Godzilla (1998 film)

1,163articles on

Redirected from Godzilla (1998)


Godzilla Films                                            Zilla's Film                                            Godzilla Films
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
Godzilla 2000: Millennium
TriStar Kaiju Film
Produced by TriStar Pictures
Music by David Arnold
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Country United States
Alternate Titles Godzilla 1998
American Godzilla
Rating PG-13
Budget $125,000,000
Gross $379,014,294
Designs ShodaiJira

Size Does Matter
— Tagline

GODZILLA (ゴジラ?, Gojira) is a 1998 American tokusatsu kaiju film produced by TriStar Pictures. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Dean Devlin, and starred Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Michael Lerner and Kevin Dunn. The film was released to theaters in the United States on May 19, 1998, and to Japanese theaters on July 11, 1998.

Plot Synopsis

Zilla, the monster of this film
GOJIRA2000File added by GOJIRA2000
Following a nuclear test in French Polynesia, a marine iguana nest is exposed to the fallout. Years later, a Japanese fishing vessel is attacked by a giant creature in the South Pacific ocean, with only one seaman surviving. Traumatized, he is questioned by a mysterious Frenchman in a hospital regarding what he saw, to which he replies "Gojira".

Dr. Niko Tatopoulos, an NRC scientist, is in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine researching the effects of radiation on wildlife, but he is interrupted by the arrival of an official from the U.S. State Department. He is sent to Panama and Jamaica, escorted by the military, to observe a trail of wreckage across land leading to the recovered Japanese fishing trawler with massive claw marks on it. In Jamaica, the Frenchman is also present, observing the scene, and introduces himself as Philippe Roaché, a so-called "insurance agent".

Aboard a military aircraft, Dr. Tatopoulos identifies skin samples he discovered in the shipwreck as belonging to an unknown species. He dismisses the military's theory that the creature is a living dinosaur, instead deducing that he is a mutant created by nuclear testing. The large reptilian creature travels to New York City leaving a path of destruction wherever it goes. The city is evacuated as the military attempts to kill the monster but fails in an initial attempt. Tatopoulos later collects a blood sample and learns that the creature is pregnant; Zilla reproduces asexually and is collecting food not just for himself, but also for his offspring.

Eventually, Dr. Tatopoulos meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Audrey Timmonds, a young news reporter who wants to find a story. While she visits him, she uncovers a classified tape in his provisional military tent which concerns the origins of the monster, and turns it over to the media. She hopes to have her report put on TV in hopes to become famous, but her superior and boss, Charles Caiman, declares the tape as his own discovery. The tape is broadcast on television by the media, dubbing the creature "Godzilla". Dr. Tatopoulos is thrown off the team for his inadvertent carelessness and says goodbye to Audrey.

Tatopoulos is later kidnapped by Roaché, who reveals himself to be an agent of the DGSE, the French foreign intelligence agency. He and his colleagues have been keeping close watch on the events and are planning to cover up their country's role in the creation of Zilla. Suspecting a nest somewhere in the city, they cooperate with Dr. Tatopoulos to trace and destroy him.

Following a chase with Zilla, he dives into the Hudson River to evade the military, where he is attacked by two Ohio Class Nuclear-Powered Subs and a Los Angeles-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine. After colliding with torpedoes the subs fired at him, Zilla sinks. Believing he is finally dead, the authorities celebrate.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tatopoulos and Roaché's team, covertly followed by Timmonds and her cameraman Victor "Animal" Palotti, make their way through underground subway tunnels to Madison Square Garden. There, they find over a hundred eggs. As they attempt to destroy them, the eggs suddenly hatch. Perceiving the human intruders as food due to the fact that they smell like fish, the hatchlings begin attacking. Dr. Tatopoulos, Palotti, Timmonds and Roaché take refuge in the stadium's broadcast booth and send a live news report to alert the military. A prompt response involving an airstrike is initiated as the four escape moments before the arena is bombed.

The adult Zilla, however, emerges from the venue's ruins. Discovering all of his young dead, he chases the group through the streets of Manhattan angrily. In pursuit, Zilla eventually makes his way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Zilla becomes trapped in the steel suspension cables, making him an easy target. After being attacked by military aircraft, he falls to the ground and slowly dies.

Meanwhile, in the Garden's ruins, a lone egg hatches.


Main Article: Gallery:Godzilla (1998 film).

Alternate Titles

  • Godzilla 1998
  • Zilla (Working Title)
  • TriStar's Godzilla
  • American Godzilla
  • Godzilla: Size Does Matter
  • 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", which was the same as Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", but without Robert Plant's vocals, and overdubbed with Puff Daddy), 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 Articles: Godzilla: The Series, Godzilla 2 (Unmade 1998 film sequel).

