Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.
You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.
Last night got weird. For reasons beyond my control I ended up watching the 1998 remake of Godzilla. I promise you this was not on purpose, but the remote was waaaaaaay over there and I really did not want to get up. Anyways, I sat through that whole damn movie and I realized that it definitely is one of the worst remakes ever made.
Godzilla is the poorly crafted 1998 remake of the old Japanese movies. While the original movies were about the Japanese culture and the fear/remembrance of nuclear war, the remake was about Ferris Bueller and some fake french guys chasing a giant iguana around New York City. That is the first problem (in a long list) I have with this remake. The original movie was ripe with symbolism and meaning. Godzilla was a living nuclear weapon wreaking havoc on Japan. It was more than just a cheesy monster flick, it was a movie about how the country felt about being bombed during World War Two, and the aftermath of the nuclear strike. The remake missed all of these points and just made a cheesy monster flick.
The next problem I have with this movie is the casting. The minute they put Ferris Bueller in the lead and added the guy who voices half of the characters on The Simpsons in a supporting role any seriousness this movie may have had went right out the window. I do not hate Matthew Broderick or Hank Azaria, in fact, Azaria is one of my favorite actors, but adding this kind of comedic element to a Godzilla remake just seems like a kick in the nuts to the spirit of the original. Just because the original 1954 movie seems funny to us now does not mean it was a comedy. That is just what happens to old sci-fi movies, especially ones with giant monsters. It would be like if they remade Alien in 20 years and rewrote it so it was a slapstick comedy that played like one of the Scary Movie movies.
Now we can finally get to the plot of Godzilla. The story starts out reasonably enough. Something is attacking boats (just like in the original) and we do not really have a definitive answer on what it is. Then starts the ridiculous government coverup nonsense, the French military involvement, the reporter getting mixed up in everything, and plenty of talk of reproduction. You know what this movie did not need more than anything else? Godzilla being a mother. After talking to some friends about this movie most of them said something along the lines of “All I remember about that movie is that it sucked and there were baby Godzillas that looked like velociraptors from Jurassic Park.” and that pretty much sums up the worst aspect of Godzilla: those damn baby ‘zillas. At one point there were about fifteen of those raptor rip-offs chasing everyone around Madison Square Garden and they get foiled by spilled gum balls.
There is more stuff that happens after that point of the movie but my brain has blacked it out in order to save itself. Something about an air strike then Godzilla is pissed then they kill it or something. Whatever. The bottom line here is that the Godzilla remake totally sucks and may be the worst remake of all time. The monster looks dumb and it is shot like Jurassic Park made love to Cloverfield then aborted the baby that became Godzilla. Maybe I am being too harsh, it did have a pretty cool soundtrack (I still wait for the roars every time I hear Brain Stew on the radio). Then again, that soundtrack had Puff Daddy rapping over a Led Zeppelin song, so you know what, fuck everything about that movie.
All hope may not be lost, however. Rumor has it that there is a reboot in the works that should release in the near future. Sure, that will probably suck too, but it can not suck worse than the first attempt at an American Godzilla remake.
Justin Proper is voting for Nicolas Cage in the upcoming Michigan Republican Primary. You can follow him on Twitter.