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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday July 12, 2020 

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A devastating, blinding flash of light fills the sky as a nuclear bomb is tested, its radiation reaching far across the sea. Some time later, the Pacific Ocean churns, engulfing a freighter with wicked speed. Giant footprints plow an ominous path through miles of Panamanian forests and beaches. Ships off the US coast capsize, dragged into an inexplicably rolling sea, where they are instantly demolished. This profound destruction heads inexorably towards a small, densely populated island called Manhattan, New York. The towering creature responsible, a nuclear-mutated lizard, larger than a giant dinosaur, relentlessly smashes through the city, leaving a trail of ruin and panic in its terrible wake, and pulls a scientist (Matthew Broderick), a TV reporter (Maria Pitillo) and cameraman (Hank Azaria), the military and an enigmatic French insurance investigator (Jean Reno) into an odd and shifting alliance. Despite their often conflicting agendas and motives, they join forces to try and defeat the monster before it lays its eggs. If they can.

"Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Crimson Tide all rolled into one, Godzilla is a Golly Gosh spectacle, aimed at the young, the adventurous and those looking for a trip into fantasy land. And that’s exactly what they get: a fearsome feature flick with big effects, big sound at a big budget. The main problem with Godzilla, however, is that it lacks a soul. The emphasis is solely on the effects as opposed to plot and character. This probably won’t bother the teens who will flock to this flick, but it is sure to affect word of mouth and return business. The effects are eye-popping, but a little heart would elevate it considerably. Plus the ever-constant presence of the teeming rain, while adding some elements of mystique, eventually becomes rather dour and depressing. But without doubt, there are some very good things about Godzilla. The casting of Jean Reno is a highlight - the well observed, real-coffee loving Frenchman with attitude - and Reno carries off the role beautifully. Matthew Broderick has good presence, ‘though his role is none too colourful, at least he has charm. And as for Godzilla himself? Here is a creature of mythical proportions with soulful amber eyes, matching persona and a mouth full of ivories that any dentist would love to work on. The scene where the baby lizards hatch is a standout. Put your grey matter on hold and let your eyes and ears do the thinking. Godzilla’s a fun ride, after all."
Louise Keller

"It’s pointless talking about the remake of Godzilla (by a team of cashed up Hollywood producers) as if it were cinema; it’s not to be confused with movies, because it is merely a moving picture version of a comic. If you buy comics (like many Japanese do, and not just children – remember, too, the original was a Japanese creation which destroyed Tokyo) you will probably find this a whoosh of an experience. Your senses will delight in the transition from imagining the sounds of Godzilla and the destruction of a city, to actually hearing it and seeing it in motion. This is not to put it down – simply to put it in perspective. In its own context, Godzilla the US$150 million monster is the full bottle: here is BIG menace, BIG destruction and BIG danger. It’s like watching your toy go berserk while on a bad trip (both of you on abad trip!). Me? I prefer creature features to be cheap on effects and big on bravado."
Andrew L. Urban

"This is the most hyped up, over-marketed film Hollywood has announced since the regrettable Independence Day [created by the same soulless folks who brought us THIS computerised lizard flick]. It seems so easy to make a big-budget movie in Hollywood these days: create a multitude of special effects, a few human puppets, a sprinkling of simplistic dialogue that could easily have been written on the back of a few bubble gum cards, and voila, Godzilla is born. Where has all the imagination gone in movies, or indeed the passion? Godzilla is a passionless, artless affair, a hybrid of most idiotic monster films, including the two Jurassic Park movies. Director Roland Emmerich has such a pedestrian approach to film making, and here he feels bigger is better, without remembering to sustain suspense or excitement. The fact is, the film is a flat, listless work that is excessively noisy, excessively silly and excessively long. Some of the visuals are clever, while at other times, the creature is so obviously computer-generated. While it's understandable that the human element is usually lacking, there can be an attempt at some interesting actors. Broderick is simply dreadful, delivering a wooden, flat performance. Only veterans Jean Reno and the amusing Michael Lerner are engaging, and the design of the film is certainly extraordinary. At a cost of over $100 million, Godzilla is little more than a shamelessly manipulative attempt at crass studio marketing. The film is a loud, humourless affair which insults its audience. It's true, as the ad campaigns insist on reminding us, that size does matter. But so does plot and character!"
Paul Fischer

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Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 3

"Put your grey matter on hold and let your eyes and ears do the thinking. Godzilla’s a fun ride, after all." Louise Keller


"It’s like watching your toy go berserk while on a bad trip (both of you on a bad trip!)" Andrew L. Urban

"At a cost of $100 million +, Godzilla is little more than a shamelessly manipulative attempt at crass studio marketing." Paul Fischer



CAST: Matthew Broderick, Hank Azaria, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer, Arabella Field

PRODUCERS: Dean Devlin

DIRECTOR: Roland Emmerich

SCRIPT: Roland Emmerich


EDITOR: Peter Amundson

MUSIC: David Arnold




RUNNING TIME: 138 minutes





Godzilla made his first appearance in 1954 in a Japanese movie called Gojira. Two years later, Gojira was released in America retitled Godzilla - King of the Monsters which included new footage shot for US release which featured Raymond Burr. This quickly became a worldwide hit.

Godzilla is owned by Japanese distribution and production company, Toho, which has been extremely protective of the Godzilla name, image and rights over past 40 years.


Sydney based visual effects company Animal Logic provided 100 licences for their latest technical innovation, SoftMan, to U.S. company Centropolis in the making of Godzilla, directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day). SoftMan, the SOFTIMAGE to RenderMan plug-in from Animal Logic, was extensively used by Centropolis for the making of the film.


I have read the almost universally damning reviews of Godzilla. I think the reviews contained on this site [Urban Cinefile] are probably the most balanced of any I have read. As a cinema owner I am closer to the cinema going public than most people and I am able to view each film on it's merits. I think that critics have been damning not because the film is intrinsically poorly done but because they wish to get at Sony for over-hyping the film. I didn't see any acting (or dialogue) inferior to Twister, the plot is no less flimsy than Jurassic Park, the special effects are far superior to The Lost World and ID4 and there is some genuine edge-of-the-seat thrilling sequences. The roar was pretty crappy but nobody seems to notice. I have sought exit feedback from a broad range of ages during the preview screenings and almost 100% said it was an exciting, fun film. I love event movies and also the low-budget dialogue and character driven films, and I can tell the difference between them - which seems to have escaped a lot of the critics. Critics should qualify their predjudices before they write the review; eg "I do not like the films which children like but following is negative review of a children’s film." Or "I am far too pretentious to enjoy an event movie but here is a review about the lack of character development in a minor part." Sorry about the bitching
Ross McKay
Savoy Cinema, Cooma NSW

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