After the debacle known as Godzilla was released in 1998, TriStar Pictures wisely decided against continuing the American reboot of the Godzilla franchise. Yes, it made a lot of money but it was Godzilla in name only and Toho decided it was time for them to restart the franchise that had been dormant in Japan since the Heisei series ended in 1995. It was now 1999 and the new millennium was right around the corner. So, with director Takao Okawara (Godzilla vs. Destroyah) at the helm, Godzilla 2000: Millennium, the 23rd film in the Godzilla series, was released to kickoff what would now be known as the Millennium series.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (known only as Godzilla 2000 in the U.S.) starts a new continuity by ignoring the previous series of films. It could be considered a loose follow-up to either the original film of 1954 or, most likely, 1985s remake. There is no new origin story as Godzilla has already terrorized Japan in the past. The movie begins with Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata) and his daughter Io (Mayu Suzuki) as they are in search of Godzilla. Yuji owns and operates the Godzilla Prediction Network and is traveling with a reporter, Yuki Ichinose (Naomi Nishida). Soon, Godzilla does indeed make his first appearance in what is, in my opinion, one of his very best debuts in a film to date. Godzilla looks devastating as he quickly begins his quest to destroy Japan’s power supply.
Meanwhile, Crisis Control Intelligence, under the leadership of Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe), a former associate of Yuji’s, has discovered a sixty million year old spaceship in the ocean. It doesn’t take long for the ship’s aliens to reveal themselves and their purpose. They plan to conquer Earth and use Godzilla’s DNA to create new bodies for themselves. Their plans go wrong and soon the ship mutates into Ogra, the monster of the day to challenge Godzilla. At one point, Ogra attempts to swallow Godzilla whole. However, it turns out to be the tipping point in the battle has Godzilla uses his nuclear breathe to blow off Ogra’s head. The closing moments finds Godzilla killing Katagari and then resumes his destruction of Tokyo with the final comments being that Godzilla is doing this because there is a little bit of Godzilla in all of us. And no, I’m really not sure what that meant either.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium was a fun start to the final six-film series. I have a soft spot for this one as it was the first and only Toho Godzilla movie I ever saw in a theater. I took my then 5-year old son Joey to see it as he really enjoyed the previous year’s American flick. The dubbing wasn’t as bad as previous flicks in the Heisei series but it still seemed to make it more cartoonish than intended. A good soundtrack and overall good special effects make it a fun entry. Not the best but not the worst either. One CGI sequence with the transformation of the alien ship into Ogra hasn’t aged well but the rest does just fine. Godzilla looks great and it makes for a fun matinee flick.
Supposedly, the Japanese version is a little longer but only the US version has been released to date. Thankfully, this is the last Godzilla film I have to watch with dubbing. The rest were released with their original Japanese language. Check out the trailer, which clearly is trying to capitalize on the 1998 American film. It’s easily found on DVD for less than $10, so add it to your collection today.
Next time, I check out Godzilla vs. Megaguirus!