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Old 06-02-2013, 05:16 PM   #241
Dennis Nedry Dennis Nedry is offline
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Originally Posted by Visco. View Post
Speaking of disappointing Ridley Scott films, Kingdom of Heaven is terrible IMO. Haven't seen the directors cut though.

I was so excited to see that and I remember walking out of the theater so underwhelmed.
I felt the same way walking out of the theatre... then I saw the director's cut and it blew my mind how much better it was. Ridley Scott's films always seem to be butchered by the studio for some reason or another. Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut is absolutely one of the biggest changes/upgrades, if not THE biggest, to a film that previously sucked.

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Does anyone like this movie? I thought it was terrible as well, but that is all anybody ever says. Someone out there had to have liked it...right?
I dunno. The Agony Booth has a fun recap of the movie, with an introduction that helps pinpoint why this movie disappointed audiences:

Quote:
Unlike the truly awful films made by the Hal Warrens, the Coleman Francises, and the Tony Malanowskis of the world, it's not easy to explain why Godzilla tanked as hard as it did. On the surface, it appears to have everything audiences crave: fast-paced action, terrific stunts, a likeable cast, and fantastic special effects. Sure, the characters were two-dimensional, the plot is full of holes, and the dialogue is often cornball and dopey, but it's not like those things have ever been a problem for big-budget summer blockbusters before. So the reasons this movie fared so poorly are pretty subtle. But first and foremost has got to be the way this movie treated its famous source material.

The original Godzilla was the brainchild of Japanese producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, who in 1954 envisioned a creature to cash on the then-current craze for movies about mutant monsters created by radiation (Them!, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, etc). What he came up with was a 400-foot prehistoric reptillian monster that gets revived by hydrogen bombs and goes on to destroy Tokyo. He called it "Gojira", a combination of the English word "gorilla" and the Japanese word for whale, "kujira". Gojira was produced less than a decade after America dropped nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities, so despite the monster movie trappings, the film contained somber allegory about the threat of nuclear holocaust.

Unfortunately, most of that allegory was lost when an American studio acquired the rights to distribute the film. They renamed the creature "Godzilla", edited Raymond Burr into the film, and released it in this country as Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Nevertheless, it was a runaway hit, and as a result, Toho Studios and Tomoyuki Tanaka released 21 more Godzilla films before Tanaka passed away on April 2, 1997. This was little over a year before our current subject was released, so in some respects, he lucked out.

Tri-Star, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures, acquired the rights to produce an American remake of Godzilla in the 90's, and the concept was kicked around Hollywood for a while until it ended up in the hands of the filmmaking team of producer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich.

Devlin and Emmerich were principally known for big-budget action pictures with lavish special effects like Stargate and Independence Day. Even though both of these films had paper-thin plots and poorly drawn characters, they were both huge hits. People went to these flicks specifically for the thrills and the spectacle, and judging by their respective box office takes, those audiences didn't walk away disappointed.

So an update of Godzilla (showing the big reptile destroying New York instead of Tokyo) seemed like the perfect project for Devlin and Emmerich. Just one problem: As eventually became clear to audiences, neither one of them understood why Godzilla became so popular in the first place. If you watch the DVD, check out the "making of" featurette where Dean Devlin actually has the cojones to say that this is the film Toho Studios would have made if they'd had the special effects technology of the 90's back in the 50's. Of course, Toho immediately proved him wrong the next year when they released Godzilla 2000, which made ample use of computer-generated special effects, but didn't muck with Godzilla at all. We know Godzilla is just a guy in a rubber suit. That's part of his essential charm. And where the Toho Godzilla is full of personality, the Emmerich-Devlin Godzilla has none.

If you don't believe me, listen to fellow Rogue Reviewer Jordan Garren, probably one of the biggest Godzilla enthusiasts I know. In his review of this very movie, he insists on referring to the movie's main creature as "Godzilla", quote-unquote, and I have to agree. It may have the same name and similar origins, but it's not even close to being the same monster.

So, before a frame of this movie was filmed, they had already pretty much lost the hardcore Godzilla fans. So why didn't this movie connect with more casual fans?

First of all, the bulk of the destruction of New York is caused not by Godzilla himself, but by the American military hunting Godzilla. When a moviegoer buys a ticket to a movie called Godzilla, you damn well better believe they want to see Godzilla smashing things up. Sadly, there just isn't enough of that happening in this movie.

Secondly, the characters in this movie are all completely incompetent, especially the military characters. When characters have minor revelations, they're treated like brilliant leaps in logic, even though small children could have made the same deductions. Also, who thought that paying American audiences would want to see their own military portrayed as total boobs? I mean, taking into consideration the presence of a French protagonist, I can almost believe this movie was really targeted towards anti-American French audiences. I don't know how well Godzilla played in Paris, but I imagine it was a huge blockbuster on the level of an old Jerry Lewis film.

And lastly, what probably did this film the most damage was how it so unabashedly swipes ideas from the Jurassic Park series. Godzilla himself, after all, is nothing but an overgrown version of the T. Rex, and there's even a scene late into the movie that feels like a sequence from Jurassic Park has been directly edited in. As a result, the entire movie feels like a retread. And when your primary draw is the spectacle, the last thing you want your audiences to walk away and tell their friends is, "You've seen it done before. And better."
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:29 PM   #242
Steve Steve is offline
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Both are let downs. Spielberg's wife's character in ToD is the single most annoying character in the history of film. Even more so than Jar Jar Binks IMO.
Last Crusade was a welcome return to form and then after years and years of anticipation we get the turd known as KOTCS.
I agree. Willie (Kate Capshaw) is what makes ToD so bad. However, IMO the movie would still be worse than KotCS even if her character wasn't so annoying.
Steve

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Old 06-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #243
sukraj sukraj is offline
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:19 PM   #244
EricJ EricJ is online now
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Unlike the truly awful films made by the Hal Warrens, the Coleman Francises, and the Tony Malanowskis of the world, it's not easy to explain why Godzilla tanked as hard as it did.
"Not easy"?
Far beyond the other sitcom excesses of the script (Mayor Ebert likes candy? "His name's Gojira (boohoo!)"? Jean Reno imitates Elvis?), the one scene that keeps sticking out in my mind is the scene where Harry Shearer doesn't believe there's a Godzilla because he isn't looking at the window when Godzilla walks past.
I remember sitting there in the audience thinking, "What is this, children's theater? Are we all supposed to shout out 'It's behind you!'?"
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:13 PM   #245
Grand Bob Grand Bob is offline
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Does anyone like this movie? I thought it was terrible as well, but that is all anybody ever says. Someone out there had to have liked it...right?
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Originally Posted by Dennis Nedry View Post
I dunno. The Agony Booth has a fun recap of the movie, with an introduction that helps pinpoint why this movie disappointed audiences:
As a big-time (original) Godzilla fan, I was just as perplexed and disappointed with this film as anyone. Additional points could be added to those identified in the Angry Booth review, for example the fact that most of the scenes in the movie are dark, rainy, or dark and rainy, which made the movie even more drab and boring. The review did hit on one major weakness of the film (in my mind), which was the incompetitence of the military. Civil War soldiers could have made quicker and more efficient work on the creature than the laughable modern military as pictured with jets and precision-guided munitions.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:18 AM   #246
msc77 msc77 is offline
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Godzilla (1998)
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