|Two main cinematic choices faced us this weekend: The Cell, with its then-the-mushrooms-hit visual banquet, or Godzilla 2000, with its, um, guy in a rubber suit? At first we were all about The Cell, having stubbornly clung to the belief that Jennifer Lopez remains frozen in time as her kickass character from Out of Sight. In general, our hope is that this skank who dates Puff Daddy, packs heat on a regular basis and can barely dress herself has been an imposter out to destroy any credibility Lopez once had.
But then we started to hear reports that the aforementioned visual banquet in The Cell would in fact make us lose our lunch. A mention was made of the villain "slowly unraveling [someone's] intestines" in some elaborate torture chamber. Ew.
But we knew we were taking a gamble as we headed into the Godzilla 2000 theater: will this movie be bad enough to be good? Fact is, we'd become so accustomed to big-budget Hollywood stinkers that we'd completely forgotten the joys of low-budget ineptitude. (The sets, the costumes, the production values, the script...) In fairness, the makers of Godzilla 2000 obviously shucked out some change for a few computer effects, but it's equally obvious that they took that money out of the budget line marked "Acting and Dubbing Talent."
What's really impressive about Godzilla 2000 is that both the live Japanese actors and the English actors who dubbed their voices are reprehensibly bad. The Japanese actors have wooden movements and laughable expressions; the English actors have two vocal settings: melodramatic and shrill. And then there's the translations. Our favorite moment had to be when a panicked character yelled, "Gott in Himmel!" --- which is "God in Heaven" in German. That's right: a Japanese character dubbed into English uttering a pretty lame oath in German. Crap truly is the universal language.
The film mostly devotes itself to the timeless story of one big-ass lizard, one weird-ass UFO and a bunch of dumb-ass humans. The UFO lands in the ocean (cleverly disguised as a meteorite --- those wily aliens!), then Godzilla shows up and starts taking out power plants. We're never told exactly why, but it's been established in just about every Godzilla movie that the big guy has a weakness for power lines, so who are we to bother anybody for cogent exposition?
The UFO reveals itself to be a UFO and flies around a bit, the Crisis Control Intelligence agency once again makes plans to destroy Big G, missiles are fired, shit blows up. But Godzilla has an ally: the Godzilla Prediction Network (we did not make that up). Consisting of a scientist, his kids (natch), a couple of friends and a photojournalist (in the great Toho Studios tradition of annoying, shrieking female characters), the GPN tries to learn more about ol' Nuke-breath.
The film's coup de stupid comes in its last line, the answer to one character's musing about why Godzilla always helps humans even though we both created him and constantly attempt to destroy him. We'll let you find out for yourselves just how ludicrous it is, but you will not be disappointed.
And you'll be relieved to know that Godzilla 2000 is 100% intestine-free. God knows we were.