Sunday, May 20, 2012

Movie Review: Godzilla '98

           I understand how there is a lot of flak directed at the movie I’m reviewing today, but seeing as how I’ve always felt affection for the film, I really don’t care.  Today’s review is all about the movie that has been unofficially dubbed Godzilla ’98.   
         As I’ve just said, I do like this movie, but does that mean it’s a guilty pleasure of mine?  Well, I personally don’t see any reason for me to refer to Godzilla ’98 as a ‘guilty pleasure,’ because that phase implies that I have a certain level of guilt or shame for liking the movie, and I’d be embarrassed to admit it in public.  However, I don’t feel ashamed of liking it.  Not even close.  I like this movie, and I don’t care who knows it.  I don’t see any reason why I should be ashamed of liking this movie, even if it is widely criticized.  Maybe my brain was wired differently, but I’ve always felt that you should be allowed to like what you like, regardless of what others say.
            The movie’s opening prologue is quite inventive, as far as I’m concerned.  It’s made to look like an old government film reel.  Considering that the French National Anthem is initially playing in the background, it’s probably a safe bet that the film reel in question is the property of the French government.  Anyway, as the film reel plays, we see French government agents performing a test of a nuclear bomb, with one of the French Polynesian islands being used as the test site.  Although, the film reel also contains various images of marine iguanas swimming, lounging around on the beach, or tending to their eggs (even though I think there’s a shot of a monitor lizard thrown in there for a second or two).  Obviously, this is meant to show that the star monster in this movie is a marine iguana that was exposed to the radioactive fallout of these nuclear tests.  This is further implied as the prologue reaches its conclusion, with the camera focusing on a particular marine iguana egg.  And that brings us to what I personally think is a rather awesome scene transition.  As we focus on this egg, a crack forms in the egg, indicating that the egg is hatching.  Well, this crack in the egg is quite seamlessly overlapped with a lightning bolt, which brings us into the first scene in the main portion of the movie.  If you want to see this opening for yourself, just check out the YouTube video I found below.

Before I go on, I feel as if I should bring this up.  I’ve already stated that I like this movie.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t notice a few problems with it.  For starters, I do have one nitpick about this prologue.  It’s about the marine iguana thing.  To be honest, I have absolutely no problem with the Godzilla in this movie being a mutant marine iguana.  While fans of the classic Godzilla movies from Japan may flame me brutally for this, I actually prefer this version of Godzilla because I think it makes much more sense for Godzilla to be mutated from an animal that's alive today than for him to be some sort of mutant dinosaur..  Especially since dinosaurs were supposed to have died out eons ago.  For Godzilla to have been a dinosaur, he would either have to be immortal or there would have had to be a rather sizable breeding population that survived all this time and managed to avoid detection from the human race.  Both possibilities seem hard for me to swallow, especially when you also make this dinosaur a mutant to boot.  In addition, when you actually see this version of Godzilla later on, there are still some elements of the marine iguana in the creature’s design and movements, particularly in the scenes when Godzilla is shown swimming.  However, like I said, I do have one tiny nitpick: as far as I know, marine iguanas do not exist in French Polynesia.  They can only be found on the Galapagos Islands, roughly 5,679 kilometers away.  So for Godzilla to be a mutated marine iguana, it would have made more sense to have the nuclear test site be located in the Galapagos.  However, if the movie writers had done it that way, they probably still would have still faced some heated backlash because there were never any nuclear tests done on the Galapagos, possibly because of the high number of rare plant and animal species that can only be found on those islands.  French Polynesia, on the other hand, actually did serve as a nuclear test site in the past.  So to be fair, the people who came up with the movie’s back-story were stuck either way.  Thus, I suppose I can cut them some slack.  After all, it’s a movie about a giant mutated creature.  If we only allowed the movies that had absolutely no factual inconsistencies to be filmed, the number of titles available in this genre would probably be pretty scarce.
