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Shin Godzilla (2016)

Theatrical Poster (USA)
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5.7
 / 10
2 votes
Movie Connections:
Godzilla
> Godzilla (1954)
> Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
> Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! (1956)
> King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
> Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
> Ghidorah, The Three-Headed... (1964)
> Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965)
> Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)
> Son Of Godzilla (1967)
> Destroy All Monsters (1968)
> All Monsters Attack (1969)
> Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
> Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
> Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
> Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
> Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975)
> Godzilla (1998)
> Godzilla (2014)
> Shin Godzilla (2016)
Genres:
Creature Film, Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction
Directors:
Hideaki Anno Hideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi Shinji Higuchi
Starring:
Hiroki Hasegawa Hiroki Hasegawa
Yutaka Takenouchi Yutaka Takenouchi
Satomi Ishihara Satomi Ishihara
Ren Ôsugi Ren Ôsugi
Akira Emoto Akira Emoto
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 17, 2016
After twelve years, Toho Studios has resurrected the legendary Godzilla for a new generation of movie goers. To say I was excited was an understatement. I've been a massive fan of the iconic monster since I can remember, so when the film was only given a limited release, I happily drove close to two hours for a theater that had it.

There sure are some mysterious happenings going on in the Tokyo Bay. A large, unexplained steam cloud has appeared in the middle of the bay and the Aqua-Line, a large traffic tunnel, has suddenly started flooding. As the government convenes to discuss how to handle these problems, a newly appointed Cabinet Secretary named Rando Yaguchi discovers the phenomena are actually caused by a massive living organism. Before long the creature makes his way on land; it's unquestionably a seafaring reptile, with two webbed feet it's using to propel its serpentine body forward, but in the mere two hours it's on land it begins to evolve, developing lungs and a bipedal stance, before suddenly returning to the ocean. Yaguchi is put in charge of a committee to research the creature, teaming with an American ambassador, Kayako Patterson, to share information. They learn that a professor named Goro Maki had predicted the creature would appear years earlier, naming it Godzilla. The team works diligently, but Godzilla soon returns from the sea having doubled in size and fully evolved into a terrestrial animal. It's a race against the clock for Yaguchi's team to find a weakness in the monster before it destroys the country, despite the government's bureaucracy preventing any decisions to be made.

I tell you, this is going to be an incredibly hard review to write. You see, I'm honestly not entirely sure what I thought about it. Godzilla is neither the focus nor even the central theme of the movie; instead his appearance is merely the set up for the film's true message: a commentary on the state of Japan's bureaucracy and political gridlock in a post-war world. Scene after scene is dedicated to explaining how the never-ending red tape prevents the Japanese government from taking any action in a timely manner. Also, while the original film was a metaphor for the atom bombs of 1945, this one calls back to the massive 2011 earthquake that created tsunamis that, in turn, caused a nuclear power plant to meltdown. During this tragedy, the government learned how poorly equipped it was to handle these sudden emergencies. Now, I don't have a problem with Godzilla not getting very much screen time or being used as a source of political commentary. After all, there's precedent for both. It's just that while I'm sure the combination of this new allegory and the political commentary held a lot of weight for Japanese movie goers with these horrific memories fresh in their mind, as an American, all of this was lost on me. I know this is a bit shallow, but I'm sure this fine site doesn't have much of a Japanese fan base just yet.

And what about Godzilla himself? Again, it's kind of hard to put a finger on it. Like I said, he didn't get a whole lot of screen time to set an impression, but there were some really interesting decisions made. Before I say anything though, let me point out that the Japanese title of this movie isShin Godzilla which translates to New Godzilla. This is absolutely a different creature than the one we've spent over sixty years watching. That's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but a lot of the changes here are damned through the details. For example, the mutating gimmick wasn't a terrible idea, but the various designs looked horrible. Between the slug-like crawling and dead fish eyes of his initial form to his strange face and vestigial arms in his final iteration, he looked more goofy than anything. Plus, they gave Godzilla a host of new weapons at his disposal. While the purist in me wouldn't go that route, this could have had some incredible results. Unfortunately, the ones they went with were a bit too cheesy for my liking. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let's just say the phrase "less is more" comes into play here.

One thing that is readily decisive about this movie is that it looks amazing. Another of the changes to Big G was an internal, red glowing accent along its body and tail. It looked awesome, especially in the night scenes, with that glow lighting up the wreckage surrounding him. It paired especially well with the panoramic, panning shots that really drove home the scale of destruction in its wake. The directors were also keen on active close-ups, setting the camera right in a crevice of whatever the focus was on. Admittedly, we probably didn't need a PoV of a rolly chair being dragged into an office, but the angle worked incredibly well on the body of a tank as its turret swung over the camera to line up its shot or on the side of jeep following the lower portion of the creature towering above it. Top it all off with those classic Godzilla theme songs, and Shin Godzilla was a truly a treat for the senses.

I have such mixed feelings about Shin Godzilla, it's taken me a bit of thinking on how to go about rating it. I think I'm going to go with a 6/10, but over the next few weeks, my opinion of that number will no doubt be bouncing up and down.
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Godzilla Mothra vs. Godzilla King Kong vs. Godzilla Invasion Of Astro-Monster Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla Godzilla vs. Gigan Godzilla vs. Hedorah Godzilla vs. Megalon Destroy All Monsters Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! Terror Of Mechagodzilla All Monsters Attack
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