Memories from the Millennium


It was 1999 and the world was gripped by the pending Y2K problem. As the build up to the new millennium had begun, Toho was also as it prepared to release its newest movie Godzilla Millennium (aka, Godzilla 2000, Godzilla 1999) after his death in the Heisei classic Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995). The wait for a new Japanese Godzilla movie was nine years long as it was between the Showa Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975) and the opening of Heisei era with Godzilla (1884). The new release had been catalyzed by the American Godzilla released just a year before in 1998. That Godzilla was not so affectionately called “Zilla.” I believe that Toho wrestled back Godzilla to restore the damage done.

Godzilla 2000 Poster (1/22/2000)
Godzilla 2000 Poster (1/22/2000)

In 1999, the Internet was in its infancy. At that time, I was working as a graphic designer/web designer at the public relations and advertising agency Crawley Haskins & Rodgers in Philadelphia. With Y2K approaching, at work we were concerned about our data and we were taking the steps to protect our computers. I remember checking out during my lunch breaks to keep up with the updates for the new movie. To promote the movie, Toho decided to broadcast a portion of the making of Godzilla Millennium online. In hindsight, this was a pioneering move in those days.

From (10/25/1999) homepage
From homepage in 1999
Internet Live

I planned to watch it live but that required staying up until early in the morning. And there was no guarantee I would see much of anything. In those days, there was no broadband like we have now. Websites were designed for 640×480-pixels low-resolution monitors that were just as big as the computers to which they were attached. We used dial-up modems and I’m sure I was using America Online (AOL) as my internet provider. These were the days of the browser wars between IE and Netscape. But I would have it another way. I’m glad to have lived through the birth and infancy of the Internet.

My room and computer set up back in 1998

Well, a couple days ago while searching files from my old backup drives, I came across an old .mov file of the live online broadcast of the making of Godzilla Millennium (1999年7月11日(日) ライブ 録映画, 場所: 東宝 砧撮影所) from Sunday, July 11, 1999 Live Filming at Toho Hikari Studio. What I remember at first was a dark screen that made me think something was wrong. Although it was a short live event, it was so cool for that time. Along with that video, I found a promotion video and movie trailer. Their resolutions are low and ratio small, but they are a blast from the past.

In 1999, was the beginning of what web presence Toho and Godzilla have today. The website post news particularly around the production and filming of Godzilla Millennium. Such as shooting in the large pool on June 23 (6月23日(水)ゴジラ攻撃される!大プールでの撮影が開始された。). On August 20, 1999 from 19:00-22:00, there was planned a second Godzilla 2000 Internet Live event. Here is the text and Google translation.

GODZILLA 2000 INTERNET LIVE 大好評、「撮影現場生中継」第二弾!! 前回実施後、大反響を呼びました「特撮現場生中継」の第二弾をお 送り致します。 中継は8/20(金)19:00~22:00 生の現場ならではの、臨場感溢れる現場の様子をお楽しみ下さい。 注:画面は数秒毎に更新されます。 お詫び 前回の生中継では、始まってしばらく暗い画面の放送となってしま いましたが、これは撮影前の準備で スタジオの照明が消えていたた めです。我々も、皆様がご覧になって楽しめる映像をお届けするよ うに 心がけておりますが、現場はなかなか予定通りいかないため に、このような事態は避けられない事をご 了承下さい。万が一その ような場合は、そのままお待ち頂くか、しばらく経ってから再度ア クセスして みて下さい。

GODZILLA 2000 INTERNET LIVE very popular, the second “live shooting site broadcast”! !! We will send you the second installment of “SFX Live Broadcast”, which has been a big hit since the last time. The broadcast will be on 8/20 (Friday) from 19:00 to 22:00. Please enjoy the scene with a sense of realism that is unique to the live scene. Note: The screen refreshes every few seconds. Apologies In the last live broadcast, he was on a dark screen for a while, but this is because he had his studio lights off in preparation for the shoot. We also try to deliver videos that you can enjoy watching, but please understand that such a situation is unavoidable because the site does not go as planned. In the unlikely event that he is like that, please wait as it is, or after a while, try his access again.

Below are production photos posted on on July 14, 1999.

Videos and images of Godzilla and related characters are trademarks of Toho Co. Ltd. and are used solely for illustrative purposes.