[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/godzilla-1998-movie-poster-5_4768.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"We need bigger guns!" [[CoversAlwaysLie (just not quite as big as this poster implies.)]]]]

->''"Size Does Matter"''

''Godzilla'' (''[[NamesTheSame Gojira]]'') is a [[TheNineties 1998]] American [[InNameOnly attempt]] at a [[TheRemake remake]] film of [[Film/{{Gojira}} the Japanese film of the same name]] and the first feature-length ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' film to be made by an American team. It was co-written and directed by Creator/RolandEmmerich, director of ''Film/IndependenceDay'' and ''Film/{{Stargate}}'', and starred Creator/MatthewBroderick, JeanReno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria and Kevin Dunn. The film spawned an animated sequel called ''GodzillaTheSeries'', and the film's version of Godzilla was later renamed "Zilla" by Toho and [[CurbStompBattle pitted against]] the Japanese Godzilla in ''Film/GodzillaFinalWars''. The film was released on May 20, 1998, by Creator/TriStarPictures.

The film follows the attacks of the titular creature on Manhattan, following his apparent creation via [[ILoveNuclearPower radioactive fallout]] from atomic bomb testing decades before. The film follows the attacks, beginning with the off-shore attack of a Japanese fishing vessel and culminating in a confrontation of Godzilla and the American military in the Big Apple. As all this is happening, an American scientist, his IntrepidReporter love interest and their friends team up with French secret agents to examine the creature's behavior more closely and find a way to keep it from bringing even greater disaster upon mankind.

For the original Japanese film, see ''Film/{{Gojira}}'' (along with the American re-edit, ''Film/GodzillaKingOfTheMonsters'', and the Italian re-edit, ''Film/{{Cozzilla}}''). For the 1984 direct sequel, see ''Film/TheReturnOfGodzilla''. For the second American-made OneWordTitle ''Godzilla'' film, see ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}''.

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!!Tropes associated with this work:

* AcrophobicBird: The helicopter pilots seem to always stay at mouth-level of the monster they're attacking, despite the fact that Apaches can fly as high as 20,000 feet above sea level, meaning there was no reason for them to be flying that low to begin with.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The [[GodzillaTheSeries resulting animated series]], considered by many the best thing to come of the movie.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: In the final parts of the film, Zilla chases the protagonists on the Brooklyn Bridge, by being literally ''on'' the bridge when it should've collapse because of his weight, as his feet covers both lanes of the bridge. As he's shot down and collapses, the bridge still doesn't collapse itself. Kinda defeats the purpose of making the film "realistic".
* {{Badass}}: Phillipe Roache.
** BadassDriver: As the cab chase at the end proves.
* BadToTheLastDrop: The lead French investigator finds the New York coffee (the flavor? French Roast) his assistant gives him to be awful. [[MustHaveCaffeine He still drinks it.]]
* BadVibrations: Whenever Zilla approaches for the first half of the film.
* BigApplesauce: If Godzilla usually [[TheTokyoFireball went after Tokyo]], the western equivalent ''had'' to attack New York City. (Also marking the second - and not [[TheDayAfterTomorrow the last]] - time Roland Emmerich wrecked havoc in the Big Apple.)
* BlindedByTheLight: The cab's high-beams are used to make Godzilla flinch away from the tunnel mouth.
* BreathWeapon: Played with. While the "realistic" Godzilla can't actually exhale radiation, it can roar with such force that it sends parked cars flying from the shock wave. In one case, this causes their [[EveryCarIsAPinto gas tanks to explode]] in a dragonish blast of flame.
* CaptainObvious: "That's a lot of fish!"
* CarFu: When JeanReno gets behind the wheel of a taxi, shit gets ''mad real''.
* CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys: Averted. The [=DGSE=] operatives that work with the protagonists are very competent, [[CuttingTheKnot knot-cutting]], [[CombatPragmatist pragmatic]] and professional soldiers.
** [[RedshirtArmy Who are all killed horribly by baby Godzillas!]]
*** And yet they're ''still'' more competent than the US military, who arguably cause more damage to Manhattan than Godzilla does!
