The film begins with a ship being attacked at sea. If this is not a sign of the series returning to its roots, nothing is! In a surprise twist, we are not shown much of this attack, leaving a lot of it to our imagination. One survivor is discovered and tells his story to a reporter. Unfortunately for him, he is locked away by the Japanese government in order to keep the thing quiet. They know that Godzilla is back after 30 (or 31 in America) years of hibernation and ready to smash. This is a precursor to the Millenium Era, which was obsessed with rebooting the series to Gojira. A young woman is our lead heroine and her brother happens to be the man locked up. One government official feels bad and lets her see her brother. After the story finally comes out, Japan relents and reveals the information to the world press. We get a lot of old school action here, including military personnel talking about the monster and 'talking heads' discussing it in meetings. You missed this, didn't you? A mysterious man is summoned to the Pentagon to help out: Steve Martin. No, not that guy. I'm actually referring to Raymond Burr, reprising his role as the U.S. reporter who witnessed the original Godzilla attack in Gojira. Of course, this is only in the U.S. cut, since he was not in the original Japanese version of either movie. After all the build-up around him, he only manages to tell them vague and esoteric statements. Thanks, Perry.
After longer than you might think, Godzilla makes his appearance and starts to smash things. The pacing of the film is actually quite interesting as Godzilla shows up a bit late (about thirty minutes or so in), but never disappears after that. Naturally, he starts to smash up Tokyo as the world tries to decide what to do. Burr does tell them the conventional military weapons don't work. Of course, Japan spends about ten minutes trying just that anyways. The United States presses the use of nuclear weapons, despite Ironside's disapproval. It takes a bit of talking and warning from other countries for them to relent. Unfortunately, Russia does not get the memo. In the meantime, Japan unleashes its new laser weapons and flying vehicle on Godzilla. After a long battle, it manages to take him down. Unfortunately, Russia launched a missile from space already. In a rather silly twist, the sub that could halt the missile with their codes is disabled because it was docked in the Sea of Japan! You know, maybe you could have picked a safer place to be, guys! Anyhow, America launches a missile to stop it from blowing up Tokyo and succeeds. Unfortunately, the bombs blow up in the atmosphere and causes nuclear lightning to strike Godzilla! He is revived and smashes up more of the city. Finally, he is stopped by another attack from the flying vehicle and sent into a volcano. One weird monologue from Burr later and we have the credits.
*This movie is good, but definitely not what many of you may be expecting. The movie is solely about Godzilla smashing up a city and not fighting another monster. This movie is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Gojira, making it one of only two films that features no second monster with Godzilla. No, I'm not counting Roland Emmerich's film! The movie is entertaining though and features some great city smashing. Godzilla looks good, even if they still had not quite gotten the eyes to a realistic design just yet. It is still miles beyond the 'cookie monster' Godzilla we had in the '70s. The contrast between the Japanese footage and American footage is pretty notable too. You can enjoy the film regardless of this, even if you aren't able to track down an obscure Region-Free DVD and pay extra money for a player that supports it. Does it reinvent the wheel? No. Does it make the wheel look better than it did 30 years earlier? Yes.
*Next up, Blockbuster Trash brings you a monster film built around rapper DMX. You know what, that's all I need to say. Stay tuned...