ZILLA (GODZILLA 1998)
Technically this supposed to be an action figure blog but I have been known to bend the rules from time to time reviewing things like erasers and stuffed animals. But it’s my blog and I’ll do what I feel like. Today I have for you another one of those “not technically a figure” figures. This is actually just a key chain but once I ripped the chain off of his head you’d never know the difference. I bought this back at Blockbuster during my first year of employment there. Blockbuster got in a flood of Godzilla merchandise back in 1998 when the American Godzilla movie was coming out. As I mentioned in my last Godzilla figure review, the release of the American film lead to BB stocking a bunch of old VHS copies of the Japanese Godzilla films which I stocked up on. One of the items we got in that sticks out in my mind was a big piggy bank of Godzilla scaling the Chrysler building that had light and sound effects. That’s actually what bothered me about most of the Godzilla action figures released at the time, they all roared or lit up and basically just didn’t do much for me. I wanted some sort of plastic representation of the Americanized monster but I didn’t need all that flare so I cheaped out and bought this key chain. Conveniently it’s to scale with some other Godzilla figures I have and he blends in with them perfectly.
Like most Godzilla fans, I wasn’t really satisfied with the American film. I was super excited about it as the release date drew near but once I finally got to see it I felt like I had just seen another Jurassic Park movie. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Jurassic Park movies, and in fact I like this Godzilla film….just not as a Godzilla film. It’s actually much more watchable than many of the Japanese movies. But the monster just wasn’t Godzilla-y enough. When we reached the scenes with Godzilla’s babies running all over the place is when I drew my line in the sand. This is not Godzilla. I think the monster looks cool as hell but he is not Godzilla. Godzilla does not lay eggs.
I still enjoy watching the 1998 movie and it’s in good company in the category of films that I have bought in 3 different formats over the years. The Star Wars films and The Crow being the only others (Tank Girl will join them as soon as they get around to releasing the blu-ray). But when I watch the ’98 Godzilla I watch it with the frame of mind that this is a different monster than the one that’s always stomping all over Tokyo. I can enjoy it simply because I love monster movies and they don’t need a name brand attached. Cloverfield was a great example of this and more recently “Monsters”. I loved that in the most recent real (aka Japanese) Godzilla film produced by Toho Studios, Godzilla: Final Wars, they actually addressed the American movie. The acknowledge that the Americans have had a monster attack similar to the ones they’re always having. Even better the American Godzilla, whom they refer to as Zilla shows up on screen just long enough to get his a$$ kicked by Godzilla. I think this brief scene should make the American movie easier for all Godzilla fans to watch now knowing for certain that this is indeed a monster in the Godzilla canon but not our beloved King of the Monsters.
As for this little action figure/key-chain it’s pretty nifty. It’s actually a pretty good sculpt and has decent paint applications with the dark back, light underbelly, the metallic purple highlights and painted eyes and teeth. His jaw is even articulated so you can open and close his mouth. The one thing that sucks about this toy is that it does not stand up on its own. That’s’ why I had to lean him against my desk when taking these pictures. When I have him displayed I usually have him sandwiched between a Japanese Godzilla and a King Ghidorah so that he doesn’t end up toppled over.
It’s been a few years since a Godzilla film was released but a new one is on the horizon. This one directed by Gareth Edwards, the very capable director of Monsters that I mentioned earlier. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s like 1998 all over again. One thing that I think this movie really needs is a rival monster for Godzilla to throw down with. I don’t wanna see just another origin story where Godzilla is pitted against the likes of Ferris Bueller. Some G-fans might shudder at my mere suggestion of it but I wouldn’t mind seeing a Godzilla vs Zilla rematch in the new movie. As long as it isn’t Mothra. 5 out of 10.