Despite having bad fan reactions, including a disappreciation of the orgin story or the physical differences between the Japanese Godzilla, Godzilla became a box-office success.
Tagline: Size Does Matter.
PlotDuring a stormy night of fishing, a Japanese fishing ship attacked by an unknown creature. The army is sent to invenstigate and Dr. Nick Tatopolous is called to help figure out what is going on. Dr. Tatopolous concludes that the creature is a mutated iguana and its heading for New York City. The monster rampages through New York with the army trying to kill it with no success. Dr. Tatopolous and a group of French agents discover some of the creatures and when they hatch the babies chase the scientist and agents around until they kill them in an explosion. After killing the babies the creature chases them and is killed by missiles. One of the eggs survives.
- Godzilla 1998
- Zilla (working title)
- Tristar Godzilla
- G.I.N.O. (Godzilla In Name Only)
The film's soundtrack featured songs by such artists as Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page ("Come with Me"), Jamiroquai ("Deeper Underground"), Rage Against the Machine ("No Shelter"), Foo Fighters ("A320"), Ben Folds Five ("Air"), and Green Day ("Brain Stew (Remix)" ). The David Bowie song "Heroes", covered by the Wallflowers, can be clearly heard in the background during a restaurant scene early in the movie. David Arnold's orchestral score provided the music for the rest of the movie, and roughly four minutes of it is included on the album.
Sequels and Spin-Offs
Main article: Godzilla: the Series
The film spawned an animated series which continued the storyline of the movie. In this series, Nick Tatapolous accidentally discovers the egg that survived the destruction of the nest. The creature hatches and imprints on him as its parent. Subsequently, Nick and a group of friends form an elite research team, investigating strange occurrences and defending human kind from numerous other monsters.
A novelisation was released for the film, written as a retrospective by Nick Tatapolous. Nick always refers to the monster as Gojira in the text.
A sequel to the film was planned, and would have involved Godzilla battling a mutant insect creature. However these plans for a sequel were ultimately scrapped and Roland Emmerich made The Patriot instead.
The marketing campaign for Godzilla was multi-pronged in its execution:
Crushed cars were dotted around London as a part of a guerilla advertising campaign. In the month or so before its release, ads on street corners made references to Godzilla's size in comparison to whatever medium of advertising the advertisement was on. Examples: "His foot is bigger than this bus", "His eye is bigger than this billboard", etc. Bits and pieces of different body parts of Godzilla were shown on TV commercials and posters, but never the entire body; this was to add a bit of mystery as to the design of the creature, ideally prompting people to see the film because that was the only way to see the whole creature. The same style of advertising is used for Steven Spielberg's adaption of War of the Worlds, where the alien attackers were rarely seen in advertisements and also for the movie Transformers where the Transformers are not fully seen. Unfortunately, the toyline was released before the film, and spoiled everything. Taco Bell had tie-ins such as cups and toys that promoted the film. The Taco Bell chihuahua was also at the height of its popularity in Taco Bell's television commercials. During the summer of 1998, several commercials pairing Godzilla with the Taco Bell mascot were produced and aired, including several with the chihuahua trying to catch Godzilla in a tiny box, whistling and calling, "Here, lizard, lizard, lizard." When Godzilla appears, the chihuahua says, "Uh-oh. I think I need a bigger box."
Box officeAlthough film received mostly negative reviews from critics (26% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 58 reviews), Godzilla grossed $136,314,294 domestically and $379,014,294 worldwide, bringing back its $125 million budget.
Errors that are scientifically inaccurate:
- It would have been impossible for the Brooklyn Bridge to sustain Zilla's weight. It would have collapsed the moment he set foot on it.
- Iguanas don't lay 200 eggs, they lay around 50.
- Iguanas don't eat fish, they eat plants, algae and flies. Other reptiles, however, do eat fish.
- Iguanas crawl on all fours; they aren't bipedal. Also, they don't have T-Rex claws.
- Iguanas use their tails for defensive purposes, Zilla used his mouth.
