Godzilla (better known as just Zilla, sometimes also known as TriStar's Godzilla) is the titular antagonist of the 1998 TriStar Pictures film of the same name. He is portrayed by Kurt Carley, and voiced by Frank Welker.
While the original Godzilla is well-liked by many people, this version of Godzilla has a much more controversial response from Godzilla fans and has earned the nickname "GINO" (Godzilla In Name Only) for the following reasons listed below.
Why His Name Was the Only "Zilla" Thing About Him.
Note: This mainly applies to the character in his debut appearance in TriStar's 1998 Godzilla film.
- First of all, he is a very unfaithful representation of the King of the Monsters that we all know and love. In fact, he feels much more like a Notzilla or some sort of a cheap knock-off of the original Godzilla than the real deal.
- The original Godzilla was well-known for having a unique design that combines elements of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Stegosaurus, and an Iguanodon. This Godzilla, on the other hand, looks more like a giant mutated iguana mixed with a Stegosaurus and only vaguely resembles the Japanese Godzilla.
- He is incredibly pathetic compared to the actual Godzilla, as he lacks the genuine article's atomic breath or fire breath (one of the most notable Godzilla misconceptions) and strong durability and is also afraid of the military, so overall, he feels more like a weak, frightened creature than the strong, fearsome, brutish kaiju we know him as. As a result, he is taken down much more easily by the military where he is killed by ONLY TWO FREAKING missiles at the end of his film, which is clearly not the case with with the original, nigh-invincible Godzilla.
- In addition, he overall behaves more like a dumb animal, but is still somewhat clever, unlike Godzilla who instead behaved like a destructive force of nature.
- He barely causes any destruction in the movie. That is instead given to the US military, who are unbelievably and impossibly bad at hitting a 180-foot tall monster, accidentally destroying buildings and monuments like the Chrysler Building instead, which consequently makes the US military come off as incompetent idiots.
- He's much faster compared to the other Godzillas, all of which move at a slower pace, where he can somehow run faster than helicopters or tanks, with a top speed estimated between 300 to 500 miles per hour (482.8 to 804.6 kilometers per hour).
- He is never given a discernible gender and is able to reproduce asexually, while the genuine article is officially male and has adopted two sons named Minilla and Godzilla Junior.
- In some rare shots, he is depicted with a visible cloaca.
- Most of his roars don't even sound close to the real Godzilla's iconic roar.
- Due to the criticisms listed above, Toho had to classify him as a new species of kaiju called "Zilla". Heck, he is easily defeated by the real Godzilla in Godzilla: Final Wars to illustrate how superior the latter is over TriStar's interpretation. Since then, he has created the extremely annoying misconception that Godzilla is a lizard.
- He actually lets out the real Godzilla's roar on some rare occasions.
- His roar is good on its own.
- Say what you will about his design, but it actually isn't bad. The problem was the horrible CGI.
- His death at the end of his film is pretty emotional and heartbreaking (for some, others think it falls flat or is tonally dissonant).
- He would have been slightly better if he wasn't called "Godzilla" and was instead just a standalone creature.
- In fact, Toho was extremely dissatisfied with TriStar's take on the Godzilla character, and following the intense negative reception this character had, Toho decided to completely retcon him as a standalone creature named Zilla in future appearances.
- There are some fans that like Zilla and think he is misunderstood.
- His offspring from Godzilla: The Series, Godzilla Jr. (not to be confused with Godzilla's child who debuted in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II), is much more faithful to Toho's Godzilla as he actually has atomic breath and is quite difficult to take down.
- He was also better and more likable in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.
- Speaking of the show and despite appearing only in the series finale, he redeems himself as Cyber-Zilla and, unlike his portrayal in the 1998 film, is an intimidating villain despite being under the Tachyons' control.
- The next live-action incarnation of Godzilla from a Hollywood production, which first debuted in Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures' 2014 live-action Godzilla film, thankfully avoided all these problems TriStar's Zilla had as listed above.
- Kurt Carley did a great job playing Godzilla and Frank Welker did a great job voicing him.
- Despite being more faithful, some find the 1998 movie more entertaining than the 2014 film. Due to the latter's slower pacing and human characters having even *more* screen time than the monster. And while changing Godzilla's origin is offensive, it's arguably less questionable than how Dr. Serizawa and the Oxygen Destroyer from the 1954 film were adapted in King of the Monsters (depending on who you ask).
- As the fanbase warms up to his design, more figures and statues of very high quality have been released based on "Zilla". Proving that this design does have a cult following.
- He is depicted in poorly-aged CGI which makes him stick out like a sore thumb, which is even parodied in his appearance in Godzilla: Final Wars. The fact that he even changes sizes randomly throughout his entire film doesn't help either.