February 22, 2020
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Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000
Godzilla 2000
Starring: Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida
Director: Takao Okawara
Rating: ***

This original Japanese sequel in the monster series (not to be confused with the American Godzilla) takes an old-fashioned, toy-in-the-backyard approach towards a more complex idea. The giant lizard is presented as a respectable beast that protects humanity. His enemies are a couple of egocentric humans, who prefer to demolish rather than understand anything alien, as well as a gigantic, rock-structured alien keen on transforming earth's living conditions to suits its own requirements. The alien heads for Godzilla as it emerges from the sea, wrecking havoc on towns and power sources, prompting Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe), the head of the Crisis Control Intelligence Agency to unleash bombs and rockets against it. This strategy is opposed by Yuji Shinoda (Takehiro Murata), leader of the Godzilla Prediction Network, who finds out the secret of the alien's obsession with Godzilla. The beast has amazing regenerative powers—the alien is trying to create a gigantic life-form based on its structure. Katagiri fails to destroy Godzilla with his samurai methods. He is also unable to blast the extra-terrestrial out of the building where it has placed itself. Shinoda establishes the benefits accruing from Godzilla's regenerative capacities, blaming Katagiri's smugness for the disaster. Godzilla, however, takes on the alien in an epic battle reminiscent of Puranic tales. The two entities go at each other atop skyscrapers in Tokyo's busiest district, Godzilla emanating a death ray stronger than atomic power and the alien reacting with its own unknown force. The sky turns orange, blue and purple as the special effects/writer-director team tries to better their counterparts in Hollywood. And they nearly succeed—in true eastern tradition, Godzilla 2000 emerges as a grander picture introducing concepts far more superlative than western imaginings. The execution too deviates from conventional story-telling. Human characters are kept in the background as the film's main protagonists take centrestage. There is a strong moral core as well. But the camera work is amateurish and the script fails to get over a mushy 'sense of wonder' at the theme. The treatment acquires a flat tone in the latter half, the final battle drags on for too long and you almost start missing the style Hollywood brings to large themes—the quirky humour in the middle of a fight, the existential angst incumbent on a hero and the love angle involving a stunning woman.
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