Stomp Romp / Zilla Thrilla: “That’s a lot of fish.”

stomprompzillathrilla

Our slow-burning Godzilla theme continues with an exploration of everyone’s least favorite American G-film, Roland Emmerich’s 1998 “classic”, Godzilla. CLICK HERE or on the banner above to listen to Sean and I discuss our first tastes of colossal cinematic disappointment, everything this film does wrong, and a few things that it does right.

ERRATA: Some corrections are in order. Parthenogenesis is a type of asexual reproduction, and some lizard species do in fact engage in it. Also, the 1994 American Godzilla script by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio actually predates the publication of the Shusuke Kaneko Heisei-era Gamera trilogy, which began in 1995, so to claim the former was ripping off the latter was inaccurate.

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28 Responses

  1. Ah, Emmerich’s Godzilla. Being from the UK meant that any exposure to the Japanese Godzilla films was practically non-existent for me. As a 6 year old on a rare trip to the cinema at the time, this looked like it could have been fun because well, giant dinosaurs and lizards, could not go wrong for me as a kid weaned on the Jurassic Park films.

    Bearing in mind at the time as a child I also enjoyed the other then fairly recent Emmerich films like Stargate and Independence Day (which I still have a little soft spot for). Needless to say, I wasn’t terribly fond of it when seeing at the cinema even as an easily pleased kid. I just found the film honesty, fairly dull. That hasn’t really changed for me even when trying to re-watch it many years later.

  2. You know, I’ve heard many many reviews of the Phantom Menace, the other great disappointment of my childhood, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard anyone pick apart exactly why this movie doesn’t work. It’s a huge mess in many respects and I genuinely hope to never see it again, but it strangely comforting to heard exactly why it didn’t work. It puts a few of my childhood demons to rest because now that I think of it, this may be the first big disappointment movie for me. I am glad that there were things that weren’t terrible in the movie like Broderick’s performance and I do remember thinking that the French guys were pretty cool. Even as a ten year old I remember thinking that the love interest was a monster though.

    I’m glad you did this review, and I can honestly say that I hope you do more of the Stomp Romp soon. A lot of the content that you put out is really interesting but difficult to connect with for me, but I grew up watching every Godzilla movie I could and so it’s always an intriguing walk through nearly forgotten childhood memories when you put out one of these podcasts.

  3. I didn’t think that highly of Broderick’s performance, honestly, Rick Fox – Jean Reno, OTOH, was awesome as always.

    What gets even funnier? The Japanese mercilessly mock the US Godzilla! Since it was a Toho co-production, they have the rights to the likeness of the American creature, which they mostly just re-dub “Zilla”, and has been used in recent monster mash movies as a complete Jabroni….

  4. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Broderick did anything amazing in the movie. It’s just that he wasn’t terrible. He was working with awful material and doing what he could with it. But yeah. Jean Reno. So legit.

  5. Don’t you get the Japanese Godzilla films in the UK, Rick?

    You know, there’s this marvelous thing called Amazon.com, where you can order DVDs and Blu-Rays and have them shipped to you anywhere in the world – for free if you have Amazon Prime! I know this b/c I do it the other way all the time – order UK DVDs and have them sent to me in the USofA.

    Yes, there’s US region coding – but you can either purchase region-free DVD or Blu-Ray players (or hack them in many cases), or apps like VLC allow all-region DVDs to be played on your computer, and there are apps like Leawo’s Blu-Ray Player that can play any region Blu-Rays.

  6. Importing isn’t really a viable solution for everybody, Tim. And it’s Oli that lives in the UK. I know he imports DVDs / Blurays all the time; he’s a real cinephile.

  7. I assume the limited feedback the podcast’s gotten on Stomp Romp thus far is probably just because the Millenium series isn’t as popular as Heisei, which in turn isn’t as popular as Showa, so it’ll get better as it goes along…

    Much as I enjoy this movie, having been quite young in 1998, the creature design is the major/sole takeaway — Tataoupolis also designed the aliens from Pitch Black, and he’s got a neat style that’s better served here and there than say I, Robot, or Underworld 3.

    The design for the newest American Godzilla looks like he ain’t got a neck!

    I also thank this movie for giving us Reptilian, remake of famous North Korean monster movie Yonggary, complete with some of the most compelling CGI ever seen

  8. I actually still have all the cups that Taco Bell was giving away as well as the cup holder that went with them.

  9. I actually still have all the cups that Taco Bell releases as well as the Godzilla cup holder that they were giving away.

  10. Granted, speaking of Godzilla and importing Blus, while I’m really happy for most of the other films making their way onto the format, I missed the boat on Vs Biollante as I think that’s now OOP. 😦

  11. This movie was my first exposure to Godzilla ever and it is also the main reason why I never watch any other Godzilla movies until about 5 years ago. You can put a feather in your cap Paul because it was your reviews on how you liked them and me watching the original film in Japanese that made me want to watch more of them.

  12. Thanks, R. Crockett. I’m glad my work on the podcast helped you have a positive experience with Godzilla. 🙂

  13. A Couple Punches to Sean’s Mail Sack:

    HELLFIGHTERS is actually a movie about the men who fight oil well fire – it’s a non-violent manly man adventure. I saw it when I was a kid, and remember enjoying it well enough – it’s got lots of fires, and The Duke and Jim Hutton doing their thing.