Anyway, back to the movie.  As I said earlier, the egg hatching/lightning bolt overlap serves as a transition to the South Pacific Ocean, where a Japanese fishing boat is sailing along in the middle of a storm.  One of the Japanese fishermen is busy eating what looks like Udon noodles while watching a Sumo wrestling match on a portable TV, but he is interrupted when the ship’s radar picks up something approaching their fishing boat rather fast.  Despite the crew’s efforts to warn off this incoming vessel via radio, the object collides with the fishing boat.  Immediately after the collision, a gigantic set of claws pierces the side of the boat, and an equally-large tail crashes into the window of the ship’s control room.
Here, there is an instant transition to Chernobyl, where we get our first glimpse of our movie’s main hero.  This is Nick Tatopoulos, a young biologist who is studying the lasting effects of the famous nuclear meltdown on the resident earthworms.  Nick also keeps quite a few pictures of a young woman in the back of his truck.  This woman will later be revealed as Nick’s long-lost college girlfriend, whom he hasn’t seen or spoken to in eight years.  Anyway, as Nick is gathering up his earthworm test subjects, which he’s coaxed to the surface with the use of jumper cables and steel rods, one of those Chinook helicopters lands nearby, and a bunch of gun-wielding GIs run out, collecting Nick’s equipment.  Nick is then informed by some guy from the US state department that he has just been reassigned. 
Elsewhere, in Tahiti, a mysterious man enters this one-story hospital and has a brief conversation with someone in French.  As we’ll learn later, Mystery Man is called Philippe Roaché.  Anyway, Philippe is brought into a hospital room where the sole survivor from that Japanese fishing boat is lying in bed, seemingly in a state of traumatized shock.  At Philippe’s request, the doctors try asking the survivor what he saw, but it’s not until Philippe whips out a lighter and holds the flame near the man’s hands that the survivor snaps out of his paralyzed state to utter just one word: ‘Gojira.’
Back to Nick, who is on a plane that’s landing in Panama.  He’s immediately approached by Colonel Hicks, whom Nick regales all about his study of the Chernobyl earthworm.  He finishes off by telling Hicks that he only studies nuclear samples.  Hicks responds by gesturing to the ground and saying ‘here’s your sample, study it’.  Nick is confused for a while, but after about a minute, he realizes that he’s actually standing inside a humongous footprint.

After Nick realizes this, he is promptly introduced to Dr. Elsie Chapman and Dr. Mendel Craven, two other experts who have been called in to be part of the research team.  Dr. Craven reveals a tape that the French have just released to the American military, which shows images of the remains of the Japanese fishing ship we saw being attacked earlier, as well as the survivor muttering ‘Gojira.’
The scene then changes to New York City, where we get to meet Audrey, the girl from Nick’s photographs.  Audrey is an aspiring reporter who is hoping to get picked for a job with a higher-up named Humphries, a job that may very well help kick start her career as a reporter.  She approaches her boss, Charles Caiman, whom she has been working for as an assistant for the past three years, and asks him if he could put in a good word for her.  However, Caiman is one of those sleezeball bosses who sees nothing wrong with objectifying women and pretty much tells Audrey that he’ll suggest her to Humphries if she has sex with him.  Audrey turns him down without hesitation, but for some reason, doesn’t think to report this little exhibit of sexual harassment in the workplace.  While I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about how news stations are run, I’m sure they do have some people on the payroll who are paid to deal with preventing other employees from getting away with stuff like this.
While this is going on, the research team/military arrives in Jamaica, where the remains of a fishing boat has washed up on shore.  I’m not sure if this is the same boat from the beginning of the movie or a completely new one, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  Colonel Hicks notices some French-speaking people standing around the site.  When he asks a random army man who these people are, he is instantly approached by Philippe, who announces that they’re with an insurance company and are preparing a report.  Meanwhile, Nick has found something lining the gaping holes in the boat’s hull.  To be honest, I can never make out what exactly it is that he finds, regardless of how many times I see this movie.  Maybe it’s supposed to be the skin from the monster or something?  I don’t really know.  Regardless of what it is, he collects some of it as a sample.  As he’s doing this, however, he notices Philippe is standing nearby, giving him a dark look.