* ChekhovsGun: Nick notices that Zilla seems to have a bit of an aversion to bright lights after using his camera when Zilla finally shows up for the fish, the flash causing the big guy (or rather big girl, in this movie) to flinch. [[spoiler:Nick has Philippe use the taxi's high beams to make Zilla flinch in order to get out of Park Avenue Tunnel in the climax.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: Rather than dig to get to the radiated worms in Chernobyl, Nick used some sort of electrical system that draws them to surface. The same technique is used to draw Zilla out with fish as bait.
* ColorWash: The flashbacks that open the film are yellow.
* DemotedToExtra: The film is mostly about Nick and Audrey's relationship, the life of a French guy, and ''Animal'' Palotti's job, with occasionally a giant lizard thrown in.
* DrivingStick: [[{{Irony}} American Nick telling French Philippe]] that the Army Hummer isn't in gear when trying to sneak into the subway system. Especially since the Hummer has an automatic transmission.
* ElevatorEscape
* EpicFail: The US Army ''blowing up the Chrysler building'' with two missiles meant for 'Zilla is an excellent example. Justified[[note]]heat-seekers don't work well on lizards[[/note]] ''and'' Lampshaded.
-->'''Pilot:''' Ahhhh... negative impact. [[{{Understatement}} That is negative impact.]]\\
'''Mayer:''' 'Negative impact?' That's the goddamn Chrysler building!
* {{Expy}}: Harry Shearer's news reporter character, Charlie Caiman, has shades of a live-action [[TheSimpsons Kent Brockman]].
** And let's not forget [[SiskelAndEbert Mayor Ebert and his aide, Gene.]]
* FakeAmerican: In-Universe. Philippe briefly does an American accent which he admits is an impersonation of ElvisPresley.
* FrankWelker: Guess what he voiced...
* FreeWheel: Used a ''lot''.
* GiantEqualsInvincible: [[RealityEnsues Nope]].
* GiantFootOfStomping: Used in the early teaser trailer, where Godzilla steps on a museum's T. Rex skeleton in the middle of a kids' tour. Meant as a (typically nineties) [[TakeThat wholly unnecessary potshot]] at ''Franchise/JurassicPark'', but really just comes off as kinda [[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus Python-esque]].
** Happens in the film when a cab is crushed.
** Subverted with Animal, who is ''almost'' crushed but survives because he's standing between where two of Zilla's toes come down.
* GiganticAdultsTinyBabies: Godzilla's offspring are small enough to chase humans inside buildings, hence ''much'' smaller than their parent.
* GonnaNeedMoreX: "We need bigger guns."
* GulliverTieDown: Luring Godzilla onto the Brooklyn Bridge gets the creature tangled in the suspension cables.
* HandshakeRefusal:
** Niko Tatopoulous refuses to shake Mendel Craven's hand after he just sneezed into it.
** And it happens again in the [[ContinuityNod first episode]] of ''WesternAnimation/GodzillaTheSeries''.
* HeartbeatSoundtrack: Used to establish that Godzilla really is dead at the end.
* HelicopterFlyswatter: With military helicopters.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Subverted by Roache, who says he could use a ''coffee'' instead of alcohol.
* InNameOnly: The monster was nicknamed "GINO" ("Godzilla In Name Only") by Godzilla fans. Toho itself calls him Zilla (see TakeThat, below).
* ItCanThink: When Godzilla is tailed by three helicopters, he successfully managed to fool them into thinking he is hiding in a skyscraper, cue him bursting from the building behind them and initiating CurbStompBattle. The final helicopter is destroyed when Godzilla crouches low to prevent being seen by it before devouring said helicopter whole.
** When the protagonists are fleeing from Godzilla, he moves ahead of them and takes out the bridge.
* {{Jerkass}}: Charlie Caiman, who propositions Audrey despite being married, and strings her along with hopes of becoming a reporter while making her do all his work.
* LampshadeHanging: One of the movie's few truly hilarious moments involves a gag pointing out that the beast should be named "Gojira", but Americans got it wrong.
