|Godzilla 2000: Millennium|
|Produced by||Toho Company Ltd.|
|Directed by||Takao Okawara|
|Music by||Takayuki Hattori|
|Alternate Titles||Godzilla 2000|
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (ゴジラ2000 ミレニアム?, Gojira Nisen: Mireniamu) is a 1999 tokusatsu daikaiju eiga produced by Toho Company Ltd. and the twenty third installment in the Godzilla series. The film was directed by Takao Okawara and written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara and Wataru Mimura. Toho released the film in Japan in 1999, a year after the release of TriStar Pictures' American Godzilla film, supposedly in response to poor fan output. TriStar launched the film in the United States in 2000 as Godzilla 2000, the last in the Godzilla series to make a US theatrical run.
This film effectively begins and sets the tone for the Millennium series; it ignores continuity established by any previous films, instead preserving only the original Godzilla and working other appearances into the intervening years.
Godzilla is a literal force of nature to Japan. The Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN) functions independently to study the mutant dinosaur and predict his landfalls. Meanwhile, the scientists of the Crisis Control Institute (CCI) find a 65 million year old structure deep in the Japan Trench. As CCI attempts to raise the object to study its internal power source, it takes off into the sky on its own. Godzilla arrives and battles the Japan Self Defense Forces, now equipped with powerful Full Metal Missiles, but the strange UFO appears, searching for some sort of genetic information that apparently only Godzilla possesses. It fights Godzilla to a standstill, driving the monster underwater, and then lands to replenish its solar power.
Yuji Shinoda, founder of GPN, discovers the secret to Godzilla's regenerative properties (named Regenerator G1), but so has the UFO. It frees itself from the JSDF's attempts to contain it, and heads for Shinjuku. After landing atop City Tower, it begins to drain all the files about Godzilla from Tokyo's master computers. CCI attempts to destroy the UFO using explosive charges, but Shinoda, attempting to find out more about the aliens, is nearly caught in the blast. He survives, and joins the rest of the cast on a rooftop, watching the UFO. Almost in response, the ship broadcasts its message of invasion and a new empire on earth, and Shinoda reveals that the aliens are after Godzilla's DNA so that they may re-form their bodies. The UFO goes on to wreak havoc, after Shinoda and Miyasaka find out that Godzilla's skin cells are very remarkable, with a DNA called "Regenator/Organizer G1" in Katagiri's laboratory. The UFO then tries to drain all of Tokyo's computer data to find information about Godzilla. Katagiri orders the JSDF to use blast cannons to destroy the UFO. Shinoda and his wife almost are destroyed in the building the UFO is one top of draining computer data, but they luckily survive. However, the UFO is alive, and someone tells that Godzilla's entered the bay.
Godzilla arrives and again battles the ship. However, he is subdued by the ship's assault, and it absorbs his DNA, creating an octopus-like body. However, the alien is unable to control Godzilla's DNA and further mutates into a horrible alien monster named Orga. Godzilla recovers and fights the monstrous creature, but Orga eventually gains the upper hand, and drains more of Godzilla's DNA, trying to convert itself into a Godzilla clone. Finally, Orga opens his maw, intending to swallow Godzilla whole, but Godzilla tricks the alien by shoving his head into its throat willingly. While Orga begins to transform, Godzilla destroys it by unleashing his nuclear pulse inside Orga's throat. Godzilla then turns on the Secretary of CCI, Mitsuo Katagiri and kills him. Godzilla then begins rampaging through Tokyo, reminding them not to get in his way and that he has to defend Tokyo.
- Takehiro Murata - Yuji Shinoda
- Naomi Nishida - Yuki Ichinose
- Mayu Suzuki - Io Shinoda
- Hiroshi Abe - Mitsuo Katagiri
- Shiro Sano - Shiro Miyasaka
- Tsutomu Kitagawa - Godzilla
- Makoto Ito - Orga
Godzilla 2000 was produced on a budget of approximately $8,300,000. It opened in Japan on December 11, 1999 and grossed roughly $15,000,000 during its box office run, with approximately 2,000,000 admissions. The film was a moderate box office success, and was Japan's highest-grossing domestic release of the 1999 holiday season.
Tristar, a division of Sony Pictures, picked up Godzilla 2000 for theatrical distribution in North America. It would be the first and only Japanese Godzilla movie since Godzilla 1985 to be released in North American theatres. Mike Schlesinger, who supervised the North American release, said, "It [Godzilla 2000] was such a spectacular success in Japan, we decided it was worth taking a shot, maybe the time was right for Godzilla to come back to theaters." Sony spent approximately $1 million to re-edit and dub the movie, and an additional $10-12 million to market.
Tristar Pictures released Godzilla 2000 in 2,111 North American theatres on August 18, 2000. It grossed $4,407,720 ($2,087 per screen) in its opening weekend, on its way to a $10,037,390 final gross. Future Millennium Godzilla films would be released direct-to-DVD in North America.