Sometime later, Nick is studying the sample he found on the fishing boat in Jamaica.  After the military receives word that a trio of fishing boats was pulled underwater by an unseen entity, somewhere off the US Eastern Seaboard, Elsie suggests that the creature they’re tracking could be an Allosaurus of some kind.  (Yet, she doesn't have an answer to the obvious question that Mendel points out: where would an Allosaur hide all this time?)  Nick, however, has his own theory.  He reminds the others about how at all the sites where the creature was sighted, Geiger counters had picked up significant radiation readings.  Believing that this is more than just a coincidence, Nick announces his belief that the creature was created by the radiation fallout on French Polynesia.
Back in New York, Audrey is having lunch at a diner with her friend and coworker, Lucy, as well as Lucy’s cameraman husband, who usually goes by the nickname ‘Animal.’  While I’m not sure why this guy decided to share a name with a Muppet, that’s what everyone seems to call him in this movie.  Come to think of it, out of all the characters in this movie, only Lucy seems to call him by his real name of Victor.
As they’re eating lunch, Audrey vents to her two friends about Caiman’s ‘offer’.  Lucy and Animal respond by preaching to Audrey about how she’s just too nice, and how her natural kindness is holding her back as a reporter.  Animal even uses that old ‘nice guys finish last’ line to back up their argument that you have to be ruthless to get ahead.  Really, Animal and Lucy?  That’s your big advice to your friend after her boss violated the sexual harassment policies and asked for a sexual favor?  Honestly, ‘nice guys finish last?’  While I know that’s a saying as old as dirt, I’ve never met someone who’ll actually use it as a founding principle in real life.  What’s next?  Approaching a woman who was just date-raped and saying ‘oh, boys will be boys?’  Why is no one planning a visit to the newsroom’s personnel department to report this occurrence of quid pro quo?
Anyway, while Lucy and Animal are continuing being passé about the subject matter, Audrey notices the TV screen in the diner, which is currently showing a news broadcast about what’s been going on in Panama and Jamaica.  Audrey is stunned upon seeing that Nick in the news report, and is in the company of the military to boot.
 Meanwhile, at one of the piers located on the Battery Park end of Manhattan (I think that’s where we are now), some poor shlump is going fishing in the East River, despite his friends heckling him.  Seconds after he sits down and casts his line, he gets a bite.  However, the fishing pole is quickly pulled from his hands, and a large swell appears in the water, moving quickly at the dock, which is torn apart upon impact.  Ladies and gentlemen, the movie’s big monster, Godzilla herself, has just arrived in New York.  (And yes, I choose to refer to this Godzilla as female.  Why you might ask?  Well, I have two reasons.  The first reason will be touched upon later, but the second reason is because of a desire to try and even up the playing field a bit.  Maybe I’m alone, but I’m a bit irritated about how the majority of movie monsters automatically get classified as male.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of one movie monster that’s officially viewed as female, and that is Mothra.  While I realize I might be coming across as a feminist extremist here, next time you watch a monster movie, stop and ask yourself if you’re thinking of the featured monster in that movie as male or female.)
What follows are various scenes of Godzilla making her way through the city streets, and the New Yorkers running away in a panic.  During these scenes, we see Mayor Ebert making a public speech, hoping to get re-elected, only to be interrupted by Godzilla as she continues to make her way through the city.  While I know all about how Mayor Ebert and his aide were put into this movie in order to spoof the well-renowned movie critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, I honestly would not have made that connection if I hadn’t been told about it straight out.  Call me dense if you will.
