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Godzilla by Jeff Gouda

DIE HARD FANS - BEWARE!

He's big. He's mean. He won't let anyone stop him.

No, I am not talking about Rush Limbaugh at an all you can eat buffet. I am talking, of course, about the newest resident of New York City, Godzilla, making his first appearance on American shores in over 15 years. Unless you've been camped out on Monster Island, you know that Godzilla will be roaring into just about every theater under the rising sun this Memorial Day.

In Sony Pictures' interpretation of Japan's most beloved monster child, Mathew Broderick plays a scientist named Nick Tatopolis (named after Godzilla re-designer Patrick Tatopolis) who is recruited to help stop the gargantuan creature as he makes his way through the Big Apple. Joining him, in addition to countless military personnel, are an aspiring reporter and ex-flame, Audrey Timmonds (Maria Pitillo), a French insurance investigator, Phillippe (Jean Reno), and Sergeant O'Neal (Melrose Place's Doug Savant).

Godzilla himself is quite a sight. He is big, that's for sure, but what may surprise even the most die-hard Godzilla fans are some of his actions. He easily outruns helicopters that pursue him through the narrow streets of the city (I smell a video game). And he can burrow underground, making the task of tracking him a lot harder than one would think.

Until now, all we've really seen of the big lug were his feet. The marketing folks at Sony were wise to have kept his face hidden from the public for one simple reason: he's not Godzilla. He may share the name, but this new Godzilla will more than likely leave true G-fans disappointed.

As an action film, Godzilla does deliver. Streets are uprooted, tanks are demolished, landmarks are destroyed (I won't even tease you with what happens to the Chrysler Building), and people run screaming through the streets. But we expected that. The film does pack a few surprises however, one involving Madison Square Garden, but these 'unexpected' occurrences all seem a bit familiar. During one sequence, I said to myself "Spielberg did the same thing, but better."

Godzilla films don't have a history of being rife with character development and plot. Don't get me wrong, there is always a plot. And it's almost always the same: stop Godzilla. This Godzilla doesn't take pains to veer from the archetype. After all, smashing cities is Godzilla's forte.

If you are looking for a mindless diversion, Godzilla should keep you and your family (yes, you can bring the kids-it's not scary) happy for a little over 2 hours. If you are a true Godzilla fan, as I am, you'll probably find yourself asking "King Ghidora, where are you when we need you?"

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