‘One Big Reason’ is a bi-weekly series where I take a look at some of the blockbuster films we love to hate and find one redeeming quality that makes it worth another watch.
This week's pick: the 1998 remake of #Godzilla.
#RolandEmmerich is well known for being what many call the ‘disaster movie’ director, having directed some of my personal favorites: The Patriot, Stargate and #IndependenceDay. But not all disaster movies are created equal, and he's also had some extremely disappointing films such as The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, and 2012. However, though his interpretation of Godzilla may not have been what fans were clamoring for, it deserves credit for one reason—or rather, character—in particular.
There were quite a few memorable characters from this film including Matthew Broderick’s performance as an NRC Biologist Dr. Nick Tatopoulos, Kevin Dunn as Colonel Hicks, and Hank Azaria as Victor the cameraman. While those performances brought a fun vibe to this monster movie, it wasn’t until we were introduced to Frenchman Phillipe Roaché (Jean Reno) that the film really picked up.
The Frenchman Had A Reason For Being There
After the classified information is leaked on live television by Nick’s former girlfriend Audrey (Maria Pitillo), he is fired from the research operation. Nick is then “kidnapped” by a supposed insurance agent who then reveals himself to be a part of the French Secret Service. Believing Nick’s assumptions that there are kaiju eggs hidden somewhere in Manhattan, Philippe forms a taskforce with his other agents to track the eggs down.
The French had been keeping close tabs on American research ever since the nuclear tests had taken place. It's revealed that their country was partly responsible for creating the monster, so they intend to cover up any data that leads back to France being responsible. It was solely by the strength of Reno's performance that this somewhat strange storyline worked.
Philippe Roaché Had The Most Memorable Moments From The Film
Phillipe Roaché also had some of the more memorable scenes in the largely unforgettable movie, hilarious moments that stuck with audiences. One thing Emmerich did very well with this film was maintaining its sense of tone. The humor stayed consistent with the movie and Roaché had the lion's share of the best lines. Check out some of the funnier moments including his meeting with the United States Army:
Apparently there’s something about chewing gum that makes anyone appear more American. Not only that, but Philippe putting on an Elvis Presley accent is priceless.
Here’s another scene that’s also great:
Presumed dead, Godzilla reappears after its babies have been destroyed by missiles. When Victor asks Philippe what they should do, he doesn’t hesitate to state the obvious: "Running would be a good idea." As a line, it's a cliché; as a delivery, it's perfect.
The Final Minutes Of The Movie Are A Rush of Adrenaline
Once again we were all treated to some great scenes involving Roaché. Shortly before the eggs begin to hatch, Philippe informs his team to "stop counting" after witnessing more than 200 hundred eggs in the Garden. Unfortunately his men didn’t bring enough bombs to blow them all up so they are left to use up what they can. They come across the eggs as they are about to hatch and this happens:
Most of the French team is killed during this encounter, but thankfully the major characters, including Philippe, makes it out alive. It’s a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish as the characters barely avoid becoming dinner for some of Godzilla’s babies.
And, of course, Philippe had all the best lines. If you’re going to watch for one reason and one reason only, it should be for the characters, especially the French Secret Service and doubly especially for Philippe Roaché.
Do you think the characters in Godzilla make the film worth a second chance? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!