Back with Audrey and company, Audrey is telling Lucy and Animal about her history with Nick, including how they were together for nearly four years, and how Nick even proposed.  Like Mayor Ebert’s speech, their conversation is also interrupted when Godzilla walks by.  As everyone else in the restaurant reacts in panic and fear, Animal runs out to the news van and grabs his camera, running after the creature in order to capture her on film.  He gets his shot, but is very nearly stepped on.  Thankfully, he is survives, as he happened to be standing between Godzilla’s toes.


A while later, the research team/military arrives in New Jersey, where they are informed by Sergeant O’Neil that the entire island of Manhattan is currently being evacuated, and that Godzilla has somehow disappeared.  While it is asked in the movie how the giant mutant could have just disappeared, I think the answer is rather obvious.  I mean, I can’t be the only one to realize how the city is filled with a conveniently high number  of subway tunnels that Godzilla could hide out in.  Even if Godzilla isn’t there, Manhattan is a concrete island surrounded by water.  I imagine it’ll be very easy for the creature to create a makeshift underwater cavern beneath the city.  After all, the water surrounding Manhattan is supposed to be murky enough that no one would be able to see Godzilla doing something like that.
Anyway, Audrey, realizing that Nick is with the research team that keeps appearing in the news, tries to tell Caiman that she has a connection on the inside.  Of course, Caiman dismisses her without even listening.  Understandably frustrated, Audrey secretly swipes Caiman’s news-reporter badge.  With Lucy’s help, she manages to affix her own picture on the badge to make it appear like she’s a genuine reporter, enabling her to go out and prove herself in the field.
As the evacuation of Manhattan continues, Mayor Ebert makes his way to join up with the research team/military, but en route, he is approached by Philippe, who secretly affixes a tiny microphone to the mayor’s coat.  It turns out that Philippe is actually a member of the French secret service, and he and his team of agents are keeping tabs on what the American military are doing, using the microphone on Mayor Ebert’s coat to eavesdrop.  They’ve even got one of those cool portable spy rooms disguised as a UPS truck.  And while this is ingenious of Philippe to bug the mayor, and that he’s no doubt well-practiced enough to pull it off without Mayor Ebert noticing, I still think someone would have happened to notice the microphone.  Maybe everyone was too focused on the issue with Godzilla to chance a glance at the back of Mayor Ebert’s neck?
As they search for Godzilla, Nick suggests to Hicks that instead of combing Manhattan in a long and possibly fruitless search, perhaps it would be beneficial to draw Godzilla out into the open.  They figure out, based on how the creature had attacked multiple boats involved in the fishing industry, that Godzilla is a piscivore.  They create a large bait pile of fish in the middle of the city and form waiting stations around the fish pile.  In an attempt to ensure that the creature will smell the fish, Nick helps some military men remove the manhole covers.  The plan works a bit too nicely, and the instant Nick removes the last manhole cover, Godzilla bursts out from below the street, right in front of the young biologist.  What follows is what I consider to be a really awesome scene in which Godzilla and Nick have a brief interaction.  I particularly like it because when I see it, I get my very first impression that Godzilla might have near-human intelligence.  I tried to find the clip for this interaction online, since my expertise in loading my own movie clips onto my computer are sorely lacking, but unfortunately, I had no luck in finding the clip.  If you have better luck than I did, I would appreciate it if you gave me a link.
Following this encounter, Godzilla then proceeds to the fish pile and begins to eat.  Before she can finish her meal, the military immediately starts shooting their guns and missile launchers.  So, it’s no surprise that Godzilla turns and runs off, with military planes in hot pursuit.  After a long chase sequence, Godzilla manages to cleverly turn the tides and one-by-one, she destroys the helicopters and escapes.
