Little Orphan Annie
"Size does matter!" scream the billboards. And no, these aren't the ads for the
next Jerry Springer show, but rather coming attractions for GODZILLA, the world's most
notorious lizard and Sony's $130 million 400-foot toy that may delight youngsters but will
induce z's in grown-ups.
Based on Japan's campy monster tales from the 1950s, the technically clumsy films created
global fans that gawked at the mutated reptile as if it were a familiar face in the crowd.
More than 40 years later and GODZILLA still means business as it thuds through Manhattan
crunching buildings and landmarks, squashing cars, nibbling on pedestrians, and in
general, disrupting the flow of traffic.
Much to the credit of co-screenwriter and director Roland Emmerich, this monster movie
doesn't have the stark horror of JURASSIC PARK, so you won't have to swallow any
mind-altering drugs to sit through it. What you will need, however, is a heavy dose of
concentration to endure the lethargic pace. Without realizing, your attention will shift
from this freak of nature to more mundane topics such as whether Dan Quayle will run for
the presidency in the year 2000. (Connection?)
Matthew Broderick heads the cast as a nerdy biologist in search of Godzilla. Mistake
Number #1. The actor should have been Harrison Ford who would immediately win the audience
to his side. Instead of seduction and intrigue, we learn about the character's
misadventures with a former girlfriend (Maria Pitillo) who dreams of becoming a TV
reporter. (Please see the Show Biz Maven's review of DEEP IMPACT with the miscast Tea
Leoni as the television broadcaster, a move more potent than Sominex) Happily, the
director does keep the subject on the Grande lizard, although we learn more about the
girlfriend than we ought to, especially when we can glimpse into Godzilla's lovely brown
Question: How bad can this guy really be? Answer: When he's hungry, pretty bad. Otherwise,
the scaly creature is not that interested in destroying things, unless he needs food for
his offspring. HE? Well now, any biology student will jump to the conclusion that he is
really a SHE leading the Show Biz Maven to observe that this is yet another excuse for
Hollywood to blame women for all the ills of society.
Broderick understands all this and tries to explain to the feisty New York Mayor (Is there
ever any other kind?) and to the commandos that perhaps there's a better way than just
kill, kill, kill. But who wants to listen to reason? Better to corner the creature and
then let loose enough power to start WWIII, or maybe just enough to blow up Sony.
Moviegoers will feel sorry for GODZILLA and not particularly care about anyone else in the
film. Unless it's Jean Reno who portrays a French agent eager to track down the beast.
Reno steals the show as he launches into an Elvis impersonation. No wonder Godzilla never
lays a claw on him as in all probability Elvis tunes are catchy even for giant lizards.
Although Godzilla sways with a wiggle when he/she walks, it is seldom in a mellow mood.
Accompanied by David Arnold's spooky music and with the Dolby Digital Sound crash, booming
and bamming all around, the ending scenes will awake even the most ardent snorers.
Beware! Godzilla has been busy laying dozens of eggs that have been hatching in horrifying
numbers and all at Madison Square Garden, causing comedians to add that so many performers
have laid an egg at the Garden, what's a few more?
With love & knishes from your Show Biz Maven.
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