Godzilla 2000 was edited in the process of Americanisation. The U.S. version of the film runs 99 minutes - 8 minutes shorter in comparison to the 107-minute Japanese version. Most of these were minor edits done to improve the pacing, and the sound effects and music were also improved and enhanced. The dubbing has a somewhat humorous, tongue-in-cheek tone to it, apparently in homage to Godzilla dubs of the 60s and 70s, with lines such as "Great Caesar's Ghost!", "Bite me!" and "these missiles will go through Godzilla like crap through a goose!". Some fans have criticised the American version of Godzilla 2000 for "camping up" what they perceive as a "serious" movie; however, Toho and Takao Okawara approved all the changes to the film in advance, and various amusing events throughout the story (such as people comically surviving Godzilla's rampage early in the film) make it evident that it wasn't meant to be taken too seriously.
Among the other alterations:
- Some new music and sound effects were added.
- Shortened: the scene where Yuki seeks membership for the Godzilla prediction unit.
- Added: A few more traditional Ifukube themes.
- Shortened: Godzilla's destruction of Tokaimura.
- Orga was given more of a low-pitched screech, whereas in the original it was a higher stock roar. The translation team changed "Organiser G1" to "Regenerator G1", on the basis that the word "Organiser" made no sense within the context it was being used.
- Shortened: the scene where a bewildered taxi driver sees the UFO.
- Deleted: before escaping the building where the aliens are draining the information (just before the building is detonated), Shinoda sees the word "Millennium" on all the computer screens.
- Re-arranged: The scene where Shinoda goes down the elevator shaft while the building explodes.
- In the North American theatrical version, the film ended with the words, "The End?", in very cartoonish lettering. On the DVD commentary, writer Michael Schlesinger and Toho disapproved the idea. "The End?" was moved from later home video and television releases. (However, the out of print Spanish-subtitled VHS of the film still contains it).
The North American release of Godzilla 2000 met with mixed to positive critical reaction. It currently holds a rating of 57% at Rotten Tomatoes among all critics. Among the top critics on the site, it holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 71%.
Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle said the film "taps into a now-rare and innocent sense of wonder," and that "its action scenes are well-conceived." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" grade, saying that Godzilla 2000 "lands on an imaginative fault line somewhere between tackiness and awe." Jay Carr of the Boston Globe called Godzilla 2000 "a ton of fun, and then some." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said "it's great to have the big guy back." James Berardinelli of ReelViews said the film "uses the Godzilla formula effectively" and "represents solid, campy, escapist entertainment." Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide praised the film, saying that "fans won't want to miss this addition to the canon."
Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today said Godzilla 2000 "may be dull, but the familiarity of it all makes it feel ceremonial, a reassuring ritual." David Edelstein of Slate said that he "periodically tranced out," but added that "it's fun to see" and "it still manages to dispel some of the lingering stink of Roland Emmerich's 1998 remake." Stephen Holden of the New York Times wasn't impressed, saying that "only a die-hard fan of the long-running Japanese Godzilla series could love Godzilla 2000." Similarly, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post remarked, "Godzilla, go home."
Among kaiju-related websites, Stomp Tokyo said "there are some pretty impressive special effects," and concluded that "Godzilla 2000 delivers fairly well, if not spectacularly." Toho Kingdom criticized the Japanese version, saying "it's not hard to see why Godzilla 2000 was poorly received in Japan," but added that "the US version ... is infinitely better than its poorly paced Japanese counterpart. In all, the US version makes numerous badly needed cuts from the film to tighten it up."
DVD ReleasesSony Pictures
Released: December 26, 2000
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1)
Anamorphic Sound: English (5.1), English (2.0), French (2.0)
Supplements: Commentary by the U.S. release crew; Biographies; Behind-the-Scenes footage; Liner notes; Theatrical trailers
Region 1 Note: Contains the U.S. release version MPAA Rating: PG for monster violence and mild language.
- This is the first movie where Godzilla returns different and fights a monster.
- This is the last Godzilla film released in America theatrically, at least until the Legendary Pictures reboot.
- This is the only Godzilla film in the Millennium series not released in the 2000's.
- Both writer Hiroshi Kashiwabara and composer Takayuki Hattori previously wrote and composed, respectively, for another Godzilla film where the Monster King combats a Godzilla-like space monster: Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla.
- The true identity of this Godzilla, nicknamed simply "Godzilla 2000" by fans and in video games, has remained a mystery since Godzilla 2000: Millennium was released. Unlike any other Godzilla before it, no explanation for it's existence or behavior is ever discussed in the film.
- This is the first Godzilla movie where Godzilla is visibly green, which is ironic because before this movie, Godzilla has been considered by many people to be green when the black and white movie came out when really he was always charcoal black. If one looks back at the poster designs of all of the older Godzilla movies than this, then one can clearly see that Godzilla has been colored green for each poster.