Now, this brings me to the bit that enrages me the most about this movie.  And when I say this bit enrages me, I am not exaggerating.  Every time I think about the scene I’m about to discuss, I very nearly grind my teeth in anger.  After Godzilla has destroyed all the army helicopters that had been pursuing her and went back into hiding, O’Neil has an aside-talk with Nick, in which O’Neil states that Godzilla did all this damage, and they never did anything to Godzilla. You know something O’Neil?  You’re a bloody moron!  You say you did nothing to Godzilla?  Were you out getting popcorn for the past few minutes?  Or are you simply just too mentally challenged to realize that Godzilla only got aggressive AFTER you started shooting at her?  If some obnoxious punk popped up and started firing missiles and bullets at me when I was simply enjoying a nice fish dinner, I think I would be well within in my rights to retaliate.  How much you want to bet that O’Neil was one of those awful kids who would constantly harass and bully his classmates, and then would run to the teacher to act like he was the completely innocent victim when the classmate he was bullying had enough and decked him one?  I think it goes without saying that I completely despise this O’Neil character.
Moving away from the crappy character and back to the storyline, Audrey is taking advantage of her fake reporter ID badge in order to slip behind the civilian barrier that the military had set up.  She spots Nick stepping into a drugstore and summons up enough courage to approach him.  Insert awkward-meeting-after-eight-years here.  While Nick admits he’s still a bit angry at Audrey for walking out on him without a goodbye or explanation, he still invites her back to his military-issued research tent for some coffee.  As they talk and catch up, Nick performs tests on a sample of Godzilla’s blood, which he must have obtained after the military’s current attack on the giant mutant.  He determines, using the pregnancy tests he purchased from the drug store, that Godzilla’s blood contains hormone patterns that suggest she is either about to lay eggs, or has done so very recently.   

And that is the other reason I refer to this Godzilla as a female.  Even though it’s theorized that Godzilla is asexual in this movie, for all we know, that’s only a theory that no one really has the means to put to the test.  And besides, Godzilla lays eggs in this movie.  In the wide world of nature, there is only animal species that has the eggs laid by the male, and that animal is the seahorse.  Since Godzilla does not resemble the seahorse in any shape or form, I’m going to go along with the pattern and declare her a female. 
Now, I’m sure you’re probably asking how Nick thought to test Godzilla’s blood for pregnancy.  While this angle does seem to come completely out of left field in the actual movie, the novelization written by Stephen Molstad does expand on Nick’s thought process beforehand, and what led him to considering the possibility in the first place.  After Nick hurries out to confirm his findings and inform the rest of the research team, Audrey stumbles across the military’s tape that contains the footage of Godzilla’s path through Panama and Jamaica, as well as the Japanese sailor muttering ‘Gojira’.  Taking advantage of Nick’s absence, Audrey steals the tape and uses the footage on the tape to create a news report to air on TV that night, in the hopes that doing so will finally help her launch the reporter job she’s been wanting for years.  However, Caiman, being the slime ball that he is, manages to steal Audrey’s report and presents it as his own, much to Audrey’s dismay.  In addition, the military has been keeping tabs on all current broadcasts and monitoring the news reports.  As a result, they also see the report that contains the top-secret footage.  When the news report mentions Nick by name, the military concludes that he went to the press with the story and immediately boots him off the research team.  As Nick packs his gear into a taxi, a remorseful Audrey approaches him and tries to apologize for taking the tape and betraying his trust.  Nick, however, gives her the cold shoulder, getting into the taxi to leave for the airport.  Much to Nick’s confusion, the taxi he’s taken doesn’t bring him to the airport like he'd requested.  It’s revealed that the person driving the taxi is actually Philippe.  After revealing to Nick his true identity as an operative of the French Secret Service, Philippe brings him to their headquarters, telling him that the American military is not going to heed Nick’s warning and look for Godzilla’s nest.  Philippe and his agents, however, intend to do just that, in order to help clean up the mess their country made during their nuclear testing on French Polynesia.  Nick agrees to help the French agents find the nest.