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 novelization was released for the film, written as a retrospective by Nick Tatopolous. 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 which was known in the screenplay as "Queen Bitch". However these plans for a sequel were ultimately scrapped and Roland Emmerich made The Patriot instead.

Marketing Campaign

The marketing campaign for GODZILLA was multi-pronged in its execution:

Crushed cars were dotted around London as a part of a guerrilla 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 Zilla 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 toy line 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 Zilla with the Taco Bell mascot were produced and aired, including several with the chihuahua trying to catch Zilla in a tiny box, whistling and calling, "Here, lizard, lizard, lizard." When Zilla appears, the chihuahua says, "Uh-oh. I think I need a bigger box."


The history of the 1998 film and its monster has been a rather mixed and negative one. The initial reaction to the 1998 release was mostly a negative one spanning from both movie critics and Godzilla fan base alike. Critically it was blasted for uninspired acting, random plots that don't fit, unnecessary use of rain, inconsistent size of the monster, shoddy special effects (even for its time period), the constant themes and actual scenes it has ripped off from hit film Jurassic Park. TriStar's "Godzilla" heavily borrowed concepts such as the asexual development of eggs. Multiple scenes had the main characters running for their lives from the baby Zillas which look much like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, although the directors greatly state this was not intended.

Raptors from Jurassic Park
Godzilla77File added by Godzilla77
Baby zilla
Baby Zillas in TriStar's GODZILLA
Godzilla77File added by Godzilla77
There were scenes that were frame by frame the same as Jurassic Park, like the velociraptor shadow scene, jump attack sequence or the door opening sequence. At the end of the film when Zilla was killed by the F-18 Hornets, audiences were confused as to whether or not they should have felt sorry for the creature or cheer much like New York citizens and military celebrated to Zilla's demise. In the original, it had a sad ending for both the monster and martyr who gave himself up to destroy Godzilla and the Oxygen Destroyer. The Godzilla fanbase criticized the film for lacking Godzilla's theme, personality and key characteristics.

Rhedosaurus from The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
Lord KaijuFile added by Lord Kaiju
Zilla x
Zilla in TriStar's GODZILLA
Darthpineapple401File added by Darthpineapple401
For instance, Zilla was redesigned for this film, it was more like the Rhedosaurus from The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms as opposed to the real Godzilla's traditional design, though the designers greatly insist that this was not an intention. The origin of the monster is also changed, from being a mutant fictional dinosaur to an iguana mutated by nuclear fallout from a French nuclear test. This was an attempt by the directors to make the creature more realistic and less corny.

The most heavy criticism, though, came from the creature's lack of similarities and personality to the original monster. Zilla lacked Godzilla's trademark atomic breath, as well as his strength and durability, testified by his easy destruction at the end by the F-18's at the Brooklyn Bridge. Dean Devlin tacked in a last minute power breath even though he had no plans on adding any powers what so ever. It also lacked the on screen omnipotent presence that the original Godzilla possessed. There was a feeling of dread with the original while Tri-Star's version was just a large animal wandering the streets/subways of Manhattan. Many compared it as removing Spider-Man's webbing or Superman's invulnerability and flight. For these reasons, fans refused to equal the two monsters and differentiated by naming the creature "Notzilla", "TriStarZilla", "Deanzilla" or "Patzilla" (because of its creators, Dean Devlin and Patrick Tatopoulos), and the film has been nicknamed "G.I.N.O." (an acronym for "Godzilla In Name Only"). Ryuhei Kitamura, the director of Godzilla: Final Wars, as well as Shogo Tomiyama, the man in charge of the Godzilla franchise at that time, finally responded by officially renaming the creature "Zilla", accusing TriStar of having removed the "God" from "Godzilla".[1]

Financially, the movie did well in its initial release ($55 million) but word of mouth from both fans and critics caused the films profits to drop 40% after the first week. Domestically it made $136 million and drew in another $242 million overseas. The movie's budget was $130 million in both production and advertising costs. It was not a complete bust but it was not the blockbuster the movie studio was looking for. Sony and Toho had a contract that there was supposed to be a trilogy of Godzilla movies within 5 years of the first film. During that time Sony released Godzilla 2000 in US theaters, in part because a Japanese Godzilla film would be seen as a break from the Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich version. Because of the reaction, a lack of retailer interest and finances brought in by the first film, Sony decided not to make another Godzilla film and their contract with the Godzilla franchise expired May of 2003.

Box Office

Although 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.


