So like you can guess from the title this is not exactly a review but more of an explanation of why in my opinion Toho and the majority of the fans hated Godzilla 1998. Like I said in my Godzilla 1954, Godzilla 1998’s monster Zilla, prompted Toho to make sure their monster was clearly distinguished from the abomination that arrived in the city of New York, the most attacked city in US cinema since the beginning of cinema.
Now first things first. In my Godzilla 1954 review I may have said that Toho even took back the rights… well the thing is that things may not have been as forceful as that. In fact there was an american Godzilla animated series made by Sony that served as a sort of Sequel to the 1998 film, surprisingly Toho thinks this incarnation is worthy of the name “Godzilla”, but the thing is that Sony’s rights to the monster expired and they didn’t renew it because well… they didn’t want to risk creating another bad movie.
Now to learn of the reasons why Toho hated Godzilla 1998 we just have to go to the statements who had worked or would work for the company in the King of the Monsters’ franchise
Kenpachiro Satsuma, you know the one who was forced to be the man in the suit in Pulgasari and had been Godzilla throughout the whole Heisei Series would got out of the cinema before the movie was even over saying “It’s not Godzilla, it doesn’t have his Spirit”. He also reportedly said he preferred Pulgasari to the American Godzilla. Haruo Nakajima, one of the men in the suit for the Original Godzilla said “Its body is like an Iguana and its limbs just like a Frog’s” and Shusuke Kaneko who was the director of the ’90s Gamera movies and would direct the Godzilla Movie “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all out attack” said “Americans seem unable to accept a creature that cannot be put down by their weapons” not only that but in the previously mentioned Godzilla movie he directed in 2001 he claimed the monster was not Godzilla but something the americans had mistaken for it (the first step Toho took towards distinguishing the two. Ryuhei Kitamura finalized that process when he took the monster to the Toho Universe in the Millenium series as “Zilla” in “Godzilla: Final Wars”. When asked about the name why Zilla and not Godzilla he replied “The americans have taken the God out of Godzilla”. By the way in that movie Zilla is defeated by Godzilla in less than 10 seconds
So from the Statements from these people we could get more or less why Toho hated the movie. So what about the fans?
I have a confession to make, it’s a confession that it’s hard for any Godzilla fan but I didn’t hate the Godzilla 1998 Movie when it first came out because I didn’t know anything about the franchise it came from back then and if you don’t watch thinking of the monster Godzilla movie or you don’t know anything about Godzilla it’s a deeply flawed movie with many issues but is at least watchable although not many times if you watch it too many well… you grow tired of it. (I may review it some time… I just need booze lots and lots of booze, enough to make me forget it is supposed to be a Godzilla movie)
I’ve just said what I think about the movie so let me address the main reason many fans, which is what I became many years after this movie came out, didn’t like this movie and why I don’t like it as a Godzilla movie.
“Hello I’m Godzilla” “Yeah… no you aren’t”
The Monster is not Godzilla, the only thing they have had in common is that both were exposed to radiation. That’s it. The appearance is different because they are different types of creature (an iguana and a dinosaur) and it loses to every other incarnation including the Legendary Pictures one (a movie I like and that showed the world America could do a decent, even good, Godzilla movie), the growl is different it doesn’t have the same powers (instead of atomic breathing or atomic rays the Zilla from the movie has power breath (he blows hot air and blows shit up), its eating habits are different and it is a Pussy, (it flees from the army and it’s weapons which actually harm him!). Like I said before IT. IS. NOT. Godzilla!!!!!!!!! So don’t even dare to call him that!
Also another problem I, and not only I but many other fans and even the critics, had with the monster are its offspring. With the tv Cartoon incarnation being an exception, which doesn’t hatch until the last scene of the movie and that on the tv series is badass enough that is considered by Toho worthy of being called Godzilla even if he has some of the original flaws of his parent, (including being vulnerable to many things the Japanese Godzilla is not and the fact that he has atomic breathing when its parent did not it’s still a mystery to me (more a plot-hole than a flaw)), the Zilla offspring are rip-offs of the Jurassic Part velociraptors, you can argue they are a little different (just a little), in appearance but their behavior and the scenes when they attack the protagonists are clearly a copy of the Raptors attacking the protagonists at the visitor center from Jurassic Park. And that doesn’t amuse neither the Critics nor the fan base and it particularly pisses me off.
Plus that there is such a large number of them doesn’t help their case, since the original Godzilla only had a baby at a time and such a large number of baby Zillas just shows the difference between the creatures. If Godzilla had so many babies people, the characters and the audience alike, would feel like it’s the end of the world, here the characters are “scared” the audience… not so much.
“Ah!!!!!! the raptors have escaped”
Also I don’t like the fact that the american army seemingly destroys more of New York trying to destroy Zilla than the monster destroys itself. Although this last opinion might be an exaggeration and is probably debatable I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true because it sure felt like it. And the original Godzilla doesn’t need the help of any army to bring destruction! It alone is enough!
Also the last thing, which has been said before it dies! Because of normal human weapons! What the Hell! The Normal Godzilla Could be harmed sometimes by said weapons but to get rid of it humans (or its different enemies during its multiple movies) got pretty creative to end it with the different plans to end it ranging from using terrible weapons to robots to monsters to monsters with mechanical implants etc… Here while the monster endures many military attacks it dies from its wounds inflicted by several military attacks. Yay!?
So, those were the reasons why the fans and Toho hated the movie of Godzilla 1998. What about the movie itself you know, the story the characters the message…? Well that would be whole other post (which I’ll probably do in the future) but I’ll say this repeating what I said before. The movie isn’t really good but it is watchable, if they had tried to at least make the monster be Godzilla, with its appearance, roar, powers etc… it wouldn’t have been the worst Godzilla Movie even with the rest of the story which has many issues worth addressing like (the ones I included in the question at the beginning of the paragraph).