Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★½

first impressions --

definitely feels like an anno work. great static shots, a dialogue-heavy political focus with the monster as a backdrop, a bit of philosophizing thrown in for good measure. the political scenes do a good job of building tension, especially during the initial shock and confusion of godzilla's appearance. i also appreciated that, like w/ the original film, the ramifications of nuclear weapons are given proper weight. i loved the new monster design. godzilla is basically a giant mutated dead-eyed beached fish and it's horrifying. the CGI doesn't look incredibly realistic but it's directed pretty damn well, only rarely revealing the weaker details of the physics and models. the action scenes are short and scattered but pretty reminiscent of evangelion in their scale and intensity. the score is mostly excellent and essentially feels like a mixture of the evangelion and old-school gojira soundtracks.

a couple of the performances seemed to be on the weaker side, and i'm not sure the development of the protagonist was completely successful in giving him a compelling arc. it has a really dense cast and expects you to keep up, which i was having trouble doing as i saw it at midnight after a day at work. some important characters only have short appearances; others are quickly introduced, seem to disappear into the background, and then return later. it also seemed to have sort of odd pacing and editing, jumping from being extremely upbeat to being relatively calm and calculated -- i was very tired while watching and i want to revisit this but as of now i'd definitely recommend it. not ready to call it amazing or a rival to the original on first viewing but i appreciate the angle it takes -- this is less a monster film and more a film about the handling of disastrous events by the japanese government (and the UN). if you took issue w/ the 2014 american film for its lackluster writing and not just for its human focus and lack of fighting monsters, you'll probably enjoy this.

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