RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy on Making Fun of Godzilla

Godzilla98.jpg
Roland Emmerich's Godzilla is in for some much-deserved ridicule.
Roland Emmerich's 1998 take on the kaiju classic Godzilla is rightly reviled by both fans of the original and anyone else who hasn't suffered brain trauma. But among one select audience -- fans of RiffTrax, to be specific -- it's been in great demand for years. When RiffTrax Live: Godzilla hits theaters on August 14, that demand, however inexplicable, will be fulfilled at last -- and no one is better suited to make fun of it than the RiffTrax crew. Michael J. Nelson and Bill Corbett join Kevin Murphy -- all Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni -- for a live lampooning that should be the most fun it's possible to have with Emmerich's bloated monstrosity of a monster movie. Before the fun starts tomorrow night, we caught up with Murphy to talk about the awfulness of the movie, how riffing this one compares to making fun of old-school kaiju, and why it's easier to make fun of really, really stupid films.

See also: RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy on Birdemic and Mystery Science Theater 3000's legacy

Westword: I understand that this version of Godzilla is something people have been asking you to riff for a while.

Kevin Murphy: Yeah, strangely this is an audience favorite [request]. It's one that, when we've asked for suggestions, people say, "Do this, get this Matthew Broderick Godzilla!" My best guess is because it's so far off the kaiju canon for everybody, they seem angry and resentful for the fact that this version of Godzilla was made. I don't have that much of a dog in this fight [laughs], so I don't care either way, but it is fun to make fun of. It's a big, dumb Roland Emmerich film.

Yeah, it's the one I've never seen, because I hate Roland Emmerich. I couldn't believe it was being made, and then when the reviews came out and said it was as bad as I had imagined... I just couldn't do it.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Especially for Godzilla fans, they seem to be particularly vitriolic in their comments about this movie.

So you've now watched it some ungodly number of times to prepare for this show. Does it live up to its shitty reputation?

I've watched it a lot of times. I've spent a lot of time with this film. Does it live up to its reputation? Well, it certainly is right in the Roland Emmerich wheelhouse, I'll say that much for it. You sort of take Independence Day, strip it of aliens and insert giant dinosaurs and a lot of shameless Spielbergian references, and there you have Godzilla.

That's exactly what I was afraid of. On the other hand, that gives you good material to work with, I assume?

Well, yeah, it's fun. Any time you have these big, goofy, overly dramatic monster-disaster films taking sort of a classically B-movie genre and trying to make it bigger than it ought it be, you just have a great opportunity for our type of fun.

Is it easier to make fun of dumb movie than smart movies?

Well, yeah, usually. It's not a poorly made film in any respect, except a lot of people don't like the actual Godzilla monster. But technically it's fine. Its goofiness is just in the fact that it takes itself way too seriously at times, and the comic relief in it is really sort of sad and depressing. Those we can work with.

Continue for more from Kevin Murphy on kaiju and bad movies.


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