Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
Witness! A new era of Godzilla (目撃せよ！ゴジラ新世紀)
— Japanese tagline
— International tagline
Get ready to crumble.
— American tagline
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (ゴジラ２０００ ミレニアム is a Gojira Nisen Mireniamu)1999 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-third installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the first in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 11, 1999, and to American theaters on August 18, 2000.
A revival to Toho's Godzilla series produced in response to demand after TriStar's controversial take on the titular character, Godzilla 2000: Millennium is another reboot to the series ignoring every film since the original. As the new millennium nears, Godzilla is a force of nature which repeatedly threatens Japan. Crisis Control Intelligence, the government organization tasked with combating Godzilla, discovers a huge rock on the ocean floor which reveals itself as an alien UFO. The UFO takes an interest in Godzilla and defeats him in a brief encounter before docking on top of the City Tower in Tokyo and siphoning data from the city's servers. As Godzilla prepares for a rematch with the UFO, humanity struggles to learn the aliens' true intentions and the reasoning behind their interest in Godzilla.
Godzilla is a literal force of nature to Japan. Yuji Shinoda founded the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN) in order to predict Godzilla's landfalls and track his movements, all the while attempting to study and preserve him. One night, Shinoda and his daughter Io are tracking Godzilla near Nemuro in Hokkaido, and are joined by reporter Yuki Ichinose, who is trying to get photographs of Godzilla for her newspaper. While the three are in their van, they receive notice that Godzilla has come ashore nearby. Shinoda drives towards Godzilla's location, but after reaching the end of a tunnel, he finds that the road is gone. Shinoda shines the van's lights up, revealing Godzilla looking down at the van. Yuki begins taking photographs, enraging Godzilla, who roars at the van, shattering the windshield. Shinoda turns the van around and drives back through the tunnel, with Godzilla chasing. After escaping the tunnel, Shinoda watches Godzilla walk towards the heart of the city. Godzilla arrives in Nemuro and destroys the city's electrical plant, to which Shinoda remarks that it's as though Godzilla is trying to destroy mankind's energy sources.
Meanwhile, Mitsuo Katagiri, head of the government agency Crisis Control Intelligence (CCI), is informed by his subordinate Shiro Miyasaka that a huge ancient rock formation has been discovered in the waters off Japan. Katagiri orders that the rock be brought to the surface, so CCI ties balloons to the rock. Suddenly, the rock begins to ascend on its own, surfacing in between several CCI ships. Scans of the rock reveal that it is surprisingly hollow, and at least several million years old. Back on the mainland, Shinoda is informed by a source that Godzilla is heading towards Tokai in Ibaraki, likely to feed on the nuclear reactors at the village's power plant. Katagiri learns of this and orders all reactors at the plant to be shut down, and mobilizes the JSDF's forces to the area. The JSDF has recently developed a new anti-Godzilla weapon, the Full Metal Missile Launcher. The missiles launched by this are supposedly strong enough to penetrate Godzilla's hide and seriously injure him. Shinoda travels to Tokai and confronts Katagiri, angry that he is so fixated on killing Godzilla rather than preserving and studying him. Katagiri mocks Shinoda, stating that GPN will soon be history, then leaves, unheeding Shinoda's warning to shut off conventional energy sources in the area as well. The next morning, the JSDF's forces are lined up on the beaches at Tokai, anticipating Godzilla's arrival. Soon, Godzilla's dorsal fins break the water's surface and he emerges from the depths. Multiple attack helicopters open fire on Godzilla, drawing him away from the power plant. Godzilla makes landfall and is fired upon by tanks, which pull back and lure Godzilla closer to the range of the Full Metal Missiles. As Godzilla reaches further inland, the Full Metal Missile Launchers open fire on him. Godzilla is visibly injured by the missiles, with chunks of his flesh flying off from the blasts. While Godzilla is blasted by the missiles, the giant rock suddenly takes flight and flies to Tokai, where it confronts Godzilla. Godzilla blasts the rock with his atomic breath, but it retaliates with a powerful laser cannon fired from a hole on its side. Godzilla and the rock exchange more blasts until Godzilla is knocked into the ocean and disappears. The rock flies away and eventually lands near the city of Kashima, with CCI quickly setting up a perimeter around it, tying it down with steel cables that produce an electromagnetic barrier.
