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Godzilla 2000
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Length:1 Hour 39 Minutes
Cast:Takao Okawara, Takehiro Murata, Shiro Sano, Hiroshi Abe

Japan's resident monster star -- and everybody's favorite giant lizard -- enters the new millennium in this elaborate, effects-studded vehicle, a kitschy delight that ranks with the best of his 23 feature-film outings. As the film opens, Godzilla has surfaced near the island of Hokkaido, where he's spotted by leading man Takehiro Murata -- a technician working for the Godzilla Prediction Network (an early-warning system designed to minimize civilian casualties). Government official Hiroshi Abe targets the rampaging reptile for destruction, but he changes his tune when a long-buried UFO rises from the sea and begins wreaking havoc: Only Godzilla, annoyed by this encroachment on his turf, can successfully engage the aliens in battle. Obviously committed to replicating the classic Godzilla movies of yore, director Takao Okawaro doesn't waste much footage on plot or characterization: Once he sets the scene, the human actors simply stand by and watch our hero do his thing. Sophisticated special effects (including computer imagery) are occasionally employed, but the lovable lizard still looks like a rubber-suited actor tromping on miniature Tinkertoy buildings. The American distributor has further enhanced Godzilla 2000 with lots of corny dialogue, making this old-fashioned monster movie an often hilarious romp. Ed Hulse

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