Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★

Whether it be the Planet of the Apes inspired aliens from Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla or the ripoff Terminator robot from Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah, it's pretty clear that most of the Godzilla films of the past have been deeply inspired by Hollywood cinema. So It felt fitting at the time that Godzilla 2014 be a typical Hollywood action flick, and it is a pretty good one at that. Shin Godzilla does something different, saying screw Hollywood and being a film that Hollywood would never make. It ends up being the true successor of the original 1954 film and rivals it's place as the best Godzilla film ever made.

As I've talked about it before in my past Godzilla reviews, most Godzilla movies having boring filler. A lot of that filler is people in boardrooms or offices discussing what they should do about the giant monsters that are attacking the city. There are lot of people in these scenes but few real characters, so naturally they're very boring. When making Godzilla 2014, they decided to deviate from those tendencies and try to make it follow a single character and while I'm not sure they pulled that off well, it certainly was a logical choice. Shin Godzilla does something I would have never done and some that I grimaced about when I first heard it; it embraces those boring scenes of generic government officials in boardrooms and offices. And it completely works.

Taking heavy influence from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, they turn it in what I can only compare to the 2011 film "Contagion", directed by Steven Soderbergh. They make it in the perspective of the Japanese government, jumping around to different officials, all trying to figure out what to do. It's all an attempt to create a realistic what-if scenario of if something like Godzilla were really to appear. It isn't as thorough as a film like Contagion is and really does miss a lot of facets and potential of the hypothetical scenario, especially when it comes to how the attacks would affect an average civilian. There a few scenes of videos recorded on phones and internet comments those were great, but it's mostly just at the beginning. It could have used a character similar to Matt Damon's character in Contagion, someone who's on the ground experiencing these terrors. But the perspective is inventive and the way it explores the themes of bureaucracy and political nonsense in the face of disaster is far more fascinating than when portrayed in those terrible made for TV disaster films or Roland Emmerich movies. What's even more fascinating to me is that this movie has awful characters but the style is so well executed that it feels they don't need it. In fact they try to give some characterization to two of the characters near the later half of the movie and it felt like it didn't belong.

What makes it work is the editing. At first, I was really confused by the quick jumps from scene to scene, but once I got into it and understood what they were attempting, I found it to be very unique. I can see it causing a lot of frustration with some viewers, but I quite liked it. There were a few times when the editing was subtly reminiscent of the original film, they pulled off the style of editing well and reused in a modern way to create greater dramatic affect than they did back then.

The special effects in general are pretty good although they still do not compete with the effects of Western film-making. For Godzilla itself though, the design is great. It erases all memory of what Godzilla looks like except for the original film, making it more based on amphibians and fish than dinosaurs. They created very creepy and menacing monster. However, I really hated how slow it moved and how it froze every now and then because it's body acts like a nuclear reactor. It was total plot convenience. I also thought that the lasers exiting out of it's tail and fins were overkill.

The soundtrack sounded on the derivative side (though I cannot place where) but was overall good, I liked their use of the original Godzilla themes. They used some sound effects from the original film though and I'm assuming it was a stylistic choice but it just completely immersion-breaking. The grainy 1950s quality roars, stomps, and beam noises clashes with rest of the crisp 2016 audio.

The ending was also anti-climatic, but the last shot has me deeply curious. It ends with the shot of Godzilla's tail and we see what appears to be some sort of fossilized humanoid creatures sort of stuck into it, reaching for the tail's tip. I don't if this was merely hint at some sort of origin, a hint at a sequel, or if it was suppose to be symbolic of something. They bring focus to it, so it seems like they wanted you to think it was important.

Block or Report

Robert J.H liked these reviews