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Film / Godzilla 2000

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Yuji Shinoda: To study Godzilla will be the key to disclose the secrets of living beings on the Earth.
Mitsuo Katagiri: Even so, you can't allow all the damage caused by Godzilla.

Godzilla 2000, known in Japan as "Godzilla 2000: Millennium" (Gojira Nisen: Mireniamu), is the 23rd canonical entry in the long running Godzilla franchise. Released in December 1999, it is the first film of the third cycle of Godzilla movies, known officially as the "Millennium Series". It is a standalone film with that ignores the continuity of previous installments.

Over the years, Japan has been besieged by numerous attacks by Godzilla, so much that Godzilla attacks are basically viewed as a fact of life. The Godzilla Prediction Network (or "GPN"), helmed by Yuji Shinoda and his daughter Io, has been established to try and track Godzilla's movements and predict when he will come ashore. Accompanying them is Yuki Ichinose, a reporter who has been tasked with trying to get information on Godzilla. Shinoda believes Godzilla should be kept alive for study: Mitsuo Katagiri, his academic rival and leader of the Crisis Control Institute (CCI), believes the opposite, that Godzilla is too dangerous to be kept alive, and uses his resources to try and destroy him.

One day, the CCI discovers an enormous rock on the ocean floor and brings it to the surface, where it reacts to the sunlight and becomes mobile. It seeks out Godzilla and engages him in battle, defeating him, though in the process Godzilla burns away its crust with his atomic breath, revealing the rock to be a UFO. When the UFO later flies away and lands in Tokyo, it begins hacking into the city's computers, searching for information on Godzilla for reasons unknown. Meanwhile, Shinoda discovers a unique chemical compound in Godzilla's cells, a medical breakthrough that could justify the monster's existence, while Godzilla himself arrives in Tokyo bay, itching for a rematch with the UFO...

Made in the wake of the 1998 In Name Only American remake, Godzilla 2000 was released in Japan only a year later in order to bring Godzilla back to his roots. The film didn't fare so well at the box office due to a number of problems, such as the sluggish pacing, its uninspired musical score, and the fact that it was ultimately viewed as a blandly typical Godzilla movie, barely distinguishable in tone and content from the Heisei films that preceeded it. Still, it was enough of a success that TriStar, the American film’s distributor, found it worthy of a theatrical release outside of Japan. The American version was given a deliberately campy, tongue in cheek Gag Dub reminiscent of the classic Godzilla dubs from the 60s plus significant improvements to the film's pacing, sound effects and musical score, including additional Akira Ifukube tracks. Godzilla also roars more frequently and louder in the American cut. Every change to the film was approved in advance by the original director and producers at Toho. These changes ultimately redeemed the film for most viewers, as it was a modest success in North America both critically and financially, though there are still some who prefer the original Japanese version.

Not to be confused with Godzilla (1998) or Godzilla (2014), other Godzilla films which are also identified with their release years on this website for the sake of differentiation despite technically being One Word Titles.

The film provides examples of the following:

