Baby Godzilla (TriStar)
We discovered over 200 eggs, which a few moments ago began hatching. The creatures, though just hatched, are over 9 feet tall, and they've begun feeding. When their food supply runs out here they will attempt to hunt down food of their own, outside of this nest. If they get out, they'll multiply and very soon a new species will emerge, one that could replace us as the dominant species of this planet. Each one of these amazing reptiles are born pregnant. Adaptive and cunning, these 200 could become 40,000 within this year.
The asexually-produced offspring of Godzilla, hundreds of Baby Godzillas emerged from the monster's nest inside Madison Square Garden and threatened to overrun the world should they escape. The Baby Godzillas chased a group of humans that were searching for the nest through the arena, but the humans managed to alert the United States military to the threat, and the arena was promptly destroyed by a precision missile strike. Following the adult Godzilla's subsequent death, it seemed the threat was finally gone, but a single egg left intact inside the arena hatched into another Godzilla, who became the focus of Godzilla: The Series.
These monsters are referred to as "Baby Godzilla" in both Japanese and English in official books contemporary with the film, as well as more recent publications such as Shin Godzilla Walker: The New Legend of the King of the Monsters. The English name "Baby Godzilla" is also used in Cast's recent set of collectible photos from the 1998 film, as is the shorter name Baby. The Baby Godzillas are never referred to by a specific name in their film appearance, only called "hatchlings" or "Godzilla's young." TriStar filed a trademark for the creatures under the name "Baby Godzilla™," and they even received their own trademark icon which appeared in merchandise for the film. However, this trademark was cancelled by Toho and replaced with Toho's "BabyGodzilla™" trademark. Ultimately, all individual trademarks for the creatures were removed and absorbed under Godzilla's. They are referred to as Baby 'Zillas in the story treatment for the unmade GODZILLA 2 film, and occasionally referred to as such by Volker Engel in the Special FX Supervisor commentary included on the DVD release of GODZILLA.
For the portrayal of the Baby Godzillas, a combination of suit acting, animatronics, and CGI was utilized. In total, seven suits were constructed for the creatures, four of which were dubbed the "hero suits" by the staff and had fully mechanical heads, while the remaining three were much lighter stunt suits with mechanisms only for the eyes and mouths. Both types of suits had stilt-like leg extensions built in to the feet pieces which would angle the suit actor at a 45 degree angle, thus greatly impairing mobility. To counteract this, the tails of the suits were lined with a bungee cord running down their lengths, which in addition to providing a counterbalance for the legs, also allowed for the tails to more realistically follow the movements of the rest of their bodies. In a similar vein to the adult Godzilla, the suits made for the Baby Godzillas were utilized far less than intended and were most often blended or completely substituted with CGI models.
Ultimately, the decision to scrap the majority of the running sequences of the suits came down to director Roland Emmerich, who, along with Godzilla designer Patrick Tatopoulos, expressed great concern over the potential discrepancies between the movement of the suits and CG models. According to Tatopoulos, "we used the guys on stilts for some action but the compromise is if you do action with those guys walking as best as they can and you match that with CG, CG is going to do better. So we used this only for one or two shots where there was a group of them and one is walking only two or three steps." Most likely due to this decision, the feet of the suits were often bolted to the ground during filming of stationary scenes, as they would not need to be moving around.
Two fully articulated mechanical models for the dead Baby Godzillas were also made, and were even built with fully-functional skeletal structures. According to Patrick Tatopoulos, "we built the skeletons inside so when we grabbed the head, the full body responds, the body had motion so you can give them motion. Just moving them around, you feel the weight, they're not just like stiff dead rubber babies." For the scene featuring the models, they were filmed on a green screen in order to composite the footage with that of the CGI adult Godzilla.
For the CGI of the Baby Godzillas, it was estimated that approximately 90% of the animation was handled by Centropolis Entertainment, with the remainder split between Sony Pictures ImageWorks and VisionArt animators. According to visual effects artist Karen Goulekas, the mechanical props/suits of the Babies were often used as points of reference for handling lighting and realistic posing on the animation of the CG models as well as texturing. A "lighting dummy" of a Baby Godzilla on wheels, described as being somewhat similar to a Trojan horse, was also constructed, and would be wheeled through a frame after the filming of that scene for additional lighting reference.