Unbeknownst to Nick, Philippe and the other French agents, Audrey’s friend, Animal, had witnessed the earlier exchange between Nick and Audrey, and had followed after the taxi hoping to try and convince Nick to forgive Audrey.  After spying on Nick forming an alliance with Philippe and his team, he goes back to fetch Audrey.  He tells her about what he witnessed and explains that he’s going after them, telling her that she should come along and redeem herself by helping Nick prove that he was right about Godzilla’s nest.
Meanwhile, the military has another go in luring Godzilla into the open with the use of a fish pile.  This time, however, while Godzilla does appear, she clearly remembers what happened last time and refuses to come into the open.  Instead, she slips away into the Hudson River.  But apparently, someone in the military anticipated this outcome, and had arranged for a few submarines to be ready and waiting.  The submarines fire torpedoes, but Godzilla cleverly evades the torpedoes, even manages to trick some of the torpedoes into hitting and destroying one of the submarines, by using one of the oldest maneuvers in the book.  Unfortunately, two other torpedoes take advantage of Godzilla’s attempts to burrow back under Manhattan underwater, and hit her dead on.  Thus, it appears Godzilla has been successfully killed.
While all this has been going on, Nick and the French agents have discovered Godzilla’s nest, which is located in what used to be Madison Square Gardens.  It is only now that they discover that, instead of the earlier estimated number of only around 12 mutant eggs, there are actually over 200 of them.  The French agents start affixing explosives to the eggs, but quickly realize they don’t have enough for all the eggs.  That doesn’t matter, however, because the eggs start hatching right then and there.  Nick and Philippe, realizing that they and the other French agents all smell like the fish that Mama Godzilla left lying around for her babies sometime earlier, decide to make a run for it before the baby Godzillas follow their piscivore instincts, but two of the French agents, Jean-Philippe and Jean-Pierre, don’t make it.  Philippe instructs Nick to get out of Madison Square Gardens while he and the other two surviving agents, Jean-Luc and Jean-Claude, hold the baby Godzillas inside.  But despite their best efforts, Jean-Luc and Jean-Claude also meet a grizzly end.  In addition, Nick finds every exit out of Madison Square blocked by the baby Godzillas, and is forced to rejoin Philippe.   
As soon as Nick and Philippe reunite, they discover Animal and Audrey, who have also successfully located the nest and managed to evade the baby Godzillas.  Audrey announces that she knows how to contact the people on the outside, and leads them up to the Gardens’ control room, explaining that the news station she works for often covers the Ranger games.  And for those of you who enjoy movie Easter eggs, make sure to keep your eyes peeled during the scenes when the heroes are inside the Gardens’ control room.  Atop one of the computer monitors is a plastic figurine of one of the Independence Day Aliens.  (For the select few who may not already know, this movie was directed by the same man who brought us Independence Day two years prior.)
Audrey manages to contact Ed, a tech from the news station.  With the help of Animal’s coercing, she manages to convince Ed to help them create a live news broadcast.  Using the live broadcast, Nick and Audrey manages to tell everyone in the city, including the members of the military, about the baby Godzillas, instructing the military to destroy Madison Square Gardens to keep the babies from escaping into the city.  The military responds by telling Nick and company that they have exactly 11 minutes to get out before they bomb the Gardens.  While they cut it extremely close, the four of them successfully get out in time.
For a few seconds, it appears like the movie is over, with Nick and Audrey deciding to tentatively pick up where they left off eight years ago.  But then, Mama Godzilla reappears, revealing she had somehow survived the torpedo attack.  When she finds the motionless bodies of her offspring, she reacts with well-called-for fury.  Seeing as how Nick, Audrey, Animal and Philippe are the only people present, she takes it out on them and proceeds to chase after them, with the heroes commandeering a taxi that Philippe quickly hotwires.  With the use of some quick thinking, Nick manages to contact O’Neil using the taxi’s radio, and together, they come up with a plan.   Philippe leads Godzilla to the Brooklyn Bridge, where she becomes entangled in the suspension cables.  Now that Godzilla is restrained, the military F-14 are able to gun her down, this time for good. 

