The Godzilla Movie That Flopped Because It Thought It Was A Rom-Com

By Robert Scucci | Published

When you think of Godzilla, the first thing that comes to mind is an incomprehensible amount of destruction at the hands of a giant monster. But 1998’s Godzilla had something else in mind, which was a massive detriment to the film.

Though it boasted a considerable amount of special effects and heightened action sequences with its $150 million budget, the movie was never really about its titular monster but rather a romantic comedy with some monster movie scraps on the side.

Godzilla 1998

As Godzilla Minus One is winning over audiences for expertly highlighting aspects of PTSD, post-war survival guilt, and the harrowing consequences of atomic weaponry, the Matthew Broderick starring version that we got in the late ’90s failed to meet expectations.

Primarily set in New York City, Godzilla takes us on an adventure that focuses primarily on Dr. Nick Tatopoulos, and his ex-girlfriend, Audrey Timmonds.

Godzilla Is A Love Story?

When Godzilla first introduces us to Nick, he’s collecting earthworms from the Chernobyl exclusion zone to confirm his hypothesis that the radioactive soil is accelerating their growth.

He has several pictures of Audrey in his briefcase, but at this point in the film, we don’t know her significance. It doesn’t take long for the viewer to be clued in on the fact that he asked Audrey to marry him several years ago, but she broke up with him instead.

We can’t help but be a little worried about what’s to come when we find out they have been separated with no contact for over four years, and he’s still infatuated with her.

They Meet In New York City Because Of Godzilla


When reports of Godzilla attacks start making their way through the news cycle, Nick is tasked with studying the creature, and brought to New York City where Audrey currently resides.

Audrey is an aspiring news reporter, and she’s waiting for her big break. The two ex-lovers reconnect when they run into each other at a pharmacy by happenstance, and Audrey finds out Nick has access to confidential information involving the Godzilla attacks.

Godzilla Story


When Nick brings Audrey to his lab, she steals the Godzilla footage he had at his console, as well as his theory that the giant beast is about to lay dozens of eggs underneath the city.

Audrey’s reporting on the subject causes widespread panic, and Nick is removed from the operation, causing yet another rift in their relationship.

Deciding that she needs to right what has been wronged, Audrey helps Nick locate the eggs so his theory can be proven correct, which will put her back in his good graces.

If you’re wondering what else happens in Godzilla that’s noteworthy, there isn’t much else to talk about. Though Nick and Audrey’s story would have made a great side plot, the unfortunate reality is that the Godzilla attacks took the back seat to this main storyline.

Godzilla Plot Problems


The problem with this method of storytelling is that there should only be one main storyline: a gigantic monster named Godzilla is destroying New York City. More importantly, the military needs to stop Godzilla before its offspring hatches and takes over the world in a matter of months.

Though the special effects in Godzilla were groundbreaking at the time, the film spent over two hours telling a story about two jilted lovers who just so happened to be reunited while what should have been the primary story unfolded.

Godzilla Critical And Box Office Reception


Garnering a 20 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, the common criticism Godzilla received was that it spent too much time focusing on the sub-plots rather than the main attraction.

Though it’s worth noting that Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer from The Simpsons provided substantial comic relief throughout the film, it wasn’t enough to save it from its disastrous fate.

Godzilla ended up being a commercial success at the time of its release because it turned a profit. It was actually the third highest-grossing film of 1998, which goes to show you that people came out to theaters to watch it in droves.

But at the end of the day, Godzilla would have had a little more staying power if it leaned into what makes Godzilla movies so special in the first place rather than being the extremely high-budget romantic comedy it turned out to be.