Godzilla – RiffTrax Live Trip Report!

RiffTrax Godzilla
March of Godzilla 2014

I live in a world where I have gone to see 1998’s Godzilla in theaters twice ON PURPOSE! And in between the two showings, I saw a different American Godzilla movie also called Godzilla that was actually good and actually had Godzilla in it! Strange how life works. The original Godzilla viewing back in 98 was on opening weekend, where I convinced all my friends to go and was pretty excited, hoping that this would be another Independence Day-style awesome action film that I would end up seeing three times in the theater (like ID4). But it turned out to be terrible and I still get friends bemoaning that I dragged them to see Godzilla to this day. Godzilla took a lot of flack, from Godzilla looking like an Iguana mutating into Jay Leno to everything else about the film because it’s completely garbage at all levels. Bad acting from some of the leads, Matthew Broderick not being an action star, zero strong female characters, strange director vendettas, confusing action sequences, indiscriminate destruction by the US military, clown college Jurassic Park breaking out in the last third of the film, and CGI that hasn’t aged well. Some CGI was dodgy then, including any scene where we are very very close to Godzilla’s skin (it’s like they didn’t make a high textured skin surface to use for those shots!) or any scene with Godzilla in the water (just embarrassing!)

Godzilla led to a legacy of shame, but in shame there is often great potential. Potential being Godzilla would make a great potential RiffTrax! Thus, a Kickstarter was born. (Disclosure: I meant to donate to this Kickstarter, but I forgot! D’oh!) The Kickstarter was successful enough, they not only got the funds for Godzilla, but they reached the stretch goal of Anaconda as well (out October 30th, more details in a later post!)

As addressed by one of the preshow slides, the most memorable Godzilla quote isn’t even from the film, but from the Taco Bell Dog saying “Here Lizard Lizard Lizard” in commercials. That’s just good commentary.

Some of the preshow slides were awesome, (though a few fell flat). The kaiju nerdy ones were hilarious, but no one in the theater I was at seemed to get them. Also, the theater was more empty than it’s been recently at the RiffTrax events, I don’t know if it was Godzilla scaring them off or what, but that’s how it was.

The length of the film meant we had no time for shorts and little time for banter before the movie, though they did debut their new opening animation, which was cool if a bit long. The riffs were largely on point and hilarious, though there were some sound mixing problems, especially in the first 10-15 minutes, that left a few jokes unheard over the noise of the film. I guess I’ll have to wait for the mp3, though that will mean watching Godzilla yet again (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!) My favorite riffs included how no one likes Echo 3, the Muppets Take Manhattan riff, and the frustration at Emmerich’s coffee and Ebert vendettas. Any time the riffers went all French was also hilarious. Most of the lack of enjoyment stems from the film itself, not the commentary. I would rate it in one of the top five RiffTrax Live events, though that may just be because I’m biased towards giant monster films. That’s forgiving the technical problems.

Speaking of technical problems, the show I was at had the fire alarm go off in the middle of it! This stopped the film, but it was a false alarm so we sat and waited for ten minutes until they could restart the show. I was worried we’d miss a bit, but they rewound so we ended up seeing a few minutes over again, and I got a free pass at the end. I even found a nickel on BART, which means I turned a profit for the night. Finally, Godzilla pays off!

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