Godzilla (1998) (part 8 of 10)
We then cut to Philippe disguised as a US Army soldier, inspecting a row of his men, who are all disguised as soldiers, too. As he makes his way down the line, he pulls a cigarette out of one guy’s mouth, then makes another get rid of the baseball cap he’s wearing under his helmet [!]. The guy who gets rid of his baseball cap is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo by Jean Reno’s co-star from The Professional, Gary Oldman [!!]. And unlike the “George Carlin” appearance, it really is him this time.
Nick walks in, now in camouflage fatigues. He watches as Philippe hands sticks of Juicy Fruit to all of his men. Juicy Fruit, now longer lasting! They all pile into a Jeep, and Nick asks about the gum. Philippe says, “Makes us look more American!” Yeah, and so does appearing in a stupid big-budget action movie, so I guess they’re covering all the bases. Nick looks at all of the Frenchies “comically” chewing gum, then there’s another “comical” bit as Philippe tries to drive the car without putting it in gear. Because French people don’t know how to drive. Or something.
We next find Animal and Audrey sneaking into a building that Animal calls a “vent” that leads to the subway station that Nick and the Frenchies are headed for. Audrey wonders if there’s “rats and stuff” down there, but Animal says he’s more concerned about “big, ugly, nasty, large lizards”. That’s about the most accurate description of this movie’s Godzilla I’ve heard yet.
We next find the Frenchies driving their Jeep up to a gate at one of the tunnels leading into Manhattan. A soldier stops them and asks who they’re with. The French guys just continue to “comically” chew their gum, while Nick attempts to bluff their way in.
The soldier asks Philippe if he has a problem talking, and Philippe responds, “No, sir, I’m fine!” in the worst “Southern” accent I’ve ever heard in my life. The soldier tells them to keep it moving, and Philippe says, “Well, uh, thank ya very much!” See, the joke here is that, as Philippe tells Nick a few seconds later, he learned how to speak English from “Elvis Presley movies! He was the King!” Apparently Jean Reno also learned how to pick movie scripts from Elvis, too.
We next cut to the Colonel getting on the radio to Sgt. O’Neal. O’Neal is in Central Park, near another big pile of fish with spotlights shining on it. He tells the Colonel, “We’re good”, then “humorously” repeats it twice more while sounding more and more uncertain.
Then we find Animal and Audrey getting to the destroyed subway station just a few minutes behind Nick and the Frenchies. Since the Frenchies were in a Jeep, and Animal and Audrey were on foot, there’s no possible way this could have happened, but whatever. Animal and Audrey look down into the Godzilla-created chasm and see the Frenchies way down below, and muse about how to get down there. They spot a subway car that just happens to be tilted at the perfect angle to allow them to get to that level quickly. Also, it’s at the perfect angle to remind me of the ten-hour “trailer hanging over a cliff” sequence in The Lost World.
Animal accidentally kicks a can down the subway car, crying out “Ah, geez!” in his Moe voice again. Nick hears the rattling of the can and tells the Frenchies to stop. Then there’s groans and the ground starts shaking, and we immediately cut to another blatant Jurassic Park swipe as the vibrations cause ripples [!!] in a puddle of water. Good God, why not just put Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in this movie and have Matthew Broderick wax poetic about lysine deficiencies?
Animal and Audrey climb down the subway car, but the vibrations continue. Suddenly, a big Godzilla head crashes through the tunnel wall somewhere near the Frenchies. Hey, perfect timing, dude! They all stare at it dumbly for a while, until hiding in a nearby access tunnel and escaping danger Independence Day-style. The creature lumbers past, and is now dramatically smaller than when it was earlier dwarfing skyscrapers.
Godzilla then crawls over in the direction of Audrey and Animal. Instead of standing there and staring at it dumbly, Animal does one better by standing there and filming it dumbly. Again. Eventually, the two of them hide behind some rocks as Godzilla passes.
