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Characters / Godzilla (1998)

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Character page for the 1998 Godzilla film. For the cartoon series, see Godzilla: The Series.

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    Gojira / Godzilla
Voiced By: Frank Welker and Gary A. Heckler (film)
Portrayed By: Kurt Carley

An iguana who was heavily mutated by fallout from early atomic bomb tests, Godzilla grew into a gargantuan, vaguely theropodian reptile that sunk a number of fishing ships in pursuit of the fish upon which it fed before somehow finding its way to New York, where it began terrorizing the city in its efforts to build a nest — the climax of its mutations was asexuality, enabling it to lay hundreds of eggs that would hatch into a veritable army of giant lizards. Unlike conventional kaiju, though, its sheer size, cunning, agility and ability to use the terrain to its advantage were the only protection it had, and it was brought down by conventional missiles once it was lured from hiding and entangled so that it couldn't flee.

  • Action Girl: Despite being referred to as male, it's safe to assume that this Godzilla is most likely female
  • Adaptational Nationality: Technically French, in that he was born from the French Polynesian islands despite being called an American Godzilla.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • This is easily the weakest incarnation of Godzilla to date, lacking the ability to shoot atomic breath or withstand assault from the military. This was actually an intentional decision to make her seem more like a giant frightened animal rather than an invincible force of destruction. The real threat comes from Godzilla's ability to produce hundreds of offspring that could potentially flood the world in Godzillas. Moreso when her son in the animated sequel can shoot radioactive fire, meaning the other 199 could have that ability. She also appears to not have a Healing Factor as her son in the animated series has one and can recover from injuries, but she's been wounded by 14 missiles, two from his encounter by US submarines, and 12 from F-18 jets.
    • Her animated version is even weaker. While this version was put down by 12 missiles, it only took four to kill her animated version.
  • Adaptation Deviation: This is widely considered the most radically differing incarnation of the character, to the point that many fans derisively refer to this version as GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). The only things broadly connecting this character to the Japanese original is that he's a giant, spiky, reptilian biped with an origin connected to atomic testing.
  • Adaptation Species Change: From mutated dinosaur to mutated iguana.
  • Age Lift: This version of Godzilla was created by French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, which means she can't be more than thirty years old. As a result, this version of Godzilla is the youngest official take on the character by far.
  • Alternate Self: Emmerich's, Devlin's, and Toho's stance is that the 1998 film is set in its own continuity unrelated to any of the other films. Ergo, the versions of the monster that appeared in Final Wars and Rulers of Earth are not the same monster that was gunned down on the Brooklyn Bridge, but seperate incarnations of the character. Despite this, in GMK some Japanese politicians briefly discuss how the Americans claim to have killed Godzilla due to having slain a giant reptilian monster that attacked New York in 1998; and a pamphlet for Final Wars mentions that Zilla—or a member of the same species—attacked New York in the 1990s, meaning that Broad Strokes versions of the 1998 Godzilla movie's events occurred in those films' continuities as well.
  • Big Eater: Godzilla attacks fishing boats to steal their catches and chows down on tons of fish used by the military as bait.
  • Breath Weapon: This is the only incarnation of Godzilla that lacks this ability, but as a reference, she can send cars flying, set off explosions by igniting the fuel, and then propel the flames, by screeching. In Godzilla: The Series, Cyber-Godzilla gained a blue version of his son's atomic breath thanks to the aliens' tampering.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: This Godzilla heavily contrasts the previous three: The original, Showa, and Heisei Godzillas started out hating humans upon their reveal, but the Showa and Heisei Godzillas eventually lets go of their grudge against humans. This Godzilla is more curious and indifferent towards humanity, and unlike the other three, she would rather avoid conflict, but will retaliate when she's angry enough. The only commonality she has with the Showa and Heisei Godzillas is that she's fiercely protective of her children, and like Heisei Godzilla, he will go out of her way to attack someone responsible, not humanity as a whole. Furthermore, just like Heisei Godzilla, she's just a lost big animal just trying to survive. She's only an antagonist because of the level of destruction she causes upon landing in New York, which wasn't intentional.
  • Cowardly Lion: Runs from a fight against the military, but when sufficiently angered enough, she snaps back at her attackers until they're dead.
  • Decomposite Character: Patrick Tatopoulos' creature design was first created and used in 1998 as an adaptation of Godzilla, but was poorly received by fans. Toho poked fun at this in GMK, where it is mentioned that a reptilian monster attacked New York in 1998 and was mistaken for Godzilla by the Americans. In 2004's Final Wars, Ryuhei Kitamura and Shogo Tomiyama wanted to have the American Godzilla fight the Japanese Godzilla to prove which one was superior, and learned that while Toho has to share the 1998 film's rights with Tristar, they have sole ownership of Tatopoulos's creature design, which they subsequently used under the name "Zilla" due to deeming it unworthy of the "God" suffix. Zilla rampages through Sydney, Australia, but is killed in under 13 seconds by the Japanese Godzilla; with subsequent incarnations also being called "Zilla". While many fans took this to mean that the version of the creature in the 1998 movie was renamed "Zilla" as well, according to Matt Frank and Keith Aiken, Toho considers the 1998 Godzilla and Zilla from Final Wars to be different incarnations of the same character, but are legally obligated to refer to the 1998 and cartoon versions as Godzilla while all post-2004 incarnations of the creature are to be called Zilla.
