Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Roland Emmerich

Godzilla poster  
Out in the South Pacific nuclear testing has left a destructive legacy. The first sign of trouble comes when a Japanese ship sinks, leaving only a single survivor to tell his story.

Dr Niko Tatopoulous (Matthew Broderick) is one of the scientists brought in to investigate. This cheery biologist is more used to studying the effects of radiation on earthworms, but the latest find is altogether bigger. An enormous mutated lizard is stomping its way around the ocean. But the creature soon finds that the underpopulated backwaters of the South Pacific are too quiet a neighbourhood, so it heads for the bright lights and action of New York.

Meanwhile Audrey (Maria Pitillo), Niko's former girlfriend, is having trouble with her job. She wants to get ahead in journalism, but her boss has no respect for her and she's stuck as a lowly assistant. People have a habit of taking credit for her work and walking all over her. Of course, the story of her career is just about to walk into town.

Humans scramble like ants as they try to avoid being stepped on by the enormous lizard. Exactly how big Godzilla is is a matter for debate. The creature is small enough to fit into the subway tunnels, and it seems to shrink and expand according to where it is. But whatever its proportions are, it leaves a trail of destruction everywhere it goes. People seem to be powerless to stop it, but that doesn't stop some from attempting to.

Whilst the American military tries to deal with Godzilla the French Secret Service, led by Philippe Roaché (Jean Reno), are on the case. Roaché and his team are determined to find out where Godzilla is hiding.

Reno's dry manner adds a little humour to the proceedings, but essentially this is just a monster movie by numbers. The emphasis is always on the special effects, but after a while the spectacle of the huge creature loses its impact and it becomes apparent just how threadbare the story is. It's a little bit like Jurassic Park in the city, but not as well done. Explosions, tumbling skyscrapers and monster chases provide all of the adrenaline-drenched thrills. But that's about all the excitement Godzilla can supply. The plot is predictable, the romantic thread is all too obvious, and the dialogue is uninspiring. There's a minor anti-nuclear theme, but it's almost entirely drowned out by the focus on rampaging lizards and Niko's affairs of the heart. Yet even here there isn't a whole lot of suspense, so in the end it's a vapid and lacklustre movie.

Film Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Films

  Kids     Science fiction

Classification: PG

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2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Roland Emmerich