What's the Buzz?
Guide to Summer Films
Godzilla 2000The mean, green, nuclear-fire-breathing-machine
In the 46 years since the big, green galoot sashayed out of Tokyo Bay and laid waste to Raymond Burr's career, Godzilla has starred in 22 films (not counting Hollywood's CGI misfire) and clawed his way into the hearts and minds of filmgoers everywhere. Part of the problem with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's 1998 version of the mythos lay with their insistence on forsaking Toho Studio's traditional "guy in a rubber suit" in favor of a too-perfect look for the creature. Rendered in breathtaking (and costly) computer bits and bytes, the King of All Monsters lost his cheeseball panache and became just another special effect. Anyone with a genuine love of Gojira and the Monster Island menagerie can tell you it's just not the same without a zipper up the back. That said, Toho weighs in this summer with Godzilla 2000 (Aug. 11), a new entry from director Takao Okawara, who previously helmed three Godzilla films including the penultimate Godzilla vs. Destroyah (rumors of Godzilla's death being greatly exaggerated, of course). As for the plot, perhaps the less said the better. What is known (and understood, albeit only tentatively) is that Godzilla is up against a group of aliens who come to earth in a rock-encased UFO, he still has a yen for nuclear power plants, and all of Japan's top scientists are rousingly ineffectual. Pretty average stuff for a guy who's battled King Ghidora, King Kong, and probably King Diamond as well. Advance word is that the newly redesigned Godzilla -- with longer, spikier, purplish dorsals and a flatter, more streamlined noggin -- is a looker, but what fans of the series really want to know is whether or not the mean, green, nuclear-fire-breathing-machine is on humanity's side or a lone lizard this time out. Past series disasters have posited Godzilla as the savior of the world -- here's hoping this time out he just wants to get medieval on our asses.