Godzilla 2000: Millennium (ゴジラ2000 ミレニアム?, Gojira Nisen: Mireniamu) is a 1999 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the twenty-third installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the first in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 11, 1999, and to American theaters on August 18, 2000.
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.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
TriStar picked up Godzilla 2000 for theatrical distribution in North America. 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. The film was released to theaters on August 17, 2000.
Godzilla 2000 was edited in the process of Americanization. The U.S. version of the film runs 99 minutes; 8 minutes shorter than the 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 60's and 70's, 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 criticized 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:
Godzilla 2000: Millennium had a budget of ¥1,000,000,000, or roughly $8,300,000. When the film was released on December 11, 1999 in Japan, it sold 2,000,000 tickets and earned ¥1,650,000,000, or $15,000,000.
The American version, Godzilla 2000, had a budget of $1,000,000. When it was released to 2,111 select theaters on August 18th, 2000, it made $4,407,720 on it opening weekend and went on to make $10,037,390 total.
The North American release of Godzilla 2000 met with mixed to positive critical reaction.
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."
Universal Laser (2000)
Sony Pictures - Japanese & American (2014)
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