Not unlike the several suit types used to portray the Baby Godzillas, a number of different models and props were also utilized for the eggs that they hatch from in the film. One such kind, dubbed the "hero egg," was constructed of fiberglass and featured a removable plug in order to allow for the effect of it breaking open without it having to be entirely replaced each time, while the remaining full-scale eggs were simply constructed of foam. For scenes where a miniature was used instead, a number of fittingly-scaled eggs were also made, noted by visual effects supervisor Volker Engel as the "potatoes." The various egg types were also dressed with a webbing effect, achieved by coating them in different hot glue sprays from a hot glue gun with a small, mounted fan.
The Baby Godzillas closely resemble their father, but due to their young age are considerably smaller and thinner, their heads and eyes larger in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Their scutes are not fully developed, taking the form of flat, bony plates on their heads and necks and small bumps running down their backs, compared to the large curved spikes of their father. They are colored gray to dim brown with blue highlights, with a dark blue across their backs and beige undersides. In the novelization, Nick repeatedly describes the Baby Godzillas as dinosaur-like or "saurian" in appearance.
For Trendmasters' toy line for the film, the Baby Godzillas were given wide-ranging colorful appearances, ranging from red and saturated brown to orange with purple scutes and yellow with red scutes.
In the official novelization, the Baby Godzillas are stated to be born hungry, looking for and eating fish or whatever food is nearby upon hatching. They are also said to form packs to hunt, with certain individuals even becoming "leaders." Nick Tatopoulos directly compares the Baby Godzillas' instinctual group coordination behavior to that of "midsized dinosaurs," mentioning Velociraptors by name.
The Baby Godzillas began to hatch shortly after Niko Tatopoulos and Philippe Roaché's team came upon Godzilla's nest in Madison Square Garden. The team had planned to destroy the eggs with explosives, but discovered there were far more eggs than they expected and they far outnumbered their supply of explosives. The hatchlings began to feed on the fish their parent had left in the nest, but their supply began to wane. Smelling the scent of fish on Nick and the others, the Baby Godzillas began to chase them across the arena. Philippe's fellow secret servicemen were devoured by the creatures, but he and the others reached a broadcast room that was normally used to air sporting events and barred themselves inside. Using the recording equipment, Audrey Timmonds broadcast a live report over the airwaves showing the Baby Godzillas roaming through Madison Square Garden and warning of what would happen if they escaped. Colonel Hicks saw the broadcast and ordered three F-18 Hornets to deliver a missile strike on the building. As the jets approached, the humans tried to escape while the Baby Godzillas began to breach the room. Running out of time, they ran towards the exit, pursued by countless Baby Godzillas. Just as the humans escaped the building, missiles collided with Madison Square Garden, destroying it and killing all of the Baby Godzillas. Just as the team thought their mission was accomplished, the adult Godzilla rose from under the streets and looked at the bodies of his slain young. Godzilla nudged the corpse of one of his young, only for it to lie motionless. Enraged, Godzilla began to chase the humans across New York.
Sometime later, a lone egg inside the ruined building hatched.
After Godzilla's death, Niko Tatopoulos convinced Colonel Hicks to send a team into Madison Square Garden to ensure no Baby Godzillas survived. Nick went in first, but fell into a cavern and was separated from the rest of the team. There, he encountered a surviving egg, which hatched into another Baby Godzilla. Rather than attack Nick, the baby imprinted on him. Knowing the military was approaching, Nick scared the hatchling off with electrical wires, causing it to burrow out of the arena.
The Baby Godzillas, though not displaying any outstanding abilities in their film appearance, can bite, lunge toward and leap on top of targets. In the novelization, they are described as having "razor claws" and "razor-sharp teeth." The Baby Godzillas can also attack using their tails in the game GODZILLA: Online.
Although immediately following their birth the Baby Godzillas are "wobbly on their feet," they soon become capable of walking and then running - reaching speeds of roughly between 40 to 50 miles per hour, or 60 to 80 kilometers per hour. Their primary weapon is jumping, and they can perform 10-foot lateral pounces in the novelization. Moreover, in the novelization, they are described as "[springing] up immediately" after falling and tripping, "demonstrating the wicked agility they'd inherited from their father."
