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[whitespace] Hot in the City: Godzilla blazes through town in his 23rd big-screen appearance.

Monster Mishmash

Toho's latest 'Godzilla' release is better than the American copy, but still not the best ever

By Richard von Busack

IT IS GOOD TO SEE HIM on the big screen again. But, this is not the best of the new wave of Toho Movies starring the surprisingly ambiguous giant Godzilla. Compared some of the other releases since Godzilla '85 (particularly Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) it's pitched low. And the star of the show disappears for most of the middle of the film, in favor of a mysterious alien spacecraft that looks like a colossal wireless computer mouse. Still, Godzilla 2000 is better than the much-hyped American imposter than showed up a couple of summers ago. This edition shows the supremacy in depth and color and tangibility of model work over much of the computer graphics today. The tiny false cities the Toho craftsmen make as G's stomping grounds are intricate delights. The monster slowly walks toward a city set against coppery skies and clouds that have the unreal and yet real look of a terrible storm brewing in the skies. The plot is the old '50s science vs. military dilemma: a scruffy biologist (Takehiro Murata) who wants to study the creature squares off against Hiroshi Abe, a hard-nosed bastard who wants to wipe him out. Seeing the big creature tormented by missiles is a strangely painful sight: you are seeing an animal mistreated, after all. The dubbing gets some cheap laughs, but the amped-up profanity may be too much for some kids.

Godzilla 2000 (PG; 99 min.) directed by Takao Okawara, written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara and Wataru Mimura, photographed by Katsuhiro Kato, and starring Takehiro Murata and Hiroshi Abe, plays in Santa Cruz at Santa Cruz Cinema 9; in Scotts Valley at Scotts Valley 6 Cinemas; In Watsonville at the Fox Theatre.

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From the August 23-30, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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