Godzilla Minus One Director Responds To Infamous 1998 Movie

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Written By Maya Cantina

It’s a good time to be a Godzilla fan. The massive monster was just in a huge hit movie from Japan, and the Western interpretation of the character, while perhaps not hitting quite the same heights, is still going strong through Legendary’s MonsterVerse. This wasn’t always the case however, as Hollywood’s previous attempt at a Godzilla movie was a famous failure, though Godzilla Minus One’s director prefers to focus on what the movie did well.

Speaking with MovieMaker, director Takashi Yamazaki, who has made arguably the best Godzilla movie ever, was asked his thoughts on the West’s attempt to make Godzilla movies. One might expect him to bash 1998’s Godzilla directed by Roland Emmerich. Few fans of the franchise think the movie is very good. Interestingly however, Yamazaki, while he says he understands the criticism, he also calls it a “fun film” and he credits the filmmakers for being the first to render Godzilla digitally. The director said…

The 1998 Godzilla was fairly well put together and a fun film, but I can understand the people who also say this isn’t Godzilla. I think as a Kaiju-horror type of film, it is quite well executed. And to their credit, I think it was the first time Godzilla was rendered in a digital context and methodology, so that was a huge achievement for its time.

We’re so used to hearing people badmouth the 1998 Godzilla that it almost feels strange for somebody to say something good about it. To be sure, nobody is celebrating the plot and the characters here, but Takashi Yamazaki thinks the movie is fun, and works as a kaiju horror movie. And certainly, from a technical standpoint, the movie did make a digital kaiju look impressive.

Still, even Takashi Yamazaki, who sees some positives in the movie, understands why people have trouble with Godzilla. The title character alone was given a significant overhaul to the point that there was essentially no resemblance between it and the classic Godzilla. Beyond that, the kaiju acted very differently than the classic Godzilla, which was the real reason fans have largely disowned the film. 

Godzilla struggled domestically when it came out but earned enough overseas that the film is considered a success. However, it never spawned the franchise that was almost certainly the plan. The movie was a critical flop and while not everybody hates Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, it is consistently ranked among the worst Godzilla movies ever made. We wouldn’t see another theatrical Godzilla movie created by Hollywood until 2014’s Godzilla, which kicked off the MonsterVerse. 

We do have an upcoming MonsterVerse movie in this year’s Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire movie. While it seems unlikely it will end up as good as Godzilla Minus One, it likewise probably won’t be the worst. 

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