At the site of Godzilla's battle with the JSDF, Shinoda recovers several pieces of Godzilla's flesh that were blasted off by the Full Metal Missiles. Shinoda intends to study these skin samples, but needs access to the proper equipment. Reluctantly, Shinoda approaches CCI for permission to use their equipment. Katagiri agrees, so long as Shinoda abides by all of CCI's rules and shares any information he learns, in addition to the data GPN already owns. Shinoda works with Miyasaka, who was a former friend of his in college, to observe Godzilla's cells. The two discover that the skin samples have fully regenerated all of the damage sustained earlier with no scar tissue. Using the electron microscope, Shinoda and Miyasaka discover that a substance in Godzilla's cells, which Shinoda names "Organizer G1," allows Godzilla to almost instantly heal from any damage he sustains, rendering him practically immortal. Meanwhile, scans of the giant rock have revealed that it is actually an advanced alien spacecraft, that had been dormant underwater for eons before being activated by a submarine's lights. The occupants of the craft seem to have been converted into formless quantum fluid, and there has been no success communicating with them. Suddenly, the UFO begins to stir, and the cables generating the barrier around it come loose. The UFO then takes off again, heading straight for Tokyo.
CCI deploys choppers to observe the UFO, but the UFO uses a powerful shockwave to destroy its pursuers. The UFO reaches Shinjuku and lands on top of the City Tower. By nightfall, it is discovered that the UFO is using the tower's computer systems to hack into all of Tokyo's computers and steal their data. Katagiri orders that the ship be destroyed by planting and detonating Blast Bombs on the tower's top floor. Suddenly, the UFO begins changing the percentage of oxygen within the surrounding air. The charges are placed, and by 9:10 are to be detonated. Yuki Ichinose, unaware of the impending detonation, goes to the tower and uses the computers to try and find out what the aliens are after. Shinoda and Io arrive to get Yuki out of the building, while Shinoda volunteers to stay behind and finish downloading the aliens' activity. Yuki and Io reluctantly leave and ask the nearby soldiers to delay the blast. The soldiers report to Katagiri, who coldly tells them to proceed as planned. Just before the detonation, Shinoda sees the word "MILLENNIUM" displayed on all the computer screens. Katagiri presses the detonator despite Miyasaka's pleas not to, and the Blast Bombs explode. The UFO is not damaged by the explosion. The aliens broadcast a message across all electronic devices, stating that they intend to conquer the Earth and start a "thousand-year empire," as the UFO releases a shockwave that demolishes the rest of the tower. Shinoda survives by sliding down an elevator shaft, and reunites with Io. Shinoda, Io, and Yuki reach the rooftop where Katagiri is, where Miyasaka runs to embrace him. Shinoda sardonically tells Katagiri "Somehow, I managed to survive," then shares the data he retrieved. He reveals that the aliens intend to alter the Earth's atmosphere to a condition more favorable to them, and are trying find ideal genetic material to allow them to regain their original forms, and that they have determined Godzilla to possess this ideal regenerative gene.
