When a freighter is viciously attacked in the Pacific Ocean, a team of experts -- including biologist Niko Tatopoulos and scientists Elsie Chapman and Mendel Craven -- concludes that an oversized reptile is the culprit. Before long, the giant lizard is loose in Manhattan, destroying everything within its reach. The team chases the monster to Madison Square Garden, where a brutal battle ensues.
***HERE THERE BE SPOILERS*** This version of Godzilla is a difficult one to give a simple overall rating. Honestly, if Hollywood had just made this into a generic monster movie, kind of the way they did with Cloverfield, it would have easily been an above average movie, possibly even breaking into 4 star territory. The acting is above average (including the must-have flavor of the month, Jean Reno), the F/X are excellent for 1998 and the plot actually makes sense. Nevertheless, the failure for this movie is that it was made by people not familiar with the franchise and/or what Godzilla means to his fanbase. Godzilla is to the people of Japan what Batman and Superman are to Americans, what Dr. Who and James Bond are to the British and what Shaft and the Black Panther are to the Black Community. The demotion of Godzilla to that of nothing more than an over-sized animal working wholly upon instinct instead of the more humanistic level of intelligence that we in the fandom have come to know and expect was a slap in the face. Furthermore, the final scene where Godzilla is killed (a blasphemy only seen two other times in his 60 year history (Gojira (1954) and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), the later being the planned end to the franchise in its entirety) by only three F/18s and a total of 6 missiles when entire armies have done nothing more than irritate the King of Monsters was beyond belief. For those not familiar with Godzilla's accomplishments and reputation, imagine the outrage that would come from the respective communities if James Bond was taken out by a mall cop or Superman was killed by 3 six-year-old brats with baseball bats. Now you understand why Japanese movie-goers were storming the box-offices DEMANDING a full refund for this insult and why Toho quickly resurrected their dearly departed Kaiju less than one year later for probably one of the best movies in the entire franchise, Godzilla 1999 (Godzilla 2000 here in the United States). All in all, as a monster movie, Godzilla gets 3.75 stars. However, for a Godzilla movie, it gets a 1 star rating. I'll cut the difference and meet them somewhere around the middle with a 2.5 star final score.