  • Explosive Breeder: Lays over 200 eggs, and each of its offspring is capable of doing the same. Had the sequel been made it would have retconned this ability, saying that the clutch size varies depending on the perceived carrying capacity of the nesting area.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: She had her chest blown open by volleys of missiles, and in Godzilla: The Series, her rebuilt self is pretty much mauled to death.
  • Female Monster Surprise: Nick is very surprised when a pregnancy test reveals the giant radioactive lizard ransacking NYC is about to lay eggs. It's then subverted by everyone continuing to call Godzilla a "very unusual he" due to it being asexually reproducing, despite its anatomy being called into question.note 
  • Fragile Speedster: One of the most agile of all movie kaijus, but squishy enough to be injured by artillery-fire, stunned by torpedos, and taken down by a few barrages of Sidewinder missiles.
  • Gender Flip: Godzilla is not only able reproduce, but has a visible cloaca, too
  • In Name Only: TriStar's '98 remake quickly had original Godzilla fans coining the acronym GINO (Godzilla In Name Only) for the character. It remains a popular term to distinguish the '98 creature from its animated counterpart.
  • Irony: The most accurately dinosaurian of all the Godzilla incarnations, but also the only incarnation that is explicitly non-prehistoric in origin: he mutated from an iguana.
  • It Can Think: The creature is somewhat cunning, as far as an animal goes, but her only surviving offspring is especially so.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Godzilla books it when confronted by the military and hides underground.
  • Super-Scream: Can roar strongly enough to send cars flying and ignite flammable objects.
  • Meaningful Rename: The post-2004 iterations of the character are trademarked as "Zilla" beginning with Final Wars because Ryuhei Kitamura and Shogo Tomiyama believed it didn't deserve to have the "God" prefix, though Toho still has to call the 1998 and cartoon versions "Godzilla" for legal reasons.
  • Mister Seahorse: Is consistently referred to as a male, even after it lays a few hundred eggs. Patrick Tatopoulos admitted to sculpting female genetalia onto the 1998 version's model.note 
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Lays over 200 eggs in her debut film, which hatch into ravenous baby Godzillas. One happens to survive the end of the movie.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Godzilla's attacks on humans was more or less unintentional. The reason she attacked a Japanese tuna ship and three trawlers was because their ships had fish, and so she was hungry. Even the damage and deaths upon her arrival to New York wasn't on purpose as shown with his first interaction with Nick, he only looks at him in curiosity before moving on to his business to eat. The final act however, he goes after the protagonists as he saw them as responsible for the deaths of his children, and only limits his rage at them. Even earlier, he only attacks the army out of self-defense. Word of God has stated they couldn't decide on whether to make this incarnation of Godzilla malevolent or benevolent during the movie's development, so they Took a Third Option and made him without morality at all, driven purely by animalistic instincts.
  • Not Zilla: Was originally meant to be a new version of Godzilla but eventually became this, although she is more of an Expy of obscure Godzilla monster Gorosaurus. She has a more traditionally theropod design, an affinity for burrowing (originally a trademark of Baragon but given to Gorosaurus for Destroy All Monsters). All she lacks is the jump kick.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: During his review of the movie, Doug Walker said that lizards don't eat fish, but in reality, there are lizards that do, marine iguanas being one of them.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When she sees that her brood are dead and sees the protagonists, she chases after them in a rampaging fury,and only limits her rage towards them.
  • Signature Roar: Godzilla's roar is a higher-pitched version of the Japanese Godzilla's roar.
  • Stealth Expert: Was somehow able to shake off the military and hide itself in the middle of New York City, despite being a building-sized bipedal lizard.
  • Super-Speed: Say what you will about the rest of his repertoire but damn she's fast.
  • Sudden Name Change: Final Wars renamed every incarnation of the character post-2004 "Zilla". According to Ryuhei Kitamura and Shogo Tomiyama, this was because, unlike the Japanese Godzilla, the American Godzilla was just a mutated animal and therefore didn't merit having the "God" prefix. The 1998 version and its cartoon son are still called Godzilla for legal reasons.
  • The Strategist: Rulers of Earth makes her into one, at least by kaiju standards, aiming to outfox the much larger and more powerful Godzilla.
  • To Serve Man: Godzilla tries to eat the cab containing Nick, Audrey, Animal, and Roche in order to avenge her babies.
  • Take That!: This version was so reviled by Toho, they changed their plans from putting the character on hiatus to producing the entire "Millenium Era" purely out of spite. From using Tatopoulos design as the inspiration for a kaiju villain named Orga in Godzilla 2000, reffering to it as another monster that isn't Godzilla in GMK, to rebranding her as a separate character named "Zilla" and having the original Godzilla kill her in Godzilla Final Wars.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the series where she's rebuilt as Cyber-Godzilla, she's far more durable than he was in the 1998 movie.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Unlike the original Godzilla, who's never been shown eating any sort of food and seems to subsist totally on radiation, this version has consistently been shown to prefer fish. Her path from French Polynesia to New York is tracked by numerous fishing vessel sinkings, she's lured out from the subways by the military using giant piles of fish, and she uses fish to feed her hatchlings.
  • Tragic Monster: Much like the original Godzilla, this one was a victim of mankind.
  • Truly Single Parent: Reproduces asexually and laid over 200 eggs.
  • Tunnel King: Is able to easily dig through pavement, but has a hard time going through bedrock as he tried to in the Hudson River.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Brought back to life into a cyborg called Cyber-Godzilla under the control of alien invaders in Godzilla: The Series as their ultimate weapon. Also gained a blue variant of her son's Breath Weapon.