Just then, Godzilla emerges from Tokyo Bay and comes ashore, intent on getting revenge on the UFO. The UFO creates tentacles that erupt from the street and attack Godzilla, but he destroys them with his atomic breath. The UFO attempts to ram Godzilla and knock him down, but he continues to fight. Finally, the UFO uses a shockwave to collapse a skyscraper onto Godzilla, burying him under rubble. While Godzilla is incapacitated, the UFO absorbs his DNA, transferring it to its occupants. After absorbing Godzilla's DNA, the UFO's occupants take a single collective form and emerge from the ship. The Millennian roars as it adjusts to the surface, but suddenly begins to convulse. The Millennian begins to sprout growths all over its body, and slumps over, mutating rapidly. Shinoda realizes the Millennian cannot fully separate Godzilla's genome from the Organizer G-1. Godzilla erupts from the rubble and blasts the unmanned UFO with his atomic breath, blasting it in half. As Godzilla stares at the UFO's burning wreckage, he is shocked to see something emerge from behind it: Orga, the result of Godzilla's DNA corrupting and mutating the Millennian. Orga looks at itself, trying to understand what it has become, but is attacked by Godzilla. Godzilla and Orga exchange blows, but every bit of damage Godzilla inflicts is regenerated instantly by Orga. Godzilla charges his atomic breath, but Orga telepathically summons the remains of the UFO to take the blast, destroying it. Orga bites Godzilla on the arm, draining more of his genetic material. As Orga absorbs more of Godzilla's DNA, it begins taking on more of his characteristics, like green scaly skin. Godzilla blasts the unprotected Orga with a powerful blast of atomic breath, causing it to erupt in flames. As Godzilla stares into the inferno, he is shocked to see Orga emerge from the fire. As Orga approaches Godzilla, its gruesome injuries are regenerated right before his eyes. Godzilla begins to understand what Orga is trying to do, and when Orga unhinges its jaw, Godzilla runs headfirst into the beast's maw. As Orga swallows Godzilla whole, it begins to grow in size and sprout Godzilla's characteristic dorsal fins on its back. Suddenly, Godzilla begins to glow hot orange, releasing huge amounts of heat. When Orga realizes this, it's too late, as Godzilla unleashes a huge atomic shockwave that destroys Orga's entire upper body in a fiery explosion. After the explosion, Godzilla stands up and roars at Orga's headless corpse, which falls to the ground and crumbles into dust. Yuki finds irony in the alien's death, as it was both reborn and destroyed through Godzilla.
Godzilla approaches the rooftop, causing everyone except Katagiri to run inside. Katagiri lights a cigarette and remarks that he has never seen Godzilla this close before. Godzilla scowls down at Katagiri and places his hand on the roof. Katagiri stares fixated at Godzilla, and punches Shinoda when he tries to take him to safety. Katagiri then shouts Godzilla's name, to which Godzilla responds by destroying the rooftop and sending Katagiri falling to his doom. Godzilla turns away and walks back to the heart of the city, where he begins rampaging. The others who survived continue watching in awe. Miyasaka acknowledges Godzilla emerged out of science progressing the wrong way. Yuki replies that humans made him the way he is, prompting Shinoda to suggest that "Godzilla is inside each one of us," as Godzilla unleashes his atomic breath in a destructive swath across the city.
- Main article: Godzilla 2000: Millennium/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Takao Okawara
- Written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara, Wataru Mimura
- Produced by Toshihiro Ogawa, Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Takayuki Hattori
- Cinematography by Yudai Kato
- Edited by Yoshiyuki Okuhara
- Production design by Takeshi Shimizu
- Assistant directing by Toshimasa Miyamura
- Special effects by Kenji Suzuki
- Godzilla's Theme by Akira Ifukube (uncredited)
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
TriStar English dub
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- François Chau as Yuji Shinoda
- Denise Iketani as Yuki Ichinose
- Jack Ong as Professor Shiro Miyasaka
- Ron Yuan as Mitsuo Katagiri
- Rachel Crane as Io Shinoda
- Jim Ishida as General Takada
- Yoshio Be
- Glen Chin
- John Cho
- Michael Hagiwara
- Amy Hill
- Rodney Kageyama
- Denice Kumagai
- Jim Lau
- Dana Lee
- Lucy Lin
- Marilyn Tokuda as Various Reporters
- Jerry Tondo
- Ping Wu
- Michael Schlesinger
- Natalia D. Adams as Orga (additional vocalizations)
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Godzilla 2000: Millennium/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla 2000: Millennium (Soundtrack).