    – That John Wayne as Genghis Khan movie is called THE CONQUEROR, and it’s hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Wayne wasn’t completely talentless, but he was the wrong kind of actor to be declaiming mock-Shakespearean dialogue – “E-Ter-Nal Skayz – Brang me Mehn!” And unlike Sean, I’m come to really loathe “yellowface”, both for how often white actors use it to patronize Asians, and for how it alleges Asians can’t act so This Movie/Play Needs A Honky! Even when it’s done well, like Sir Alec Guinness’s performance as a Japanese businessman in A MAJORITY OF ONE, it’s still a White Person pretending to be non-White, and somehow a “sensitive” performance makes matters worse.

    Okay – I will allow the exception of Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu, mainly because he and Rob Zombie didn’t even bother to make him remotely Asian. He just stuck on a Fu Manchu fake beard and put on a silk robe, and started ranting and laughing manically, so the entire charade comes off as a subversion of Yellowface acting – and besides, it’s hilarious! Unlike Mickey Rooney as a buck-toothed Japanese businessman in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, say….

  14. PS: I say that last as somebody who, as a young actor, played in Yellowface/Yellowvoice myself a few times. There’s an Eighties radio drama, CHINATOWN, USA, floating around which has me playing a highly-unconvincing Chinese gangster….

  15. Reminded of the Taco Bell thing brought up this panel from one of Evan Dorkin’s “Dork” comics involving the Eltingville Club member Josh chronicling his day back on May 5th, 1998 and trying to apply at a Taco Bell using his knowledge of their Godzilla licensing deal as credentials. Pretty amusing.

  16. I’ve had a sick desire to go back to this film for a while. I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters and I was 1/3 of my current age. Thank you for killing that desire. Now I guess I’ll just wait for those Heisei BDs to come out and see how sad my childhood was.

  17. Yeah it wasn’t great, a 50’s B-Movie with a good effects budget. I actually liked Jean Reno a lot. For a big mutant monster attacking new york movie it was fine, but to call it Godzilla, that was a bad move.

  18. This movie was on while I was in Singapore preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve back in 2009/2010. It was the first time I watched it since I saw it in theaters in 1998. I didn’t like the movie then and I didn’t find anything redeeming about it whatsoever twelve years later either. And yes, Maria Pitillo is awful in this movie. I don’t mind her “up for anything” acting style, but the script just makes her such a reprehensible character that she comes off about as likable as a tick on your arm. I legit hate things like the Razzie Awards, but if anyone ever deserved to win one of those things it was her.

  19. I do not like Godzilla humping a building. Boooooo this movie.

  20. OH RIGHT the humping… Totally forgot about that

    😐

  21. The worst depiction of the military I’ve seen is in The Swarm. They are totally incompetent, never listen to the experts, and when the killer bees reach Houston, their plan is to send in troops with flame-throwers. They don’t kill the bees, but do succeed in setting each other on fire and burning downtown Houston to the ground. Well done, men!

  22. Guessing that it rained all the time to cover up special effects.

  23. @Bob I totally agree. It was a cheat. You spend 100 million on SFX and then won’t show them to us?

    I had the same problem with Pacific Rim. I couldn’t see a damned thing. It was like watching Wesely Snipes fight a black panther in a coal mine.

    One thing I really liked about Godzilla 2000 is that they showed us the big guy in broad daylight.

  24. My continuing gripe about American Godzilla is how they spent however many millions on replacing a guy in a rubber suit with a computer animation that looks remarkably like a guy in a rubber suit.

  25. To be fair, Firest – ‘Zilla (as the Japanese call him now) did do a few things a guy in a rubber suit couldn’t have done, like behave more like a snake crossed with a giraffe. But in too many cases, yeah – the CGI looked like a man-in-a-suit monster.

  26. Paul, I love your podcast. I’ve listened to the entire archive. Like you, I’ve been watching Godzilla films since I was a kid. So it troubles me that someone as clearly intelligent as you can have such wrong opinions on final wars. Now, I know this is the 98 Godzilla podcast, but the defense opened the door on this, your honor. I’ll allow it. Overruled.
    Ok, so you can’t decide if this or final wars sucked worse. Well, I think I can help you with that. did one of them have monsters like Mothra and ghidora and stuff? Did the monster that they called Godzilla look and sound like Godzilla? Did one of them have a fat, clearly inebriated American with a samurai sword who spoke a different language than everyone else but they all understood each other, like he was motherfucking chewbacca? Because THAT’S the better movie.
    So to summarize I really like your podcast, but only 99.9 percent of the time.

  27. I was only about 7 when this movie came out and I don’t remember much about the film itself other than some of the things that internet articles have harped on it on over the years and that it was dark and raining in the movie. Despite that I have a pretty fond memory of the Godzilla design itself though. Being 7, you might find yourself in that sweet spot where you’re invited to a kid’s birthday party that you don’t actually know super well, but who lives on your street. Combine this with parents that obviously have the buying power and choice behind the presents for the birthday boy and an iconic movie franchise being in theaters, and you get 4 people giving the same 8″ tall Toho Trendmasters Godzilla action figure to the kid! Which 3 of the other party attendants (including yours truly) got to take home.
    I think I still have that Godzilla toy in my parent’s house. I think it had about 8 points of articulation and roared when you pressed on the correct spike. It was pretty rad.

  28. neoinferno – I think whether you love or hate GODZILLA: FINAL WARS depends on if you wanted to see an over-the-top mashup of Japanese fantastic television/movie/manga tropes in live action…or a Fifth Anniversary GODZILLA movie.

    I kind of enjoyed it myself – but it’s only incidentally a GODZILLA movie.

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