    Godzilla's offspring
Voiced By: Frank Welker

The babies that hatch from the eggs Godzilla laid in Madison Square Garden.

  • Adaptational Villainy: The offsprings are the secondary antagonists in the movie. With the exception of one, all of them started eating fish until they look at the humans and started hunting them because they smell like the fish. Until Godzilla Fillius, both Minilla and Baby Godzilla had no animosity towards humans, nor do they attack and eat humans.
  • Big Eater: After they are born, they started eating everything, from fish, to popcorn, and humans.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Once all of the fish were eaten, they begin hunting down humans that smell like them. Dean Devlin found a loophole involving Godzilla that he isn't allowed to eat humans. Thus, the raptor-like baby Godzillas were created.
  • Immune to Bullets: When Phillipe gets separated from his men, some of them open fire on the babies when they were hunting his men down. This actually foreshadows that they are exceptionally tough, and their last sibling that survives well into adulthood in the animated series is even tougher than their biological father.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Keep in mind, the only reason they attack humans was because they smell like the fish. Otherwise, they didn't even try to intimidate or attack them until the tuna's odor was on them.
  • Raptor Attack: They behave very much like Jurassic Park's Velociraptors.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The ones chasing after Nick begin fighting each other, and the "lead" offspring snaps at the sibling next to it just so it can eat the big "fish".
  • Sole Survivor: The final egg is what's left of Godzilla's legacy, and becomes the protagonist of Godzilla: The Series.


    Niko "Nick" Tatopoulos
Portrayed By: Matthew Broderick
Dubbed By: Jean-Pierre Michaël (European French)

A scientist who's out to study the rapid radiation-induced growth of worms. He gets pulled into the helping with the "Godzilla" situation, first by the U.S. Military, then by the French Military.

