Make all the ”cheesy giant monster movie” jokes you want. At a matinee of Godzilla 2000, I listened as the audience cheered the Toho Pictures logo, and the movie stays true, with a kind of demented affection, to the atomic age pop that inspired those cheers. Once again, the image of a man in a rubbery, barnacle skinned dinosaur suit stomping an insanely detailed miniature Tokyo lands on an imaginative fault line somewhere between tackiness and awe.
The ”Godzilla” films are really ingeniously thrifty spectacles of scale, and this one is most arresting when the great nuclear beast is glimpsed in the water from far above, as he’s bombarded by missiles, or when he’s battling a spaceship that’s like a giant aerodynamic bedpan. It must take teams of writers to come up with dialogue that hits the perfect note of gee whiz ineptitude (”Did you see that flying rock go by? It’s unbelievable!”). Then again, the dubbing could make Shakespeare sound brain dead.