I saw the 29th Godzilla movie and loved it.
Last night, I went to see Shin Godzilla in Manhattan and I loved it. Over the last few years, there have been a few kaiju movies and I’ve tried to see and support them all in theaters. When I found out a new, Toho Studios made Godzilla movie would be out in the states for one week only, I had to see it.
It delivered. On the surface it’s another Godzilla movie, except this time it’s the only monster. This isn’t another Godzilla vs. scenario where he’s the good guy coming to save the day. This is Godzilla’s 29th movie, but it manages to feel new, with the monster going back to his roots. Destroying Japan.
If that was all the film was, I’d be okay with it. From the beginning of the film, it was already giving the audience what it wanted to see. A large monster causing damage in a populated city. But it’s the Japanese government’s response to the event that gives the film its substance.
Running back and forth to meetings to decide how to deal with Godzilla, the government’s ridiculous amounts of bureaucracy and procedures leaves them paralyzed as Godzilla evolves and becomes even more powerful. Conflicting messages are delivered to the citizens causing more panic, and eventually things wind up worse due to their inability to agree or proceed with any effective plan.
While the original Godzilla was symbolizing the atomic weapons used by the United States, there’s a lot of parallels between this movie and the 2011 Fukushima disaster as well as the response to North Korea and their missile demonstrations in the Sea of Japan. After being demilitarized, the government has to abide by treaties and regulations when it comes to using their Self Defense Force. The back and forth between the government officials makes their efforts to stop Godzilla useless which seems like it’s the opinion of the film makers, Attack on Titan director Shinji Higuchi and creator of Evangelion Hideaki Anno.
With some pacing issues aside, I loved this movie. The story was realistic enough to give weight to the circumstances in the film but was still over the top enough to remind you you’re watching a Godzilla movie. The visuals were top notch. No excessive shaking cameras and quick edits, seeing Godzilla next to modern Japanese landmarks and then destroying them was satisfying and did a great job showing the scale and scope of the beast. The soundtrack was a throwback to the originals and did keep up the feeling of nostalgia while watching something new.
It’s only out in theaters for a week, but a Blu-ray and digital release can’t be too far off. I loved Shin Godzilla and would definitely watch it again.