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Resurrected dinosaurs? No way! Mutated iguanas? Yeah, most probably.
  • Ignored Expert: Zigzagged example; Nick discovers through blood testing that Godzilla is pregnant and has arrived in Manhattan to reproduce. However, right as he's revealing this to the military, his confidential data is leaked to the news and he is removed from the task force, with his theory being rejected outright. Elsie does manage to convince Colonel Hicks to sweep the city later, though by this point the eggs have already hatched and Nick and Audrey use a news broadcast to reveal the nest's location to the Army.
  • Nerves of Steel: A bit. When Godzilla shows up to check him out during the first fish bait trap, the big guy was inches from Nick. Nick also noticed some soldiers getting ready to shoot Godzilla and signals them to hold their fire despite not holding any military rank.
  • Nice Guy: Exhibit "A": he knows his former girlfriend Audrey is willing to do anything to be a reporter, including ditch him once already, and still takes her to his research tent for a cup of coffee to talk about old times — not only being dumb enough to provide her with information about Godzilla, but leave a top-secret videotape right where she can just watch it, let alone steal it.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Of the Science Hero variety. While he can talk to his friends, he tends to stutter and get awkward with other people.
  • Tuckerization: Named after production designer Patrick Tatopoulos.
  • The Unpronounceable: It's a Running Gag throughout both the movie and the series that nobody can say "Tatopoulos". The latter gets better.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Was called out by military officials for leaking confidential information about Godzilla, and fires him despite not being his fault.
    • He on the other hand rightfully calls out Audrey for stealing his video tape and getting him fired. And when she told him she rejected his proposal because she thought she could make it big (and she didn't), he was still mad and tells her "Good luck with your new career".
  • The Worm Guy: The Trope Namer. It's as denigrating a nickname as it can be expected to be In-Universe.

    Philippe Roche 
Portrayed By: Jean Reno

A DGSE (French secret service) agent who leads an elite task force to destroy Godzilla and any information connecting it to the French nuclear tests on the Polynesian Islands.

  • Badass Driver: Philippe is able to drive an ordinary taxicab with enough skill to outmaneuver Godzilla.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Inverted. He is the most efficient and reasonable military man in the whole film and he serves in the French Secret Service (the DGSEnote ).
  • Fake American: In-universe; Philippe and his men pose as American soldiers in order to sneak into New York to search for Godzilla's nest, with Philippe even pulling off a convincing Elvis Presley impersonation to sell it.
  • Large Ham: Jean Reno probably had to spend weeks picking the scenery out of his teeth.
  • The Men in Black: He is a member of a French espionage division and tries to maintain anonymity as much as possible, including editing himself out of video footage or smashing Animal's camera.
  • Must Have Caffeine: A Running Gag throughout the movie is his inability to find a decent cup of coffee. After narrowly escaping the destruction of Madison Square Garden he exhaustedly notes that could really use a coffee.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He's a French patriot at heart, but even he is aware of France's mistakes, such as the French nuclear testing that created Godzilla, and point-blank tells Nick that he'll defend France from itself if he has to.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: From the moment he first meets Nick, he doesn't underestimates him or his theories. All of the action in the third act happens because he takes the initiative to find Godzilla's eggs with Nick's help while the American military treats it like a literal afterthought.

    Colonel Anthony Hicks 
Portrayed by: Kevin Dunn

A soldier placed in charge of the effort to destroy Godzilla.

  • Destructive Savior: His units has a bad habit of wrecking New York just to destroy Godzilla. While Godzilla avoids several missiles that hit the Flatiron Building, the goddamned Chrysler Building got blown up due to negative impact.
    Mayor Ebert: What the hell's the matter with you people? You caused more damage than that goddamned thing did!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When Elsie tells him not to dismiss the possibility that Godzilla may have laid eggs in New York, he decides to send a search team to locate them.

    Audrey Timmonds 
Portrayed by: Maria Pitillo

Nick's ex-girlfriend and an aspiring reporter.