  • Adaptational Badass: Normally, the Nuclear Pulse only stuns enemies. Here, it's what ultimately kills Orga.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Io. Her first lines in the movie are to explain a complicated scientific concept to a woman over twice her age... and then call her an "imbecile" when she doesn't understand. She also runs the business side of GPN and cooks dinner for her father.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga version, which is considered the better adaptation. The manga version has a less confusing plot points (Godzilla being caught Orga's mouth than just let Orga "eat him"). Plus, the Millennians are more intellectual aliens than a spaceship-turned-radioactive monster, Godzilla showing how badass he is when Katagiri's missiles are launched at him (and launching himself spines-first at the Millennian's ship), etc. The Milliennians are pretty much horrifying creatures.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: How Shinoda escapes the falling debris inside the elevator shaft of the ruined City Tower.
  • Annual Title: Used for the film's title, even though the film actually released in December 1999, one month before the year 2000.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Dub script exclusive. When Miyasaka tells the CCI that the object they uncovered is a ship from outer space, one of the other guys scoffs at the apparently absurd speculation. Miyasaka responds that it's not much more far-fetched than Godzilla himself.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The problem with regular shells and missiles is that the explosions just bounce off Godzilla's nigh impenetrable hide. The Full-Metal Missiles, a type of armor piercing bunker buster, are intended to rectify this, and actually work very well until the UFO halts the operation before they can fully bring Godzilla down.
  • Badass Longcoat: Katagiri's.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Katagiri and Orga. Godzilla seems to be this at first, but is really more of an Anti-Hero.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The unreleased international dub, in typical post-92 fashion. Touched upon by Mike Schlesinger in the commentary and a few online discussions.
    "Let me put it this way: if the international dub had been even halfway usable, we would not have gone to the time and expense of re-dubbing it. Not just because of the voice work—the dialogue was abominable: Yuki had five different professions and there wasn't a shred of exposition. Toho kindly sent over a subtitle list, and it had scads of info not in the dub, most crucially that Shinoda and Miyasaka were college chums—which made much of the latter's behavior suddenly clear. I had to rewrite almost the entire first reel so the whole darn thing would make sense."
    • The only dialogue that remains in the U.S. dub is this exchange between the two fishermen at the eatery (it is the second line, spoken by voice actor Jack Murphy).
    "The damn Teriyaki's cold again."
    "But as long as the beer is cold, who cares?"
    • The equivalent line in the Japanese script is as follows.
    "Recently something's wrong with the sea."
    "So we've got nothing to do but drink. Right, buddy?"
    • Miyasaka is called "Miyazaki" in all dubs (e.g. French, Spanish, Portuguese) based on the Mike Schlesinger cut, for some reason.
      • It turns out TriStar somehow flubbed all their captions and subtitle scripts with the error, which is possibly what dubbing studios stuck to. Averted in the Thai dub, which based its dialogue on the Japanese cut instead (and by extension still refers to Organizer G-1 as such).
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Godzilla stops another menace's reign of terror and even spares the protagonist and his family, but continues on his own, advancing slowly towards the camera after setting the remainder of Shinjuku aflame.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: Done early in the film, with the lighthouse master surviving a radio tower toppled by Godzilla.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: In some of the early scenes in the Toho cut, Godzilla is not directly mentioned by name by the characters, who resort to vague "it" pronouns. Shinoda finally drops the name about 12 minutes in.
    • Averted completely in the Mike Schlesinger script, which purposefully inserts "Godzilla" into the dialogue as many times as possible. An extra "Godzilla Prediction Network Mobile Unit" optical is even added to the first shot of Shinoda and Yuki inside the GPN car.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Godzilla himself has one of these moments. After several blasts to Orga do little thanks to its Healing Factor, Orga unhinges his jaw to just flat-out eat Godzilla in a climactic attempt to steal his DNA. Godzilla stares aghast at this spectacle for a moment, then almost nods and moves forward so that he’s heading headfirst into Orga's mouth. There may as well be a Godzilla vs. Gigan style thought bubble over his head: "This is really stupid....but it just might work!"
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Miyasaka laments discovering the UFO, though Shinoda assures him that mankind would've recklessly unearthed it eventually even if he didn't.
  • Death by Irony: Also doubling as Karmic Death, Godzilla kills off his main human adversary Katagiri as payback for sicking the military on him.
  • Determinator: Lampshaded by the main characters as Godzilla marches through Tokyo before the final battle.
