Monster cliches crush Godzilla Tomorrow in the Sun Marke Andrews looks at the history of Godzilla In the premiere Issue of Queue magazine GODZILLA Starring Matthew Uroderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. MA. KATIIIRINE MONK SUN MOVIli CRITIC Run, run, run for your lives! Godzilla is back and he's going to gore oops bore you to death. A loose collage of horror cliche lifted from a variety of sources, including the original American Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956) and Ridley Scott's now-classic Alien, Godzilla's first of many flaws is its complete lack of surprises, creativity or interesting second-takes on classic kitsch. When you've seen every shot before from the giant footsteps, to the egg-chamber, to the velociraptor-like hijinx of the Babyzillas in the midst of Madison Square Garden the fear button is replaced by the one that reads "blase." Sorry, but at this point in time, we've seen too many cities destroyed better, faster and scarier by dinosaurs, lava flows and tidal waves to really care about what a really big foot is going to do to the Big Apple. The retread factor could have been forgiven had director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) firmly planted his tongue in his cheek instead of waffling between sincerity and complete send-up. But Emmerich clearly had no idea where to put the accent on this pricey disaster of a disaster film that has Matt Broderick playing a scientist in search of Godzilla a giant mutated dino-lizard born in the radioactive mudpits of some South Seas atomic atoll. At times, he tries for the same style of deadpan humour that made Independence Day so entertaining, but it fails because the one-liners fall flat. The rest of the time, Em-'merich goes for the serious ftory backed by special effects. bui 11, 100, ians Decause ine special effects are mediocre and the story is downright inane. Granted, a story about a giant monster eating New York or Tokyo was never genius, but, as a new addition to the monster pantheon, Godzilla did have something to offer from an intellectual perspective. When the first of the lizard kings stormed on to a movie screen in the mid-1950s, spewing his fiery breath and awkwardly two-stepping over Tokyo, the movie quickly became a cult classic because the world was a different place. Science fiction was a new, emerging genre built on the foundation of old horror reels and new phobias surrounding the escalating Cold War. At the time, Godzilla was the perfect incarnation of man's symbolic enemy. Not only was Godzilla Japanese, glowing with radioactive energy and fiercely destructive, he was, in essence, created by the hands of man making him the heir to the monster throne once inhabited by the likes of the ancient Golem (the Hebraic dust monster), Frankenstein and Mr. Hyde. Regardless of their massive dimensions and changing shapes, the message behind the monster myth has always the same: In trying to save ourselves, we usually create the beast that will bring about our own demise because we are ignorant about our own, potentially evil, nature Such was the core of the first Godzilla movies as they showed us the dark side of the atomic age in moody black and white. The new Godzilla is also radioactive, but here, in glorious colour and ambitiously digitally rendered, the monster is a beast unto himself. He swims where he wants, crushes cities without prejudice and has no connection to our world whatsoever. For Godzilla to really work his magic, he must be a reflection of ourselves a lost soul perverted by the wanton acts of modern man. There is no connection here and that's why this movie, like most modern monster movies, fails miserably. They fail because in these warm and merger-friendly days of globalization, we've lost track of the enemy. There are no absolutes anymore: no man in white, no man in black. Everyone is grey and so the world has become a far more ambiguous place morally, socially, sexually, politically, etc. Without absolutes, or at least the perception of such, the monster myth collapses a fact which Godzilla proves several times over as it drags its scaly green fanny across the screen for the better part of two hours in search of meaning. The poor beast has no place to go no empire to destroy, no lesson to teach, no man to make wiser and so he wanders aimlessly until he's finally destroyed. By the end of this miserably bloated mind-number, we've learned nothing, felt nothing and. seen little of the evil within our hearts. In the big picture, Godzilla may be the bleakest statement yet about the '90s, where skin-deep concerns such as special effects, big-name stars and superficial struggles in the big city outweigh the need to understand who, and what, we really are. At the Granville, Oakridge, Park Tilford, Station Square, Coquitlam, Scott 72, Clear-brook, Harris Road, Mission City, Cottonwood, Caprice White Rock and Caprice Tsawwassen cinemas.