzilla was known as the “King of the Monsters” and all Kings have their Heirs. Then, in the Heisei series (1984-1995) again, Godzilla found an egg, out of which, hatched a PROPER Godzilla “Junior.” He was still a Godzillasaurus (the species of dinosaur from which Godzilla was derived from.) just not a radioactive one. He did not become a full-fledged “Godzilla” until his father dies and Junior absorbs all the radiation and evolves. So to get to my point…GODZILLA DOESN’T BREED AN ENTIRE SPECIES!!! That defeats the whole purpose of who he IS and why he does what he DOES! Mankind ruined his home, and he wants revenge. Godzilla is the last of his kind, and after him, there is Junior/Minya. Other monsters come and challenge Godzilla, but in the end, he is the KING! And every king has his weapon…
GODZILLA BREATHES RADIOACTIVE FIRE…NOT GAS!
Gas? Are you kidding me? So Zilla’s breath is so bad, that it lights sparks and THAT’S where his fire comes from? Yea, I saw “Reign of Fire” and that worked for THAT movie, but for Godzilla?!? No no no no. Godzilla breathes a radioactive fire blast that is expelled when he charges his spines and the resulting energy is released in a fiery beam that decimates anything it touches. And believe me, no creature has breath that’s THAT bad. It’s fantasy! Why does it have to be realistic? Here’s your answer…it doesn’t. It’s a movie! His weapon should have been glorified, not altogether forgotten. That’s what made Zilla weak. His signature move, what helped make him famous, his atomic breath, was taken away…so he could be more “realistic.”
GODZILLA ISN’T AFRAID OF THE MILITARY
I am a patriot. I care about my country as much as the next American…but our firepower is NOTHING compared to the Big G! He has thick THICK reptilian armor that regenerates when enough energy is summoned. Tanks, missiles, airplanes, nothing is a match for the great beast. The fact that (SPOILER ALERT) Zilla was killed by 2 missiles to the neck is any G-Fan’s idea of a joke. Nothing is too much for Godzilla to handle. NOT EVEN MISSILES!!! So why destroy him in such a terrible and tasteless fashion? Because it’s realistic? And still, the point of all this is still missed…it’s a film! A movie! An escape from REALITY! I’m sorry, but Godzilla eats tanks for breakfast…LITERALLY!
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…WHERE’S THE FOE?
Zilla was the only monster in the 98 film. Why…if this movie was based on the King of the Monsters…did the King not protect his title? Everyone was expecting a battle between two behemoths in the middle of New York City and all we got were nods to Jurassic Park, terrible one-liners, horrific references to Japanese culture, and no giant monster battle whatsoever. Yes, the original Gojira had only one beast. But its purpose was to show the horrors of war and nuclear radiation. When the original came out, there was no “Giant Monster VS Giant Monster” genre. Despite that instance, every film since included Godzilla battling some other monstrosity to protect his home. It’s not Godzilla if it’s missing ANY of these elements.
I hope that the film we get in 2014 brings Godzilla back to his terrifying roots and we get what we’ve all wanted for so long. And I hope this short review has helped you to see what makes the iconic terror the vengeful beast we all know and love so much.
Alex is deeply passionate about all things pop-culture including video games, comics, movies, etc. His geekiest love though, would have to be that for a certain 300-ft tall radioactive King of the Monsters…