* MamaBear: Zilla is both a MamaBear and a PapaWolf.
* MeaningfulName: A "caiman" is a crocodile-like reptile. See {{Jerkass}} above. Roache (pronounced "Rowsh") is a sneaky guy who pops up where he's not wanted and engages in shady activities, befitting one military guy's calling him "Roach".
* MerchandiseDriven: All the tie-in merchandise was designed and ready for assembly before a scriptwriter was hired.
* MissedHimByThatMuch: The Jerkass news anchor twice misses seeing Godzilla walk past the station windows because he's too busy complaining on the phone that he doesn't have a good story to cover. One of the army guys overlooks Godzilla in the tunnels because he failed to recognize that the "rocks" in front of him were an eyelid; it opens right behind him and moves after he's turned away.
* MisterSeahorse: [[spoiler:Zilla turns out to be a hermaphrodite, leading to...]] [[note]]Which in [[RealityIsUnrealistic real life]] is known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthogenesis parthogenesis]].[[/note]]
* MonsterIsAMommy: [[spoiler:...about halfway through the film, Nick finds out Zilla had changed gender and laid eggs. If any one of them get out, they'll start a new disaster. It turns out one DID survive, setting up the plot of WesternAnimation/GodzillaTheSeries]].
* MonumentalDamage: Naturally it's often [=NYC=]'s most-recognizable landmarks that get trashed, either by Godzilla (the [=MetLife=] building, the Brooklyn Bridge) or by the forces pursuing him and his offspring (the Chrysler Building, Madison Square Garden).
* NewYorkSubway: Zilla burrows into here to make it its new home. [[spoiler:Turns out, it did this to get to Madison Square Garden to make it her nesting grounds.]]
* NoPronunciationGuide: Dr. Niko Tatopoulos, [[{{Tuckerization}} who was named for]] Patrick Tatopoulos, who worked special effects on the film and [[TruthInTelevision has the same problem]].
* {{Novelization}}: By Stephen Molstad, who collaborated with Dean Devlin and Creator/RolandEmmerich on their novelizations for ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' and ''Film/IndependenceDay'', as well as writing the ''[=ID4=]'' prequel novel ''Silent Zone''. An audiobook of the novel, read by Doug Savant, who plays Sgt. O'Neal in the film, was also made.
* ANuclearError: The opening stock footage of a nuclear test isn't French footage but American test footage out of the Bikini Atoll.
* ObscuredSpecialEffects: Most of Godzilla's scenes take place at night and/or in the rain to cover up the ConspicuousCG.
* OhCrap: Nick initially thinks that Godzilla laid a small number of eggs. Someone then switches on Madison Square Garden's lights, and shit gets real quick...
--> '''Phillipe''': [[ExplosiveBreeder (as the rows upon rows of eggs are revealed)]] [[DeadpanSnarker Start counting.]]
** After Godzilla looks up from the pile of dead baby Godzillas to Nick, Phillipe, Audrey, and Animal and [[PapaWolf realizes that they are responsible]] [[MamaBear for the deaths of its children.]]
-->'''Nick''': (in obvious [[BringMyBrownPants pants-crapping terror]]) He looks angry...
* OminousCrack: The pavement develops a long, spreading crack that runs right under Tatopolous's feet, just before Zilla busts up out of the sewer tunnels in a shower of rubble.
* RampJump: The taxi runs over one of Godzilla's toes, which serves as a ramp and sends it flying.
* RaptorAttack: Zilla's offspring turns the last half of the film into a fusion between Film/JurassicPark and Film/{{Aliens}}, with Nick and Philippe's team fighting the baby Zillas, which act ''very'' closely to Film/JurassicPark's velociraptors.
* TheRemake: Of the Godzilla film series, natch.
* RunningGag: All Philippe wanted was a decent cup of coffee.
** And on Animal's side, Lucy's gonna kill him.
* SceneryGorn: Taken to some frankly awesome levels - Godzilla jumps through the MetLife building off-screen at one point, leaving a structurally-impossible 'Zilla-shaped hole in the middle.