According to Niko Tatopoulos, each Baby Godzilla is "born pregnant," and inherits its father's ability to reproduce asexually. Nick warned that if the Baby Godzillas escaped Madison Square Garden and matured, they would rapidly reproduce and overrun the world, replacing mankind as the dominant species. This threat never came to fruition, as the majority of the Baby Godzillas were eradicated in Madison Square Garden, and the only survivor turned out to be sterile.
In the game GODZILLA: Online, the Baby Godzillas possess a highly corrosive steam breath attack called Breath Burst. It is capable of dealing large amounts of damage to enemies, but can only be used sparsely.
The Baby Godzillas begin as hatchlings and are equipped with melee attacks and breath weapons to destroy the soldiers and scientists. Baby Godzillas can also eat colorful fish to grow stronger and more powerful, eventually evolving from stage one to stage three. Evolved Baby Godzillas are faster and stronger. Baby Godzillas acquire points for competing in matches and eventually rise to the rank of Adolescent. They can also eat gray-colored fish to recover health.
- Baby Bite: A basic, swift attack that deals low damage to enemies.
- Tail: This wide-ranging attack can hit an enemy in front of or behind the Baby Godzilla, and a random chance to stun the enemy for two seconds, but only does average damage.
- Breath Burst: Green, highly corrosive steam. Breath Burst is a projectile attack that deals a large amount of damage, but can only be used sparsely. Continued usage will lower strength and eventually disallow use until some strength is regained.
- Baby Lunge: Leap through the air. A powerful attack that launches the Baby Godzilla towards the enemy target, it can also be used to escape from a bad situation.
The Baby Godzillas make their sole Japanese video game appearance in Godzilla: Trading Battle, appearing through the event cards "Baby Godzilla's Bait" (ベビーゴジラの餌, "Baby Godzilla Outbreak" Bebī Gojira no Esa) (ベビーゴジラ発生, and "Godzilla's Egg" Bebī Gojira Hassei) (ゴジラの卵. Gojira no Tamago)
- Main article: Baby Godzilla (TriStar)/Gallery.
The Baby Godzillas emit higher-pitched renditions of their father's roar as well as short hissing sounds.
- The Baby Godzillas would have been featured in the unmade sequel to the 1998 film, with a pack of them being raised by the surviving Godzilla in the Australian Outback. The infants would grow into adolescent "Teen 'Zillas," only to be hunted down and killed by the U.S. military, save for one nicknamed "the Runt." The Runt would help his parent battle the Queen Bitch in Sydney, only to be apparently killed and later return at the film's conclusion.
- The Baby Godzillas are referenced in GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse, the prequel novel to GODZILLA: Planet of the Monsters, in a chapter detailing the destruction caused by Zilla. Like the TriStar Godzilla, in the novel Zilla is capable of rapid asexual reproduction, and all of its young are born fertile and capable of producing further generations. This is based on Nick's proposed worst-case scenario in the 1998 film, where the Baby Godzillas would continue multiplying and eventually overrun humanity. While still juvenile, the infant Zillas are dangerous and capable of coordinating with their brethren to pose a threat to mankind. Text from the novel says: "If you leave one young one alive, no, if you leave just an egg behind, it'll hatch and reproduce all over again"; also, "The big ones are dangerous, but the young ones were more troublesome. They're intelligent and act in herds. The young ones act as decoys for the tanks while the adults attack from the rooftops"; additionally, "It was more difficult to free the city besieged by Zilla than any other monster."
- The Baby Godzillas are often compared to the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park because of their design and behavior. Certain moments during the Madison Square Garden chase in the 1998 film are almost perfect duplicates of the Velociraptor stalking scenes in Jurassic Park, including a scene where one Baby Godzilla gazes through a door and stalks the protagonists as they try to hide.
- The 1998 book Tokuma TV Graph 4: GODZILLA (p. 16, ISBN4-19-760505-6) gives the Baby Godzillas a height (身長) range of "7 to 9 feet (about 2.5 meters)" and the Baby Godzilla eggs a size (大きさ) of "11 feet (about 3.3 meters)." The 1999 book Super Secret Get 16: Movie Monster Encyclopedia (p. 10, ISBN4-591-06004-7) gives a height (身長) range of "about 2.1 to 2.8 meters" (approximately 6.89 to 9.18 feet) and the Baby Godzilla eggs a height of "about 3.3 meters" (approx. 10.82 feet).
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