This is a list of things in the film 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.
  • It would have been impossible for Zilla to have 200 eggs at the same time, because, taking into consideration their size in comparison to humans and Zilla's size, Zilla would need to have an enormous bulge showing an egg sac with all of those eggs, or at the very least have a huge decrease in hunger because of the hundreds of meters the eggs are occupying inside Zilla have to make Zilla lose appetite.
    • On that note, iguanas do not lay anywhere near 200 eggs at one time. They lay, on average, about 50.
  • 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.
    • More inaccuracies about Zilla being a marine iguana include that marine iguanas do not eat fish, they are not bipedal, and that they use their tails for defensive purposes (while Zilla used his mouth). While on the topic of Zilla's mouth, Zilla can completely destroy a helicopter with ease by biting it swiftly but cannot make any significant damage to a taxi that has been in his mouth for several seconds.
  • 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 sidewinders are Air-to-air missile that wouldn't 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.
  • In Zilla's first attack on New York, shortly after Zilla gets on a building to roar after destroying the Chrysler Building, Zilla disappears without trace and without anyone seeing or hearing him go away. This is physically impossible, considering Zilla's size and weight, plus the loud sounds he produces by walking.
  • Marine Iguanas are mainly found by beaches and spend most of their time in the water. However, Zilla rarely goes in the water.


  • In the film the characters of the mayor (Lerner) and his adviser 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 F-18s attack Madison Square Garden they use AGM-84 Harpoon which is used to attack ships not ground targets. 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.
  • An earlier script for an American Godzilla film was written by Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott and was going to be directed by Jan De Bont. A teaser trailer for this was made in Japan in 1994, but due to budget differences the script was dropped and Roland Emmerich was brought in. In the end, the original 1994 script's estimated budget which caused it to be dropped was a couple of million dollars under this film's budget.
  • The critical failure of this movie completely ruined Toho's plans. Originally, the plan was to have the Japanese Godzilla die in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, allow the American films to run for a few years, then resume production of Godzilla films in 2005.
  • After massive fan backlash though, even Haruo Nakajima walked out of the film's Japanese premiere, Toho retaliated by bringing the true Godzilla out of retirement early and releasing Godzilla 2000 in 1999 (2000 in America).

External Links


This is a list of references for Godzilla (1998 film). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. The article that shows that Ryuhei did rename Zilla (Look under the "Monster Alert!" section)
Kaiju Movies
Godzilla Films Godzilla (1954 film)/Godzilla, King of the Monsters!Godzilla Raids AgainKing Kong vs. GodzillaMothra vs. GodzillaGhidorah, the Three-Headed MonsterInvasion of Astro-MonsterEbirah, Horror of the DeepSon of GodzillaDestroy All MonstersAll Monsters AttackGodzilla vs. HedorahGodzilla vs. GiganGodzilla vs. MegalonGodzilla vs. MechaGodzillaTerror of MechaGodzillaThe Return of GodzillaGodzilla vs. BiollanteGodzilla vs. King GhidorahGodzilla vs. MothraGodzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzillaGodzilla vs. DestoroyahGodzilla 2000: MillenniumGodzilla vs. MegaguirusGodzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out AttackGodzilla Against MechaGodzillaGodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.Godzilla: Final WarsGodzilla (American 2014 film)
Gamera Films GameraGamera vs. BarugonGamera vs. GyaosGamera vs. VirasGamera vs. GuironGamera vs. JigerGamera vs. ZigraGamera: Super MonsterGamera: Guardian of the UniverseGamera 2: Advent of LegionGamera 3: Awakening of IrysGamera: The Brave
Mothra Films MothraRebirth of MothraRebirth of Mothra IIRebirth of Mothra III
Miscellaneous Films GODZILLAKing Kong (1933 film)Japanese King KongKing Kong Appears in EdoSon Of KongThe Beast From 20,000 FathomsRodanThe MysteriansVaran the UnbelievableH-ManGorathAtragonMatangoDogoraFrankenstein vs. BaragonWar of the GargantuasKing Kong EscapesSpace AmoebaDaigoro vs. GoliathThe X From Outer SpaceKing Kong (1976 film)King Kong LivesYamato TakeruKing Kong (2005 film)CloverfieldMonsters


Do you like "GODZILLA"?

This poll was created on August 16, 2013, and so far 248 people voted.
Era Icon - Toho
Era Icon - Tri-Star
Era Icon - Heisei
Era Icon - Film
Era Icon - Zilla 1998
Era Icon - Zilla
Era Icon - Baby Zilla
Era Icon - Zilla Junior

Start a Discussion Discussions about Godzilla (1998 film)

  • Naming Zilla's origin location

    14 messages
    • I have no idea...
    • I mean it is like The Lost world by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are dinosaurs and prehistoric life living there but lived on differ...
  • The Zilla Name Change

    455 messages
    • Uhh..... you forgot something, how do you make the red colors Titanollante?
    • Godzilla2014andnext wrote:Uhh..... you forgot something, how do you make the red colors Titanollante? {{Redfont|Type the text here}}
Advertisement | Your ad here

Other Wikia Wikis

Random Wiki