Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shin Godzilla - Review

An enormous nuclear-powered creature sprouts itself from the bottom of Tokyo Bay and heads toward land, much to the chagrin of government officials and ordinary citizens. Did you really expect anything else plot-wise from Toho Studios with their latest installment/rebirth of their most prolonged and prized property? Actually, SHIN GODZILLA does in fact have something to say, namely a stinging satire of the torturous bureaucracy and outdated thinking that plague the Japanese political world. Resident anime provocateur Hideaki Anno has used the giant monster movie model in order to spin out a quite vicious and blunt tale of how a group of free-thinking and cooperative outsiders, politically and scientifically, must do battle against the rigidness of endless meetings and leaders afraid of doing anything, even helping out the public, before then dealing with a literal beast of destruction. This is all told in super rapid-fire editing, a lot of walking-and-talking, and an immeasurable parade of subtitles. Seriously, watching the subtitled version of this version is exhausting, as every name, job title, law, meeting, group, town, city, area, weapon, and vehicle is bolted on to the moving frames. This is all thought-provoking and very intriguing, especially its clear parallels to the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima disaster, but what about Godzilla? He's here alright with a brand new frightening appearance but Anno really keeps his time on screen to minimum, shockingly even more so than Gareth Edwards' version. This odd strategy does work for the most part because it leads to an absolutely fantastic showstopper at the end of Act Two that had theatergoers erupt out of their chairs and a great realistic take of a final battle between the irresistible human force against the immovable scaly object. However, looking over at the kids in the audience who like myself grew up with the older and more visually entertaining films, the severe lack of the Big G and over-reliance of human plot caused a lot of squirming and pouting. I was in complete euphoria watching a real Godzilla film in theaters again but some of it did quickly evaporate once the puzzling final shot lead to a smash cut to ending credits. Nevertheless, this is a mighty Japanese answer to THE HOST but like that great monster movie, if you're heading into this expecting a lot of kaiju action, you'll be less than pleased.


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