Thursday, June 2, 2011

Movie Review: Godzilla

The original Japanese film Gojira (ゴジラ [1]), known in English as Godzilla, was a manifestation of the fear and unease that the Japanese people felt about atomic weaponry following the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to end World War II and nuclear fallout from subsequent nuclear testing in the Pacific.[2] The 1998 film was a manifestation that Roland Emmerich needed another disaster movie to direct.[3][4]

My verdict: This movie was okay, but there were several things that made it silly. For one thing, tt was quite ridiculous how often Godzilla managed to avoid missiles and torpedoes that were fired at it.[5] I really doubt that the U.S. military is really that incompetent. But it did give the filmmakers the opportunity to shoot down the Chrysler building. There were scenes and lines lifted wholesale from Star Wars: A New Hope.[6] And the human interest subplots were really quite ridiculous, though Matthew Broderick's character [7] does have a few lucid moments. Having a parody of Roger Ebert as the mayor of New York was a little amusing.


[1] It is a combination of the words ゴリラ (gorira, which means "gorilla"), and クジラ (kujira, which means "whale"). See

[2] See

[3] Read about how Roland Emmerich kicked off the second wave of disaster films here.

[4] The film Cloverfield does a better job of capturing the spirit of Gojira since it capitalizes on the fear and unease that Americans felt after the 9/11 attacks. When this film was made (1998) nobody cared if you destroyed parts of New York.


[6] Specifically I'm thinking of a scene where a helicopter pilot is whisking down some street in New York, flanked by skyscrapers on both sides, intently watching his targeting computer. I was just waiting for Darth Vader's TIE Fighter to swoop in behind him. There were also a few "I have a bad feeling about this" lines.

[7] That does not, however, mean that Matthew Broderick's acting was in any way commendable. The day after watching this movie we went to my sister-in-law's house, where her kids were watching The Lion King. At this point I finally realized that Matthew Broderick is the voice actor for the grown-up Simba. Man, was that a let-down.

Image attributions:

New York Skyline at Night is by Jim Trodel, available at

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