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Chomp! `Godzilla’ duo attacked from all sides

SHARE Chomp! `Godzilla’ duo attacked from all sides

No one will ever mistake me for a Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin fan. After all, I was one of the few who wasn't completely enthralled by "Independence Day."

But all this "Godzilla" bashing could turn me into one.For those who don't know, the official "Star Wars" Web site featured a parody of "Godzilla's" advertising campaign (which said "Plot Does Matter," rather than "Size Matters") before it was removed under pressure from Columbia/TriStar Pictures.

The chatboard on the official Godzilla Web site was also removed after it became a source for online wannabe movie critics to attack Emmerich and Devlin, the "Godzilla" writing/directing duo.

Some of the postings got pretty ugly, even personal. And Devlin started responding in kind via e-mail before the studio pulled the plug.

But those incidents don't come close to the savaging that "Godzilla" filmmakers are getting onscreen.

In the "X-Files" film released on Friday, Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) defaces an "Independence Day" movie poster in a very undignified fashion. And in the upcoming "Armageddon," a dog begins attacking a sidewalk vendor's "Godzilla" wares (a joke that seems to go on forever).

Unfortunately, neither gag is nearly as funny as the respective filmmakers intended. Worse, they come off as hypocritical (the "Armageddon" team of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay isn't exactly on a par with Spielberg either).

Actually, both sets of filmmakers should be glad that "Godzilla" was released this year. Touchstone Pictures pushed the release date of "Armageddon" back to July to avoid competing with that film - which is lucky, because otherwise its computer-generated special effects wouldn't have been done in time.

As for "The X-Files," it's facing less competition because so many other studios pulled films from the schedule to avoid going head-to-head with "Godzilla."

Seems as if they might owe Devlin and Emmerich a debt of gratitude, doesn't it?

- WHEN MOVIE MONSTERS COLLIDE: Speaking of "Godzilla," it's finally arriving in Japan in July. But don't expect a box-office stampede there.

In fact, the film will face competition from another giant monster. "Pulgasari: A Legendary Monster," a North Korean thriller that features a rampaging beast of its own, is finally being released around the same time.

"Pulgasari," which was made in 1985, had been held up because director Sin Sang Ok fled his home country and resettled in the United States. But Japanese film critic Jun Edoki persuaded North Korean officials to end their long-standing "embargo" on its release.

By the way, comparisons between the two movies don't end with the premise. Kenpachino Satsuma, the actor who performed as Toho Films' Godzilla in a rubber costume, stars as Pulgasari. The film also uses some of the same special-effects crews that worked out on the Toho "Godzilla" movies.

And Edoki, for one, is expecting "Pulgasari" to pummel the new "God-zilla," telling Japanese newspapers recently that the sight of chintzy-looking but human-created special-effects is "warmer" than those that are digitally created.

- WHERE'S LEO? The American Film Institute released its list of the top 100 movies of all time, which was voted on by 1,500 film industry professionals, film historians and movie critics. And sorry, all you Leo-lovers, "Titanic" didn't make the cut.

But before you start calling your congressman (or worse, e-mailing me with your concerns, which some of you already have done), there's a very simple explanation.

The list actually covers 100 years of filmmaking, from 1896 to 1996. Obviously, "Titanic" hadn't been released by then, and as such, wasn't eligible.

Of course, some of the choices that did wind up in the Top 100 are arguable (how do you explain "Pulp Fiction's" presence when the works of Preston Sturges are missing entirely?).

And presumably, when the AFI's inevitable list of the top 150 films of all time is released 50 years from now, "Titanic" will be on it. So you DiCaprioholics have a while longer to wait.

- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "There were a couple of offers that interested me, like a comic book starring Karl as a costumed superhero and a Karl action figure. Imagine a doll that says, `Mmm-hmm, bring me some biscuits and mustard,' or `Mmm-hmm, looks like I'm gonna have to kill you.' That's so sick it's almost worth considering." - Actor/screenwriter/director Billy Bob Thornton, on merchandising offers regarding his Karl character from the movie "Sling Blade."