Review Date: April 25, 2001
Released by: Columbia Tri-Star
Release date: 12/26/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
Professor Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata
) and his daughter Io (Mayu Suzuki
) run the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN), a small-time operation dedicated to studying Godzilla and predicting his movements. Junior reporter Yuki Ichinose (Naomi Nishida
) has been assigned to work with them and try to get some photos of the big guy, and fortunately for her, while the team is monitoring a desolate stretch of coastline one night, Godzilla does in fact show up. Yuki tries to take his picture, but the monster gets pissed off at them and chases their car. They manage to escape, and Godzilla instead turns his attention towards the nearest Japanese city, which he smashes mercilessly.
Meanwhile, off the coast, the Japanese government is commencing an operation to recover an ancient meteorite from the ocean floor. The object fell to earth 60 million years earlier and is emitting a strange radiation that has the government's scientists fascinated. Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe
), a government bureaucrat who heads Japan's crisis-control agency, the CCI, believes that the radiation could be used as some sort of power source eliminate the country's dependence on fossil fuels. Katagiri is a former colleague of Shinoda's, and they share a mutual dislike of each other now because of opposing views on scientific ethics.
When Godzilla fails to retreat back into to sea and stop tearing up the coastline, Katagiri calls in the army to attack him, much to Shinoda's disdain. Shinoda has always believed the monster must be studied, not destroyed. However, as is always the case, Godzilla is unaffected by the barrage of tanks, missiles and fighter aircraft thrown against him, and the military is forced to retreat. Afterwards, Shinoda scours the battle site and finds a piece of Godzilla's skin that was blown off by a shell. He analyzes it, discovering that it contains advanced regenerative capabilities, which explains why nothing ever seems to hurt the big guy very much. He dubs the discovery "Regenerator G-1".
Back out at sea, the recovery operation doesn't go as expected when the meteorite rises to the surface under it's own power. Several attempt to drill through it are made, but under the rock there seems to be some sort of very hard substance. Everyone gets a major surprise when the sun comes out and the rock rises partly out of the water, following it the sun along the horizon. Eventually, the rock simply takes off by itself and flies through the air. Apparently, it isn't a meteorite at all, but an alien spaceship that crash-landed has lain dormant for millions of years. The ship attacks Godzilla, but the fight ends in a draw.
The spaceship lands on the roof of a building and begins hacking into the area's computer networks, showing a special interest in files about Godzilla. Shinoda realizes that the beings are alien invaders interested in Godzilla's regenerative capabilities, and that they want to stop the monster so nothing will stand in their way of conquering the earth. As Godzilla shows up once again to attack the invaders, they unleash Orga, a huge, vicious monster that Godzilla must battle to the death...
Before I go any farther with this review, I should admit that I'm a Godzilla fanatic, and have been ever since I was a little kid. I should also say that I saw Godzilla 2000
when it was released to theatres, and that for the first time in my life I actually considered walking out of a movie. I absolutely and utterly hated it! However, after watching the film again several times for this review, I can say that my feelings have changed a bit. The movie is not nearly as bad as I originally thought, although it's still a disappointment.
The first big problem with the film is that all the main plot elements seem to have been just thrown in without much thought. The alien-invasion angle, a very common sub-plot in the Godzilla series, is poorly handled here. We never learn anything about the aliens, never see them, and in fact, their presence seems rather pointless, although having them hack computers for information about Earth is a wonderfully clever touch (heck, why waste time doing your own research when you can easily steal someone else's?) Also, the scenes involving the spaceship are too long and too many in number, resulting in a huge gap in the middle where Godzilla is out of the film completely.
The second big problem is that the Godzilla series has typically climaxed with a colossal, all-out battle between the monsters, where a lot of miniature sets get destroyed and the monster costumes get a run for their money. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. Yes, there's a fight at the end, but it's very unimaginatively staged and lacks the raucous, knock 'em down energy of many earlier films in the series. The two combatants don't really even do that much besides stand in the same place and trade blows. The design of Orga himself is also problematic - it's not that the alien monster looks fake or anything, the problem is that he just doesn't look very interesting. It doesn't look like very much effort was taken in designing him. He's just a big hunk of latex, one that Godzilla dispatches so easily that it's not even funny.
In the end, Godzilla 2000
is entertaining enough, but it just can't hold a candle to many of the big guy's earlier classics. Maybe it's time that Toho Studios gave him a rest before they pit him against any more monsters in any more movies. As a Godzilla fan, I'm glad to have this one in my collection, but still, there are many other of his movies that I would much rather watch.
Columbia Tristar presents Godzilla 2000
in it's original Tohoscope ratio of 2.35:1, and it is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Overall, this is a fantastic transfer. The colors are incredibly bold and natural, displaying perfect saturation whether it be the flames left by Godzilla's rampage or the lush greenery of the Japanese coast. There were no signs of print damage or any MPEG artifacts. The level of detail is excellent, and actually shows just how fake-looking some of the special effects in this entry are.
Regrettably, the image does suffer from one problem, and that is an abundance of grain visible in quite a few shots, mostly in the night scenes. Considering that this movie is only a few years old, the amount of grain detectable is surprising. It's not a constant problem, but when it does happen it's very noticeable.
You have two soundtrack options, both of them English dubs, one in Dolby 2.0 Surround and one in Dolby 5.1 (the original Japanese soundtrack was not included, much to my dismay). The soundtracks have great range and excellent balance between dialogue, music and sound effects, and with all the explosions, shooting, screaming and building-stomping in this film, your speakers are going to get a great workout.
A French 2.0 Surround track is also included. Optional English and French subtitles are available.
The main attraction here is a commentary track by Michael Schleshinger, the producer-writer of the American version, film editor Mike Mahoney and sound editor Darren Pascal. They probably should have had Schleshinger do the commentary by himself, since he does almost all the talking on it, with Mahoney and Pascal pitching in only occasionally. Fortunately, Schleshinger is very interesting to listen to, mostly discussing how the American version is different from the Japanese version (about 9 minutes of footage were trimmed for the U.S. release), the various edits and changes that were made, and about many of the actors who participated in the dubbing (not a lot of information is given on the original Japanese version, most likely because these guys didn't actually have anything to do with making it).
The other supplements are pretty sparse. There's about 2 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage showing how many of the miniature effects were achieved, talent files for Godzilla and director Takao Okawara, and trailers for this film, the Dean Devlin-Roland Emmerich Godzilla
, and Anaconda
Godzilla fans should definitely add this disc to their collections just for the quality of the audio and video presentation alone. Godzilla 2000
isn't a terrible movie, but it could've been a lot better. Hopefully, one day we'll be able to see the uncut Japanese version (already available on DVD over there), but for now this version will do.
Movie - B-
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A
Supplements – B
- Running Time - 1 hour 38 minutes
- Rated PG
- 1 Disc
- 28 Chapter Stops
- English Dolby 2.0 Surround
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- French Dolby 2.0 Surround
- English and French subtitles
- Audio commentary with Michael Schleshinger, film editor Mike Mahoney and sound editor Darren Pascal
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Talent bios