- G2K (Abbreviated Title)
- Godzilla 2000 (United States)
- The Return of Godzilla (Powrót Godzilli; Poland)
- Godzilla 2000 vs. the Extraterrestrial Squid (Godzilla 2000 vs. El Calamar Extraterrestre; Mexico)
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - December 11, 1999; November 11, 2000 (U.S. version) [view poster]
- United States - August 18, 2000 [view poster]
- Hong Kong - 2000
- Thailand - 2000
TriStar Pictures, who had also distributed every Heisei film in the U.S. starting with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, picked up Godzilla 2000 for theatrical distribution in North America. Mike Schlesinger, who supervised the North American release, said, "It [Godzilla 2000] was such a spectacular success in Japan, we decided it was worth taking a shot, maybe the time was right for Godzilla to come back to theaters." Sony spent approximately $1 million to re-edit and dub the movie, and an additional $10-12 million to market. The edited film was released to American theaters on August 17, 2000.
Unlike in the past, TriStar chose to not simply distribute Toho's international export presentation of the film, but create their own version, a process that had not been done since New World released The Return of Godzilla in the U.S. as Godzilla 1985. According to Mike Schlesinger, TriStar was provided with the export version of the film containing Omni Productions' English dub, but he felt it was so bad it was unusable. As a result, Godzilla 2000 was edited in the process of Americanization. The U.S. version of the film runs 99 minutes; 8 minutes shorter than the Japanese version. Most of the visual edits were minor cuts done to quicken pacing, and the sound design and music was overhauled heavily. Schlesinger specifically chose Asian-American talent for the majority of the roles in the new looping for the sake of vocal authenticity, and some inconsequential dialogue was "livened" to garner humor, in-line with the film's already prevalent physical and situational comedy. An excerpt of actor Paul Frees as the alien voice from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was added to the background of a scene, as a tribute to his roles in many classic English dubs of Toho films. In a first, Toho and Takao Okawara approved all the changes to the film in advance on a step-by-step basis with Schlesinger, as previous Americanizations were done largely without the supervision of Toho. The U.S. cut of the film was given a one-week limited theatrical release in Japan with Japanese subtitles starting on November 11, 2000.
Among the other alterations:
- J. Peter Robinson was brought in to compose new music for the U.S. cut of the film. These new compositions are most prominent during the scene where Godzilla comes ashore at Tokai and Godzilla's battle with Orga.
- Shortened: the scene where Yuki seeks membership for the Godzilla Prediction Network.
- Added: A few more traditional Akira Ifukube themes were incorporated in Robinson's new compositions, specifically Godzilla and Rodan's themes from the main titles of Mothra vs. Godzilla and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, respectively.
- Shortened: Godzilla coming ashore at Tokai and the luring operation. Medium shots and closeups of Godzilla powering up were removed from the sequence of the JASDF performing an airstrike to prevent him from discharging his atomic breath. Mike Schlesinger felt the sequence diminished the buildup and impact of Godzilla later using it against the Millennian UFO.
- Almost the entire sound design was redone. In particular, less realistic sound effects for mobile phones, computers and other technology were chosen. The U.S. cut is notable for being mixed and exhibited in 8 channel SDDS compared to Toho's original version, which has only received standard Dolby Stereo and 5.1 surround mixes. However, only the standard 5.1 mix of the U.S. cut has been released on home video.
- Some of the American Godzilla's roars from the 1998 film were given to Godzilla, although in the commentary for the film, Mike Schlesinger and Darren Pascal, perhaps erroneously, deny the same assets were used.
- Orga was given more of a low-pitched groaning roar, whereas in the original cut it was a higher stock roar, originally used for Cretaceous King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III.
- The humming sound produced by the Millennian UFO is replaced with a higher-pitched droning sound.
- The final battle between Godzilla and Orga features new sound effects aside from roars, most notably when the monsters make contact with each other.
- The translation team changed "Organizer G1" to "Regenerator G1," on the basis that the word "Organizer" made no sense within the context it was being used.