  • Hard Work Hardly Works: At the beginning of the movie, she’s stuck in the career version of this, having spent years as an assistant and being passed over for promotion while doing the hardest work for her boss only to basically be told that her only chance for promotion is Sleeping with the Boss.
  • Immoral Journalist: Her character arc revolves around her deciding to be one and finding out she doesn't have the chops for it, either morally or mentally.
  • Informed Kindness: The other characters frequently talk up Audrey as being 'too nice'. This is despite the fact that she rejected Nick's proposal in favor of furthering her own career, and also steals top secret information from him to give to the press, throwing him under the bus. While she is remorseful that her actions got him fired, it doesn't come across as the Out-of-Character Moment it's meant to be.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After being chewed out by Nick for stealing the tape, she is seen crying her eyes out at Animal and Lucy's apartment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Audrey uses Nick's theory and confidential tapes to try to advance her career as a reporter, which results in Nick being fired and the military to dismiss his theory about Godzilla being pregnant, nearly resulting in an even greater crisis. For added insult to injury, her boss stole her story for himself.
  • Out-Gambitted: Her attempt at getting a scoop on Godzilla by stealing Nick's tape becomes an All for Nothing situation when Caiman steals the scoop for himself.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Averted. She categorically refuses to do this, even when it is heavily (and not subtly) implied that this is the only way she will get promoted.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had she not stolen Nick's tape and cost him his credibility with the military, they might have taken his warning about the nest more seriously and he, she and Animal, and Roache and his men might not have needed to risk their necks finding it themselves, which gets Roache's colleagues all killed and them chased halfway across Manhattan by a very pissed-off Godzilla.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nick calls her out over leaking confidential information about Godzilla without his permission that got him fired from the military. It was so scalding that she is shown crying her eyes out over what she did.

    Victor "Animal" Palotti 
Portrayed by: Hank Azaria

Audrey's friend and coworker, who is a cameraman.

  • Big Brother Instinct: When Nick left Audrey for leaking the story, Animal tried to follow him to talk some sense into him, only to find Nick helping the DGSE track down the nest.
  • Fanboy: He's apparently a Knicks fan, getting "pissed" when he discovers Godzilla built its nest in Madison Square Garden (the team's home arena) and takes a moment to geek out when he and Audrey stumble into the team's locker room.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: When Godzilla first makes his way through Manhattan and the citizens of New York are fleeing in terror Animal reacts by grabbing his camera and chasing after it. He ends up with the first close-up footage of Godzilla after almost getting stepped on.
  • Happily Married: He and Lucy bicker a lot but they're obviously very happy together.
  • Henpecked Husband: A minor Running Gag is him being afraid of Lucy's wrath, constantly saying that she's going to kill him as he runs around chasing after Godzilla (he's right - she says she is going to kill him as she applauds his appearance on TV in the end) and sneaking out through the window to begin the hunt with Audrey instead of going out the front door and getting in an argument with Lucy.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Late in the movie he decides to follow Nick, who's just been picked up by the French team, and ends up getting into the Godzilla nest at Madison Square Garden.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: When Godzilla was about to stomp him, his only reaction was to scream until the big guy spreads his toes, which not only did he survived, he started to laughing frantically because of how he just survived.
  • Running Gag: Whenever he does something reckless, he lampshades that Lucy would kill him.

    Mendel Craven 
Portrayed by: Malcolm Danare

A neurotic member of the scientific team studying Godzilla.

    Elsie Chapman 
Portrayed by: Vicki Lewis

A member of the scientific team studying Godzilla.

    Mayor Ebert 
Portrayed by: Michael Lerner

The incompetent mayor of New York City.

    Charles Caiman 
Portrayed by: Harry Shearer

Audrey's Jerkass boss.

  • Expy: He has shades of a live-action version of Kent Brockman. Harry even slips into the same voice multiple times.
  • Hate Sink: Let's see... he tries to get Audrey to sleep with him despite being married, he dismisses her desires to advance her reporting career (whilst secretly making her do all his work), and then steals her story. It's no wonder why she quits at the end.
  • Immoral Journalist: He steals Audrey's story and edits it to imply that Nick leaked it to the press, leading to the Army doing the borderline apocalyptic blunder to dismiss Nick's worries about the Godzilla eggs just because Nick voiced them until it was almost too late.
  • Meaningful Name: A "caiman" is a crocodile-like reptile. He's also the Butt-Monkey of the film, just like the real life animal.
  • Slimeball: When Audrey asks him when she'll be promoted from his assistant to a reporter, Caiman makes it clear the only way she'll get the promotion is if she has an affair with him. Audrey turns him down in disgust.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: He gets on the receiving end of this from Audrey at the end of the film, when she finally stands up to the jerk.