- The species that Zilla originated from, marine iguana, is only found in the Galápagos Islands, they do not exist in French Polynesia, the place where Zilla was mutated.
- In the film the characters of the mayor (Lerner) and his advisor are clearly caricatures of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Reportedly, the less-than-flattering portrayal was because both had given negative reviews of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's earlier film, Stargate. When the actual Siskel and Ebert reviewed Emmerich's Godzilla on their show, it received two thumbs down and Siskel commented on being spoofed in the film, saying it was "petty." Barney from Barney & Friends can be seen in a T.V set.
- The Japanese freighter attacked and destroyed by Zilla in the opening of the film is named Kobayashi Maru, in homage to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The music that plays on an elevator in a scene with Matthew Broderick is "Danke Schoen", which Broderick lip-synchs in a memorable scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
- The first sequence of the AH64-Apache gunships chasing after Zilla through the streets references both Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back with the line, "Echo 4 to Echo Base", and Star Wars with "He's right on my tail! I can't shake him!" Both lines were spoken by Luke Skywalker.
- Matthew Broderick's character's last name is "Tatopoulos" and it may be a reference to Godzilla's designer and supervisor is Patrick Tatopoulos.
- The film is dedicated to Tomoyuki Tanaka, who produced all of the original Godzilla movies and died only a month before this film began actual production.
- Dean Devlin maintains that the tagline for this movie, "Size Does Matter", was meant simply to differentiate the movie from Jurassic Park, hence the original "museum" trailer, but that the advertisers for the studio took it too far with their overzealous campaign (e.g. "His foot is as long as this bus"). The ads became the biggest focus of the backlash against the movie, especially considering that size was what ultimately ended up killing the monster.
- Three voice actors from the comedy series The Simpsons appear in the film: Harry Shearer, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria.
- The film was spoofed in the stop-motion show Robot Chicken from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. In the segment, producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich are given a chance to make a sequel, or rather a "remake of a remake"; they use the money to have the baby Zillas perform an ice skating number in a rink. Later, they congratulate themselves on making "another giant piece of crap."
- When the Apaches are attacking Zilla in the city they say they are going to fire AIM-9 Sidewinders at it, but in real life sidwinders are Air-to-air missile that wouldnt have any effect on it and when they use their guns on Zilla they are shown to be next to the cockpit which is the wrong place on the design. The gun is mounted under the nose of the aircraft.
- When the F-18s attack Madison Square Garden they use AGM-84 Harpoon which is used to attack ships not ground targets. **Correction** The AGM-84E Harpoon/SLAM [Stand-Off Land Attack Missile] Block 1E strikes high value land targets and can be carried by the F/A 18. SLAM became operational with the U.S. Navy in 1990.
Though Zilla has no references in any cartoons (aside from the spin-off cartoon show), He has been referenced in the following Toho movies.
Godzilla 2000 - In the US Release, several of Zilla's roars were used in conjunction with Godzilla's new roars.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack - Early in the film, people are discussing the history of Godzilla, and someone mentions that in 1998, Godzilla attacked New York. The Americans thought it was Godzilla, but the Japanese rightfully claim that it was an all together different monster.
Godzilla: Final Wars - Zilla makes a full appearance in Final Wars, attacking Sydney, Australia. The Actual Godzilla shows up and fights Zilla. Godzilla attacks him with his atomic breath, but Zilla dodges by jumping in the air. Godzilla counters by striking Zilla with his tail, sending Zilla into the Sydney Opera House and giving Godzilla a chance to use his atomic breath, which kills Zilla. The fight was the shortest in Godzilla history and one of the most famous since many fans enjoyed seeing Godzilla fight Zilla.
- Barry's Temple of Godzilla
- Toho Kingdom
- Godzilla Stomp
- The Godzilla Shrine
- Godzilla at the Internet Movie Database
- the agony booth : GODZILLA Recap
- The 1998 Taco Bell commercial used to promote the film.
- A recent Doritos commercial featuring the creature
- Godzilla vs. The Gryphon (the original Godzilla script)
- Godzilla 2