- Shortened: The scene where a bewildered taxi driver sees the UFO to prevent a continuity error involving a car with the same license plates standing in as two distinct vehicles.
- Deleted: A scene of two newscasters commentating on the UFO's arrival in Shinjuku airspace.
- Deleted: Exposition of the UFO lowering the oxygen content of the atmosphere around the City Tower.
- Deleted: Before escaping the building where the aliens are draining the information (just before the building is detonated), Shinoda sees the word "Millennium" on all the computer screens.
- Deleted: The Millennians broadcasting their declaration of conquest on all signs and monitors throughout Shinjuku. Mike Schlesinger explained his removal of the "Millennium" subplot as being out of not wanting to date the film's premise.
- Re-arranged: The scene where Shinoda goes down the elevator shaft while the building explodes.
In contrast to some past instances of Americanization of Godzilla films, the changes made to the U.S. version of Godzilla 2000 are generally well-received by fans. The new music and sound effects have been widely praised, as have the changes to the pacing. Toho and Takao Okawara were reportedly impressed by TriStar's edit of the film, and Toho even gave it a limited theatrical run in Japan, similar to what was done with Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in Japan in 1957.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium had a budget of ¥1,000,000,000, or roughly $8,300,000. When the film was released on December 11, 1999 in Japan, it sold 2,000,000 tickets and earned ¥1,650,000,000, or $15,000,000.
The American version, Godzilla 2000, had a budget of $1,000,000. When it was released to 2,111 select theaters on August 18th, 2000, it made $4,407,720 on it opening weekend and went on to make $10,037,390 total.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium currently has a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 69 reviews. The site's Critical Consensus reads, "Godzilla 2000 is cheesy, laughable, and good entertaining fun." Regardless of their opinion on the film itself, most American critics compared it favorably to TriStar's Godzilla, released two years earlier.
Toho DVD (2000)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround)
- Special features: Audio commentary by Shiro Sano, Shogo Tomiyama, Takao Okawara and Kenji Suzuki, trailers, TV spots, Godzilla theater etiquette spot, cast & staff biographies.
- Special Features (disc 2): The Making of Godzilla 2000: Millennium, Behind the Scenes.
- Notes: 2.26:1 aspect ratio (windowboxed), second disc only included in original release.
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (5.1 Surround and 2.0 Mono), French (2.0 Mono)
- Special features: Audio commentary by Michael Schlesinger, Michael Mahoney, and Darren Paskal, behind the scenes footage (2 minutes), talent files, trailers for Godzilla 2000 and GODZILLA (1998)
- Notes: Included in The Toho Godzilla Collection, Vol. 2.
Universe Laser DVD (2000)
- Region: 3
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround), Cantonese (5.1 Surround), Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English & Traditional Chinese
- Notes: 2.12:1 aspect ratio (letterboxed).
Saerom Entertainment DVD (2000)
- Region: 0
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround)
- Notes: Cropped to 1.33:1.
Mongkol VDO & CD DVD (Year Unknown)
- Region: 0
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (5.1 Surround), Thai (5.1 Surround)
- Notes: 1.97:1 aspect ratio (cropped, letterboxed).
Madman DVD (2005)
- Region: 4
- Audio: English
Splendid DVD (2006)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo), German (5.1 Surround)
- Special features: Trailers, previews
Sony Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo) and English (5.1 Surround)
- Special features: Audio commentary by Michael Schlesinger, Michael Mahoney, and Darren Paskal, behind the scenes footage (2 minutes), Japanese trailer
- Main article: Novel: Godzilla 2000 (Millennium).
- Main article: Godzilla 2000: Millennium (manga).
Godzilla 2000: Millennium received a manga adaptation published by Shogakukan. It is noteworthy for going into considerably greater depth than the movie, explaining that Yuji Shinoda's wife passed away sometime before the events of the manga. The Millennian aliens are explored further, with one copying the form of Io Shinoda in order to interact with the characters and explain her race's history. The Millennians' transformation into Orga is much more graphic than in the film, with Orga's mutation going out of control and causing him to transform into a gigantic Biollante-esque mass that swallows Godzilla whole.