* ScullyBox: Alluded to but not used. When Charlie Caiman is about to go live with his co-anchor, a woman who has a good six inches on him, he complains about needing something to match her height. He has to settle for hovering above his chair uncomfortably.
* SensorSuspense: Where the submarine is tracking Godzilla approaching them at a high speed.
* SequelHook: Didn't get a sequel, but continued in the animated series.
* TheStinger: The end has the [[spoiler:hatching of the last egg, leading into the [[GodzillaTheSeries animated series]]]].
* SuperPersistentPredator: The hatchlings pursue humans even when there are still fish lying around waiting to be eaten. Averted with Godzilla itself, as the one behavioral limitation placed on Tristar's version by the trademark-holders was that they couldn't show the Big Guy actually ''eating'' anyone: when it does start chasing the cab, it's because it's furious at the destruction of its offspring, not hungry.
* SuspiciouslyStealthyPredator: Somehow 'Zilla's pursuers manage to lose track of a critter the size of an aircraft carrier on the streets of Manhattan. They soon enough discover that it has been using the City's subway systems to burrow around Manhattan Island.
* StrawCritic: Mayor Ebert and his bumbling assistant Gene, a TakeThatCritics at Series/SiskelAndEbert, who had [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19980526/REVIEWS/805260301/1023 this]] to say:
-->'''Creator/RogerEbert:''' "Now that I've inspired a character in a Godzilla movie, all I really still desire is for several Ingmar Bergman characters to sit in a circle and read my reviews to one another in hushed tones."
-->'''Gene Siskel:''' "If you're going to go to the trouble of putting us in a monster movie, why don't you at least take advantage of having the monster eat or squish us?"
* TakeThat:
** One of the movie's best moments, however, is to its ''own title''; a minor plot point is that the Japanese fishermen who first see the beast call it "Gojira". Footage of this eventually gets out to a certain smarmy reporter, who proceeds to flense it into "Godzilla". Other characters actually call him (or the TV broadcast of him, at least) [[LampshadeHanging out on this]].
** The movie had a quick shot at Jurassic Park, with a major shot of Godzilla's foot going through the ceiling of a museum and stomping a T-Rex statue flat, conveying how much bigger Zilla is than the prehistoric monster. Amusingly, the film was itself (especially their version of the titular monster) was the subject of several {{TakeThat}}s in later Kaiju films.
* TakeThatCritics: In retaliation for giving ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' and ''Film/IndependenceDay'' negative reviews, director Creator/RolandEmmerich had NoCelebritiesWereHarmed versions of Creator/RogerEbert and Creator/GeneSiskel as the Mayor of New York and his aide (respectively). The bizarre thing is, nothing remotely bad happens to either of them (aside from having their city destroyed) and their only real character fault was incompetence (given this is their first monster attack, it's understandable). Both were considerably perplexed by this, with Siskel wondering that if Emmerich was going to go through the trouble of finding lookalikes, why not at least have Zilla squash them? (Also, the extra in the car that is squished early in the film was intended to be a representation of J.D. Lees, editor of ''G-Fan Magazine''.)
* TrulySingleParent: In this movie, Godzilla can fertilize itself, like some species of reptiles can.
* {{Tsundere}}: A non-Japanese Type A example with Lucy (ironically enough), who henpecks her husband to no end. Near the end of the monster's defeat, she sees Animal in the news and says in a rather loving way, "[[RunningGag I'm going to kill him]]!"
* VoodooShark: The reason behind the horizontal, raptor-like design for the monster was in order to make it more "realistic." We'll ignore the improbability of such a lanky, precarious and front-heavy design being better suited for giant size than the heavy, pillar-legged, mountain-shaped original. They decided to continue making it more realistic by making it a mutated iguana instead of a dinosaur, thereby completely negating the entire point behind the raptor-shape in the first place. And the SquareCubeLaw is being completely ignored either way.
* TheWormGuy: The TropeNamer.
* {{Wormsign}}: When Godzilla arrives from the ocean, the pier splits most satisfyingly.