As the city celebrates the demise of Godzilla, Philippe slips away unnoticed, and Audrey informs Caiman that she’s quitting as she walks off with Nick.  But the movie’s not quite over yet.  In a brief epilogue, we return to the burning remains of Madison Square Gardens, just in time to see one remaining Godzilla egg, which managed to survive the bombing unscathed.  As the camera focuses on this egg, it the baby Godzilla inside emerges.  And that’s when the movie officially ends and the credits begin.  

While I’ve mentioned repeatedly that I like this movie and don’t really get why it was so poorly received, there were quite a few bits that even rubbed me the wrong way, all of which I think I covered in this review.  Plus, the ongoing joke of people constantly butchering Nick’s last name does get old rather fast.  Especially since Tatopoulos doesn’t look like a name that would be particularly difficult to pronounce.  It’s not like it’s anything like Mrs. Zbygn, A.K.A Mrs. Thing, from episode 20 of the British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances.  But all that aside, I think the movie did quite good.  I can't help but wonder if one of the reasons why this movie is so reviled is because a lot of people try comparing it to the original Godzilla movie from 1954.  I think that's a really silly thing to do.  It's like trying to compare DreamWorks' Prince of Egypt to the 1956 film, The Ten Commandments, especially since Prince of Egypt wasn't trying to be like Ten Commandments.  Likewise, Godzilla '98 appeared to be trying to create its own story and mythos.  At least, that's the way I interpreted it.
Regardless of the reportedly poor reviews this movie received, it was still popular enough to inspire an animated TV show, simply entitled Godzilla: the Animated Series, which lasted for two years on Fox Kids.   

The two-part pilot episode was an immediate sequel to the movie, and it showed how Nick discovered the egg that survived the bombing of Madison Square Gardens, and how the baby mutant hatches and immediately imprints on Nick, ‘adopting’ the biologist as his parent.  The duration of the series focused on how Nick formed a team of researchers/adventures, which consisted of himself, Elsie Chapman, Mendel Craven, and two new characters, Randy Hernandez, a teen computer hacker, and Monique Dupré, a French operative who was instructed by Philippe Roaché to ‘supervise’ the new Godzilla.  Each episode had the team battling an assortment of giant mutants with Godzilla's aid.  Overall, the show did quite well, and was quite mature in terms of kids programs of the era.  The monsters were creative, the plots and subplots entertaining, and there was even a nice blend of action, adventure and pseudo-science thrown into the mix.  Some episodes focused on things like aliens, experimental bio-weapons and nanotechnology.  There were even episodes that featured the legendary Loch Ness monster and Area 51.  One of the most epic of the episodes, however, was the season 2 premiere, which had the protagonists somehow traveling through time and finding themselves in a post-apcoalyptic future, in which the human race had been driven to near-extinction by creatures called Dragmas, which were originally created by a technophobic scientist who wanted to put an end to mankind’s over-reliance on technology.  Unfortunately, despite the show’s success, the animated TV series met its downfall in the mist of the infamous war between the rival Anime shows, Pokémon and Digimon.  Godzilla: the Animated Series was continuously being shoved into different timeslots to accommodate the Digimon marathons and back-to-back episodes.  In the end, GTS was removed from the air, with three episodes that were never broadcast.  Thankfully, the show lives on in the hearts of the still-loyal fans, as well as three DVD releases, and a rare VHS tape called Trouble Hatches, which contains the two-part pilot episode.  (How rare are we talking?  Well, over on Amazon, the cheapest copy of this tape is $456.95, so that should give you some frame of reference.)  In addition, I've even heard that the entire series is available through the Netflix Instant Streaming service, so if you have the chance, by all means, check it out.

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