Behind the Scenes
- This was the last Godzilla film to receive a theatrical run in North American until Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, with the exception of Rialto's limited releases of the original Godzilla in 2004 and 2014. It was also the last Japanese Godzilla film to receive a theatrical run in North America until Shin Godzilla in 2016.
- This is the only Godzilla film in the Millennium series not released in the 2000's.
- Godzilla 2000: Millennium is the seventh and final Godzilla film to be released in the 1990's and the only one, aside from TriStar Pictures' GODZILLA, to not be a part of the Heisei series.
- It is the first Japanese Godzilla film since Terror of Mechagodzilla to use the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and first Japanese Godzilla production to use Super 35 as its cinematographic process. As the demand for TV-ready presentations of films in Japan is less compared to countries such as the United States, no completed version of the film uses an image area from the larger negative distinct from the theatrical presentation, and the various fullscreen presentations of the film are further cropped from the finished anamorphic version.
- John Cho (Harold of Harold and Kumar and Sulu in the Star Trek reboot movies) is billed as one of the "other characters" in TriStar's English dub.
- The true identity of the version of Godzilla in this film has remained a mystery since Godzilla 2000: Millennium was released. Unlike any other Godzilla before him, no explanation for his existence is ever discussed in the film. Some fans believe that this Godzilla is Godzilla Junior following the events of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, but Godzilla.jp confirms that he is the second Godzilla of the film's continuity, after the original Godzilla that attacked Tokyo in 1954.
- The next film in the series, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, is often mistakenly believed to be a direct sequel to Godzilla 2000: Millennium, due to its incarnation of Godzilla bearing an almost identical design to the Godzilla from Godzilla 2000. However, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is set in a separate continuity from Godzilla 2000 and the two films are not connected.
- This is the first Godzilla movie where Godzilla is actually green. Godzilla has often been depicted as being green in non-film media in the past, and suits like the KingGoji have possessed a greenish tint, but the MireGoji is the first suit to actually be colored green. The suit was made an even lighter shade of green for the next film, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
- Unlike previous films, in Godzilla 2000: Millennium Godzilla's atomic breath is colored a hot orange, whereas it was previously a blazing blue. During and after Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla was able to produce a much more powerful orange-colored atomic blast called the spiral ray, though it did not replace his original blue-colored atomic breath. This coloration is also present in the next film, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
- The American theatrical trailers for Godzilla 2000 were narrated by the late legendary voice actor Don LaFontaine, who recorded countless film trailers and television advertisements throughout his career.
- American trailers for Godzilla 2000 featured the song "Superbeast" by Rob Zombie.
- Toho had originally planned for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah to be the final Japanese Godzilla film until 2005, with TriStar Pictures producing a trilogy of American Godzilla films in the meantime. However, the poor reception to TriStar's GODZILLA in 1998 made Toho see newfound demand to return the Japanese Godzilla to the big screen, and in response they brought the series out of retirement early a year later with this film, which kickstarted the Millennium series of films. When the film was released in North America, many mistook it for a sequel to the 1998 film.
- Mike Schlesinger, who supervised the American version of Godzilla 2000, later planned producing an American-made sequel to the film titled Godzilla Reborn, which would have featured Godzilla battling a giant lava bat monster called Miba in Hawaii. The project was initially greenlit by Sony and even approved by Toho, but the new head of production at Sony ultimately killed the project, on the grounds that the studio did not produce films with such low budgets. The cancellation of Godzilla Reborn along with the sequel to the 1998 American film meant that Sony did not produce another American Godzilla film before its rights to the character expired in 2003.
- Orga's new roars in the American version of the film were created using the voice of Natalia D. Adams, the young daughter of sound effect editor John Adams.
- Production notes
- Comprehensive list of differences between the Japanese and American versions of the film
- Official page on sony.com
- List of firearms used in the film
- 35mm U.S. trailer print
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