Awfully Good Movies: GODZILLA ’98

With Godzilla x Kong‘s box office success and Godzilla Minus One’s Oscar win making the kaiju legend more relevant than ever, let’s turn the doomsday clock back to 1998 as Awfully Good Movies tackles Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s infamous American reboot, known simply as GODZILLA!

With TriStar eager to keep its rights agreement with Toho to make its own Godzilla trilogy after director Jan de Bont was dropped from the film, they turned to the same duo that just blew up both the box office and the White House with Independence Day, who were allowed to do whatever the hell they wanted with the giant lizard’s American debut as long as they could get the flick made within a year for Memorial Day 1998. And much like the Toho executives who first saw Emmerich’s redesigned Godzilla, the eager audiences of Godzilla fans in Japan and America also reacted with several minutes of stunned silence and not the good kind of stunned.

It’s got a cast of wisecracking sitcom rejects that includes a post-Ferris Matthew Broderick, a post-Leon Jean Reno, the late Michael Lerner as the Roger Ebert-parodying corrupt mayor of NYC, and three voice actors from The Simpsons, but all of them are lost against a non-existent Godzilla (or as Toho insists the ‘98 version be called now, “Zilla”) with only 11-13 minutes of screen time none of the soul or artistry of the olden rubber suit days. But any children of the 90s can still hold onto the good memories left behind by the flick’s $20 million advertising campaign: those Taco Bell commercials, that surprisingly decent Saturday morning cartoon, and the theme song performed by P. Didd–you know what, maybe we can skip that one.

And with Godzilla far better served these days by both Toho and Legendary Pictures, we can certainly laugh in retrospect at this epic funeral for the 90s blockbuster as we once knew it. Now who wants to head down to Taco Bell to see if they’ve got leftover Godzilla cup holders?

Previously on Awfully Good Movies…




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