Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★

Having already been a big fan of director Hideaki Anno's Evangelion franchise, I went into this with the greatest of expectations, and like with Evangelion, Anno instills this Godzilla reboot with political verve, awe-inspiring kaiju visuals, and quick editing that captures the hectic nature of mobilized stratagems concocted by men in suits and carried out by the engineering/militant populace. Surprised to find that this was so humorous, as with each new decision the political cabinet devised they had to move their conference to different rooms, seemingly with no real practical benefit or importance other than for Anno to show the absurdity of long-winded, excessive government procedure. This deliberate satire shows the likely circumstances that high-ranking government officials would find themselves in had a monstrous creature made landfall in Japan. As for the cultural icon himself, Godzilla is genuinely deigned for the first time as a terrifying beast worthy of inciting fear: his jaw now opens much in the same way a snake's would as he prepares his atomic breath; his blackened scales resemble hardened magma with large strands of bioluminescent reds tracing his body; a massive, swooping tail; and small, piercing eyes. A tremendous design, all the more boasted by the film's impressive visuals, namely a shot in a darkened Tokyo with the crimsoned kaiju lurking between the skyscrapers. Using the same technology from co-director Shinji Higuchi's live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, the visual effects marry computer generated imagery, puppetry, and animatronics—though there are times the animation of Godzilla looks a bit wonky, specifically the moment immediately before he becomes immobilized. The score is supplied by another Evangelion collaborator, Shirō Sagisu, who even uses the track 'Decisive Battle' of Evangelion fame several times throughout the movie (occasionally remixed) effectively creating a quasi-pastiche of his own work, though this can arguably be seen as creatively counterproductive. A terrific Godzilla reboot, with a final shot (itself again replaying Eva imagery) that would suggest a sequel in the works. I will gladly await it.

*Interesting to see Godzilla acting as not only a parable to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as it has always done, but now as one for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster. Godzilla's first form very much plows through the city much in the same way a tsunami would, as well as being an envoy and eater of nuclear radiation.

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