Movie Review: Shin Godzilla (2016)

Please note: there are minor spoilers in the images at the bottom of this review. I don’t believe they will impact your enjoyment of the film, but they do reveal certain events.

Released in 2017, Shin Godzilla is a Japanese kaiju/monster movie, and answer of sorts to the bastardized American remake. Produced by Toho, it is the third reboot in the franchise’s history, and was co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, each perhaps best known for their work on the Neon Genesis: Evangelion anime and films. The film is a realistic(ish) look at what might happen if a giant monster did in fact appear in modern day Japan, and the politics, bureaucracy and international treaties required to do something about it – but don’t be fooled, this is a kaiju film first and foremost, so Godzilla is the main character.

+ I found the modern day setting, and the frank discussions before it was clear what was going on, to be fascinating. Realistically, in our real world, people would not want to admit there was a monster, and that was portrayed really well here. Similarly, I really liked that the monster itself was portrayed more as a force of nature than, well, a monster
+ similarly, the scenes where groups of “lone wolves, nerds, troublemakers, outcasts, academic heretics and general pains-in-the-bureaucracy” all team together to bounce ideas off each other were tense and realistic, as characters were called out on for not having showered in days. I wasn’t sure if I would like the less action-based sections, but they were actually quite interesting
+ there were lots and lots of fantastic shots, so it was difficult to even include which ones to use in this review (though most may fall more into the area of spoilers). Much like the dragons from Game of Thrones, something about Godzilla just makes everything look better (especially once there may or may not be some atomic flames as well)
+ the carnage in Godzilla’s wake is legitimately unnerving, and a confronting looks at just how destructive something like this would be. Trails of bodies, destroyed houses and the constant tension from everyone involved made for a very subtly scary film
+ the music is fantastic, including some funky, modern remixes of the classic Godzilla themes

The cinematography is simply fantastic, with these four shots, and many more, being worthy of being placed in a frame on your wall.

– I’ll come right out and say it: Godzilla’s unevolved form, sort of like a four legged lizard, looks goofy as shit. It’s big eyes and stupid smile made me almost think I was watching a parody. Thankfully, this was only the beginning portion of the film, but it still got a chuckle out of me

> all of the military scenes were like something straight out of Evangelion, and Godzilla could fit the bill as an Angel (though maybe he is not weird enough)

Look at this face and try not to chuckle. The destruction is intense, but the creature itself was hilarious.

Should you see this film: Yes. This was not only significantly better than the 2014 American version (because it mostly focused on Godzilla him/her/itself, rather than a random human), but also a genuinely tense, atmospheric destruction movie. You will need to use subtitles (and strangely, the blu-ray comes with hardcoded Japanese subtitles, so there will be some difficulty reading a few things), but if that doesn’t bother you, then this will be well worth your time.



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