The 1998 Godzilla movie was so shitty that, Kenpachiro Satsuma, one of the guys who’d originally donned the giant rubber suit in the 70’s walked out of the screening in disgust. We’re not joking about that for comedic effect, that actually happened. In fact the monster in that movie was so poorly received that when Toho got the rights to the character back in 2003, they wiped it off of the face of the Earth, using the real Godzilla.
If you think any of that is hyperbole, boy will you like the rest of this article and how much people shit all over that movie. You see, even before before Toho reacquired the rights to the Godzilla franchise, many fans of the original movies refused to even refer to the creature in the 1998 movie as “Godzilla”, instead choosing to call it “GINO” (Godzilla In Name Only) instead. This isn’t even mentioning that the movie itself was nuked from orbit by critics so hard, TriStar Pictures immediately cancelled all their plans for a sequel. Yes, they actually planned a sequel to that turd.
The people who hated the 1998 redesign the most though were the people who’d worked on the original Godzilla movies. As mentioned above, one of the people who physically played Godzilla in the original movies, Kenpachiro Satsuma straight up walked out of the 1998 premier in disgust upon seeing the new version. Stating very openly to cameras present as he left –
The sad thing is, he was just one of many thousands of Godzilla fans who felt that the 1998 version of it was such a pussy that it wasn’t even deserving of the Godzilla name, he was just the only one they bothered interviewing. Unbelievably, this was a sentiment echoed by Toho, the company who pretty much own the rights to everything Godzilla related.
We know this because the very second the rights to the franchise reverted back to Toho in 2003 after Tristar suddenly decided they no longer wanted to make Godzilla movies, one of the first things they did was write the 1998 creature into Godzilla canon and give it the official title of “Zilla”. If you’re wondering why the company felt this name change was in order, we’ll let movie director and all round pimp, Ryuhei Kitamura sum it up.
“Hollywood had taken the ‘God’ out of Godzilla”
As a final “fuck you” t0 the 1998 Godzilla movie, in the 2004 movie, Godzilla: Final Wars, Zilla is brought back to the cinema screen one last time in gloriously terrible CGI to fight the original, rubber suit-clad Godzilla. By fight we mean this happens.
If you’re having a little trouble figuring out what’s going on there, Godzilla is blasting Zilla with his atomic breath before tail-suplexing it into Sydney Opera House. All in all the fight lasts literally less than 10 seconds, and a full 3 seconds of that is Godzilla showboating.
In other words, the 1998 Godzilla movie was so bad, when Toho got the rights to the character back, they went out of their way to ensure no fan would ever think the creature in that movie was actually Godzilla by renaming it, then exploded it out of existence in the most visible way possible. Wow, we sure hope the 2014 remake is okay, we dread to think what they’d do if Hollywood messed up a Godzilla move twice, but we’ll bet it would involve a shit-ton of this.