*Spoiler alert! Don’t read any further if you are avoiding spoilers. You’ve been warned!*
Shin Godzilla is an utterly amazing and brilliant film. My head is still reeling after having seen such a keen monster movie. The wait for the movie to release to Blu-ray is going to be excruciating! I just can’t wait to watch it again. What a time to be alive!
TOHO Studios’ Shin Godzilla opens with an empty boat and a leak in a traffic tunnel. The cinematography starts off realistically similar to a documentary. At first, it’s believed the leak in the tunnel is due to magma from volcanic activity. To everyone’s surprise after witnessing a large tail in the water, the “experts” realize there is a large living creature in the water.
It’s also believed the creature is not able to walk on land. As soon as it is announced to the public, the snake-like creature defies this belief and slithers out of the water and into Tokyo. The creature slithers past and over buildings and then begins to evolve, growing legs and then arms. After releasing blood from its gills, Godzilla heads back into the ocean. Then a huge display of bureaucratic work takes place, slowly. Action and decisions are needed urgently but the bureaucracy is thick.
The actors do a fabulous job all around and make the slower moments entertaining, infusing Japanese humor throughout. First, it starts with the politicians and bureaucrats, then there is deliberation from scientists until finally military involvement and Yaguchi’s team of nerds and outcast scientists is formed. For the first attack, it is decided the ground troops will evacuate civilians while attacks on Godzilla will be taken from the air. Unfortunately, these attacks are a failure and Godzilla continues to hold his ground even after help from the U.S. military.
As the Japanese politicians and groups convene after the failure, the U.S. makes the decision to drop a nuclear bomb onto Godzilla in order to rid the world of him. It becomes obvious the U.S. is not concerned about those on the ground this may affect and are oblivious to the history of their nuclear bombs in Japan. It becomes obvious Japan must solve this problem without the U.S. if they want to protect their country from a third nuclear bomb, but also protect the world from Godzilla.
There are political allegories and themes abound in Shin Godzilla. Japan’s political position in the world with the U.S. and the UN, Japan’s history in WWII, and Japan’s ineffective bureaucracy are just a few of the themes represented. Many of the scenes such as the buildings and cars smashing together resemble the day the tsunami came through Fukushima and breached the nuclear power plant.
Shin Godzilla’s themes are emotionally resounding on a personal level. Much like the character Kayoko Patterson, my grandmother was a war bride from WWII who use to tell us stories about the impact to her hometown when heat bombs were dropped on it. The writers excellently weave elements from the past with a message for the future.
The actors gave excellent performances. My personal favorites are Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi for his lead performance, Jun Kunimura for his wisdom as he becomes the acting Prime Minister, and Mikako Ichikawa as Hiromi Ogashira for her intelligence and sharp wit. The cast is all great but Godzilla is the real star of the show.
From the first sight of his tail rising above the Tokyo Bay to his final evolved form, Godzilla is a sight to see! The radiation breath from his mouth can also beam from his spine and tail. Godzilla causes a lot of destruction and chaos. At the end of the movie, the audience receives a closer look at his tail which displays a gruesome sight. Is it a human skeleton or another Godzilla-like creature? What sort of organisms make up the creature? Just the thought of Godzilla’s tail is awesomely terrible.
The explanation for Godzilla releasing blood from his gills to vent off heat and heading back to Tokyo Bay to cool down, makes for an interesting look into the origins of Godzilla. It’s even mentioned in the movie Godzilla’s survival instincts resembles how a nuclear reactor works. This makes sense since it’s believed the monster is filled with radiation.
Shin Godzilla changes the typical story of Godzilla protecting the humans, and creates a giant terror inducing monster. At the same time the soundtrack brings the audience to a sense of sympathy and sadness for the creature. The song “Who Will Know” portrays Godzilla’s perspective magnificently.
The soundtrack for the movie is brilliant. It’s a mix of familiar and new. The music creates the perfect tones at the right moments. This soundtrack is worth your money and listening time.
Hideki Anno and Shinji Higuchi did a masterful job directing and writing Shin Godzilla. Shin Godzilla defies the idea the franchise is just a simplistic building smashing monster movie and creates a complex, thoughtful story. The building smashing, explosions, and big monster fun is still there in all its glory too. I was impressed and I was amazed. Everyone should see this movie while they can because it might be a long wait for the Blu-ray release.
I cannot stop talking with Nordicmonkey about Shin Godzilla. It’s just so good. My favorite movie of all time is District 9, but Shin Godzilla has earned a spot with it in my heart. I love this movie so much I’m publishing this piece sooner than planned because I really want people to see this movie. I don’t feel my words can do this movie enough justice. You just need to go see it! I blame all my obsession and further interest on my 11 year old son. If it wasn’t for the kid, I’m not sure if I would have taken an interest in Godzilla. I owe him a huge thank you!
I have been looking for information on Shin Godzilla anywhere I can find it since viewing the movie. The VERY detailed review on the Scified site written by Danzilla93 is an incredible source of information. Check it out if you aren’t worried about spoilers or have already seen the movie. Don’t forget to check out the second part of Danzilla93’s review as well. Also, be sure to go to the Funimation site for tickets, times, and theaters. Shin Godzilla will only be in the states until October 18th ,so you better hurry!