Saturday, August 12, 2017

Shin Godzilla 2016 Directed by Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi

Shin Godzilla (Godzilla: Resurgence) marks a new beginning for the Toho studios Godzilla films. While it is the 31st in the series it re0imagines the creature’s origins - basing them more on the Fukushima disaster rather than the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in WWII. 

The results are mixed. 

Overall, this is your typical Japanese monster flick in style and substance and would not have been out of place on a Saturday morning’s Creature Double Feature TV show. There is a lot of filler exposition with government officials debating and running around trying to decide what to do about the giant monster attacking Tokyo. Two hours is little long for this sort of thing, but it’s a fun film to watch and the special effects are far above some of those earlier efforts in the 60s and 70s we all remember so fondly, and even better than more recent efforts as the mix of monster suits, CGI and puppets gets more sophisticated. 

Visually, Godzilla is huge and the redesign is interesting… but doesn’t always work. In this film it evolves quickly from a sea creature to the two legged creature we all know (more or less) but some of the earlier versions are a bit weird looking. The eyes are on the line between creepy and cartoon-like. The fully formed monster is a mess, mostly in a good way. It looks like a rotting corpse and that may be intentional. The atomic breath is well done and gets a slight laser beam upgrade at one point as well. 

The plot is where this, and many other movies like it, falls apart. It’s fun to watch but really makes very little logical sense. Godzilla is attacked repeatedly by missiles and bombs - which actually do have some effect - and is eventually crushed by knocking buildings over on top of him (her? Who knows?). They use the time he is on the ground to pump fluid into his mouth that will « freeze him »  when he uses his atomic breath and it works. The freezing solution is better than the military one which was to basically destroy Japan with atomic bombs so I guess considering the alternative, a giant decomposing monster in the middle of the city is the better choice. 

The film ends with a shot of Godzilla’s (comically long - seriously - it’s incredibly long) tail frozen while in the process of bursting open and revealing some sort of human-like creatures emerging from it. Creepy, effective looking but confusing and dumb - why on earth would that be happening? We know the monster is continually evolving according to the plot but that just comes out of nowhere. 

Watch it? Sure, if you like traditional Japanese monster flicks (and I do) this fits that need nicely. 


T' said...

I kind of have no interest in modern day Godzilla films. That being said, I actually liked the American one from a couple years ago. It was pretty much a decent Godzilla film, didn't try to be anything else. That being said, there's always an aspect of these things we can't really grasp as Americans. Think I'll avoid this one, but thanks for the review!

Behemoth media said...

Loved Godzilla in the newer movie and some of the scenes, HATED the characters, I could not have cared less about that guy and his family. The other posters were lame I i thought as well but somehow I am excited to see the next one!

T' said...

Let's be fair, when have we EVER cared about the characters in a Godzilla film (except the Peanuts)? Pretty much never. Unless they were voiced by the same people that did the voiceover for Speed racer. :"D

Behemoth media said...

True, EXCEPT in the original version of the first film, the three main characters, the young scientist, the woman and the male love interest are pretty compelling and it's very sad when the scientist sacrifices himself at the end. If you have never had a chance to see the original Japanese cut, it's really worth it!

T' said...

The only original cut worth seeing is the one with Raymond Burr as Steve Martin!!! Just kidding. :"D

Behemoth media said...

I keep wanting to see it with the other Steve Martin! Banjo and all!