Meanwhile, Nick sees the hole that Godzilla left and announces to the rest, “I guess we go this way!” And, of course, all the Frenchies follow him, no questions asked. Anyway, Godzilla makes it back to the surface, and of course, suddenly it’s raining again. I’m thinking that Godzilla actually expands in water, because now he’s suddenly his huge size again, and some soldiers spot him lumbering down the street. Sgt. O’Neal gets word of this, and true to form, he has an anxiety attack as he orders his men into “combat positions!”
We briefly cut to the Colonel monitoring Godzilla’s movements on a radar screen, and the text on the screen calls this “Operation Old Chum”. Sorta cute, I guess. We see Godzilla get to the edge of Central Park, and Sgt. O’Neal reminds his men not to shoot until Godzilla is inside the park and clear of all the buildings.
Sgt O’Neal looks at Godzilla and is again awestruck. Sorry, but if your movie can’t inspire a sense of awe, having the actors pretend just isn’t going to work. The men just sit and wait as Godzilla stands on the outside of the park forever, just staring at the pile of fish.
Godzilla then roars, and O’Neal, since he’s been waiting a whole two minutes and everything, gets impatient and decides that Godzilla is “leaving” and just orders his men to blast away. This then prompts Godzilla to flee in the other direction, which of course causes all the missiles and ammunition to destroy nearby buildings instead.
The helicopters suddenly come out in full force against Godzilla, as he goes on another rampage through the city. Some soldiers on the ground fire missiles, and Godzilla again does that clever “ducking out of the way” maneuver. This forces several chopper pilots to use evasive maneuvers to avoid getting hit. Naturally, the missiles hit some other random skyscraper and completely destroy it.
Soon, the Colonel sees on the tracking screen that Godzilla is getting to the edge of Manhattan. Then we watch Godzilla jump over a highway like a hurdle and dive into the Hudson River. Astonishingly, almost no water gets splashed up as this huge behemoth plunges into the river. Honestly, I think Mayor Ebert would have kicked up more waves.
It appears Godzilla has completely disappeared into the river, and everyone in the Command Center is bummed out until they realize that the United States has a Navy, too. Sure enough, a random Navy Brass Guy promises “something waiting for” Godzilla down below, and it’s not a blanket and a steaming hot cup of cocoa. Under the waves, we see three submarines begin to track and pursue Godzilla. Navy Brass Guy gets on the phone with the submarine commanders to tell them to prepare to fire.
One sub commander apparently decides not to waste time actually waiting for the order to fire, because he immediately shoots a torpedo. Of course, Godzilla swiftly swims out of the way with the greatest of ease. So, another sub decides to take a shot, and Godzilla easily ducks this one, too. It appears that both torpedoes fired so far are heat-seeking, since they both immediately come around and pursue Godzilla. Now, didn’t we learn a lesson earlier about using heat-seeking missiles? Something to do with the Chrysler Building. I’m forgetting.
Suddenly, Godzilla decides to head right for the third submarine. The sub tries to initiate defensive maneuvers, but it’s too late. Godzilla hits the sub, scraping the bottom with his Stegosaurus-type ridges, causing water to flood the submarine. The two heat-seeking missiles that were following Godzilla predictably hit the sub and completely blow it to smithereens. This gives us a shot of water being blown up from the Hudson River. Oh, now I remember. Heat-seeking missiles are useless against Godzilla, because he’s colder than the things surrounding him. Silly me, huh? Now, why didn’t any of the Military Brass Guys remember that?
Anyway, Godzilla is headed back towards Manhattan, so the two remaining subs give chase and fire more torpedoes at him. Godzilla slams into the dirt shelf underneath Manhattan as the torpedoes hit the dirt on either side of him and explode, and the sub commanders report direct hits. Back in the Command Center, suddenly everyone’s hugging and shaking hands and congratulating each other like there isn’t another half hour left to this movie.
We get a shot of Godzilla underwater, floating lifelessly along. Of course, it’s kind of hard not to notice that, at the very least, his arms are still moving. Aw shucks, and here I was really hoping the last half hour would be all about how Nick and Audrey patch things up and start planning their wedding.