  • Dub Name Change: Organizer G-1 was renamed as Regenerator G-1 in the American version, because Regenerator makes a lot more sense in the context that was being used.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: After Orga is destroyed, Katagiri risks his own life, just so he could see Godzilla up close. Even though the others call him Too Dumb to Live, it's hard not to blame him for that. He even takes the time to have One Last Smoke before Godzilla breaks the roof with him on it.
    Katagiri: I've never seen Godzilla this close before.
  • Eat Me: How Godzilla beats Orga.
  • Elevator Escape: Played with. Shinoda narrowly escapes the destruction of City Tower, but only through sliding down the cables of a shaft and not actually using the lift itself.
  • Evil Overlooker: Orga on the above U.S. theatrical poster.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The original U.S. theatrical release featured a corny THE ? END optical, but it was removed for the U.S. home video releases. You can see it intact in all its cheesy glory on the official Spanish subbed tape, though.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Godzilla lets Orga half-swallow him and then uses a Nuclear Pulse to kill him from within.
  • Filling the Silence: Acknowledged by Mike Schlesinger, Darenn Pascal and Mike Mahoney in their commentary track. The U.S. version adds a lot of additional music to scenes that went unscored originally (some of Hattori's original cues even had additional instrumentation layered onto them), and is general noisier sound design-wise. The sound design is completely different from the Toho cut, with even minor foley such as footsteps and keyboard typing redone.
    • The UFO has a subtle humming sound in the Toho cut while the U.S. version has an over the top whirring effect in its place. Godzilla also had additional roars added to a few instances where he was originally silent. A lot of these roars are also from the American Godzilla film.
    • The final battle between Godzilla and Orga is perhaps the most egregious example, which underwent a complete rescoring. Two large portions of the sequence have no music at all in the Toho cut, giving those instances a more suspenseful feel, though a lot of viewers find it makes the fight itself look unfinished. Toho themselves generally agree the US version is superior in this regard.
    • Io gets an extra line ("I don't hear that cabbage being chopped!") shortly before Shinoda proceeds to do so.
  • Genre Deconstruction: The film heavily deconstructs the "G-Force" concept that plagued the later half of the Heisei series, by dividing it into two smaller entities more grounded in reality: A small scale civilian observation network run out of a brewery by a father and daughter, and a larger scale operation with government funding and more advanced equipment. Neither is equipped to actually combat Godzilla. Katagiri just uses his status as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and connections to get the Self-Defense Force involved when necessary. Far less lofty than enormous international coalitions capable of building gigantic, impractical fighting machines.
  • Healing Factor: Regenerator G-1.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Katagiri. He wants to put an end to Godzilla's rampages, but is an aggressive militant himself who goes by "Shoot first, ask questions later".
  • Hey, Wait!: After swapping out the GPN data with Io's homework, Shinoda and Io are about to storm out of the CCI research facility, before Miyasaka stops them... only to tell them the UFO has reappeared.
  • Hostile Terraforming: The Millennians plan to change the oxygen content of the atmosphere to make it suitable for their living conditions, and to possibly wipe out existing life.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Trotted out at the ending with a straight face.
    "But then why? Why does he keep protecting us?"
    "Maybe because, Godzilla is inside each one of us."
    • The original dialogue of the scene is a more straightforward reminder that Godzilla's destructive power exists in man since he was awakened/created by mankind.
  • Idiot Ball: Orga grabs onto this and holds on for dear life after deciding that the best option available is to let Godzilla stick his head into his mouth. Possibly justified, as it's implied the mutation reduced the once intelligent aliens to a dumb brute whose only instinct is to try and transform himself into a Godzilla clone.
  • Irony: By attempting to take physical form through Godzilla's regenerative properties, the Millennian was destroyed mentally and altered physically, and then annihilated by Godzilla totally, the very source of its short lived resurrection.
    Yuki: "How ironic! It was brought back to life by Godzilla, then destroyed by Godzilla."
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Originally, Katagiri only insists that Godzilla must be destroyed before he can cause too much damage. Then he goes straight from that to being willing to blow up a building that still has civilians in it in order to take out the Millenian's ship.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Godzilla may be a destructive force and a terror for Japan, but the Millennians are a threat to the whole planet. It makes it easy to root for Godzilla in the inevitable showdown.
  • Little Professor Dialog: Io's technobabble.
  • Made of Indestructium: The UFO appears to be this at first, unfazed by the explosives intended to destroy it without so much as as a scratch. Later, when Godzilla lands a good long heat-ray blast on it, it blows up and cracks in two.
  • Mad Scientist: Lampshaded. When Miyasaka realizes his responsibility for the destruction, he actually says, "Oh god, am I one of those mad scientists?"
  • Militaries Are Useless:
  • Mythology Gag: Miyasaka at one point realizes his tie is outside his jacket and promptly readjusts it, a direct reference to a scene in the first film where Dr. Yamane does the same.
    • When Orga begins to transform into Godzilla near the end of the film, he starts to turn dark green. Marc Cerasini's Official Godzilla Compendium, which, at the time the film was released, was the Godzilla book in the US, specifically and repeatedly points out that Godzilla is not green, but charcoal grey.
  • Oh, Crap!: Orga has this moment after he realizes that trying to swallow Godzilla wasn't the brightest of ideas. Attentive viewers will note that Orga's eyes actually widen just seconds before he goes kaboom.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: After defeating Orga who posed a huge threat to humanity by attempting a Hostile Terraforming of the Earth's atmosphere, Godzilla kills Katagiri and proceeds to burn down whatever's left of Tokyo.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Only Godzilla gets a good ending, mainly because he killed off the only characters that could have potentially posed a threat to him and the humans can only watch him as he burns down Tokyo.
  • Overclocking Attack: Godzilla lets Orga swallow him and then charges his Atomic Breath to the point where his entire body glows orange, then unleashes a Nuclear Pulse that blows Orga to smithereens.
  • Painful Transformation: The Millennian construct screams in horror as the Godzilla characteristics of the Regenerator G-1 DNA take over its body.
  • Partial Transformation: By absorbing Godzilla's Organizer/Regenerator G-1 cells, the Millennians obtain a grotesque physical form as Orga. When Orga bites and later tries to swallow Godzilla, he starts growing green scales and dorsal fins, but is killed before his metamorphosis can finish.
  • Plank Gag: Somewhat oddly, this slapstick trope makes an appearance in a scene with Yuki asking directions of two dock-workers.
  • Running Gag: In the American version we have Yuki and the word "imbecile."
    • The Japanese version has a less emphasized gag about Shinoda calling Yuki his "assistant".
  • Say My Name:
    • Katagiriiiii!
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Millennians were trapped at the bottom of the ocean for millions of years due to lack of sunlight. CCI accidentally woke them up by exposing them to light.
  • Shout-Out: Strangely enough, for a film purportedly made because the American version was unacceptable, the scene in the beginning where Godzilla was chasing Shinoda through a tunnel is surprisingly similar to the chase scene in the 1998 Godzilla where the protagonists were being chased in a cab by Godzilla through a tunnel.
    • In the U.S. dub during the first military meeting to discuss strategy for countering Godzilla a government official asks the military about potential civilian casualties and the commanding general replies "Well I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed" in an echo of George C. Scott's line about the chances of winning a nuclear war in Dr. Strangelove.
    • In the US dub, Yuki's editor shouts "Great Caesar's Ghost!" when the UFO lands on top of City Tower. This is Daily Planet editor Perry White's catchphrse from Superman
  • Smarter Than You Look: You'd think that Godzilla views every tiny, puny human as appearing all the same as him as though we're ants. The climax reveals that he can tell them apart, and that he was able to correctly deduce it was Katagiri who sicked those JSDF strikes, which is why he kills Katagiri but spares Shinoda and the others on the same tower.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The final scene has a children's choir singing serenely over yet another destructive rampage by Godzilla.
  • Stand-In Parents: Played for drama. When Yuki is in a building set to be demolished, Io and Shinoda make their plea to the military not to demolish the building by claiming Yuki is their mother/wife.
  • Story Reset: set after the first film, disregarding previous canon.
  • Take That!: The very reason this film was made. Toho was so unhappy with the TriStar remake, they interrupted Godzilla's planned ten-year rest to show the Americans how it's done. It makes for some strange irony when you consider that Toho basically allowed the same studio who made the 98 remake to distribute Godzilla 2000 in the U.S.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the American theatrical release, the movie ended with "THE ? END." This got removed on the DVD due to the text being more cartoony than the U.S. producers had intended it to be.
  • Ultimate Lifeform: Orga tries to become this by absorbing Godzilla's DNA and mutating into a hulking behemoth with Godzilla's regenerative powers (Orga is short for "Organizer G-1", the name of the gene that allows Godzilla to heal so quickly). He would've won too, if he hadn't stupidly tried to eat Godzilla and was obliterated by his nuclear pulse.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite all his many MANY faults, Katagiri is just trying to protect his country from Godzilla. Shinoda objects to Katagiri's plan to wipe out Godzilla asserting there is still far more humans can learn from Godzilla's cellular biology that can greatly advance Japan's own science and medicine.
  • What Have I Done: Miyasaka gets consumed with guilt over having awakened the Millennian UFO with light.
  • You Need a Breath Mint:
    Shinoda: "You stink!" *Assistant checks armpits* "No, your breath!"
  • Your Head Asplode: What happens when you try to swallow the business end of a radioactive dinosaur.
  • Your Size May Vary: Some scenes that use Chroma Key manage to make Godzilla's size vary in the same shot as the camera moves.