Shin Godzilla Review!

Jondee here at Tokyo,

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Shin Godzilla, Shin means “new” in Japanese (the film is subtitled), is the latest in the Toho Godzilla films with the last one, the wretched Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), putting to sleep Big G for twelve years. This is a limited screening, until Oct. 18, by Funimation. Now Godzilla has wakened with the help of writer/director Hideaki Anno who created the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion and co-director Shinji Higuchi. It uses the skin of the Godzilla films; an unstoppable force wrecks havoc on a city, scientist prepare a weapon against it, and the military throws everything against the kaiju. This movie though has a government cabinet of actors all over the different levels of government and military. So the focus of the movie is the political maneuverings during a crisis, in this case, a kaiju crisis. There is criticism against the paralyzing bureaucracy, American intervention, seen as sort of friendly, through the liaison, but also heavy handed from the president, President Ross. This got the most reaction from the packed audience, laughs, at the politicians’ reaction to Godzilla since we know Big G’s appetite for destruction, nod to GNR. The beginning of the movie follows the coast guard checking out an abandoned yacht which is rocked by an underwater disturbance. We know what it is, but this is new to the Japanese government. They believe it is an underwater volcano and later a whale. Reiko Hanamori, Defense Minister (Kimiko Yo), gives a logical response. The only voice of reason is Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa) who brings up reports that it is a monster. The final decision rests on the prime minister, there are actually two in the movie so hopefully this is the first actor, Ren Osugi. The event shatters a tunnel and spills reddish liquid into it. The found footage works here and is disturbing with all of the natural disasters. This is abandoned when we get into the kaiju action, but we get a perspective of the suit Godzilla from a helicopter level or city wide airplane view. Then, we get the kaiju emerging on land, crawling and pushing it’s way through the city. This is the most bizarre form with bulging eyes and a sack-like body that expels the reddish liquid.

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Yaguchi calls in someone who might know about the kaiju, Hiromi Ogashira (Mikako Ichikawa), who suggests that it will start walking. Which it does, it’s blobby body transforms into chunky legs, but extremely tiny arms. This form has tiny, almost unseen eyes. Of course, we get the typical evacuation, since the perspective is on the government level, there are only glimpses of the Godzilla Run and we don’t get any character on the street level. The government finally sends attack helicopters, but at the last minute, an older man and his grandson walk in the path of the kaiju. The prime minister calls off the attack and the kaiju enters the bay. This is novel to have human cost weighed against the kaiju attack. The government is deadlocked on a response to the kaiju so Yaguchi forms his own team of misfits, this is more people like director Anno. They come up with theories that we know get close to Godzilla. The U.S. sends their liaison, Kayoko Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara). She is an actress who co-starred with Hasegawa in the Attack on Titan films adapting the manga from 2015. The U.S. has coined the kaiju “Godzilla”, which came from a destructive god, and translates into Japanese into “Gojira.” The team comes up with a coagulation agent to stop Godzilla. It re-appears in Tokyo and the city is evacuated so the military finally has authorization to fire on it. I’m not certain about his new look, the jagged teeth, noted by the team, do not look functional. At first, it is a barrage, but the team has found out that Godzilla has an evolutionary adaptation to all threats. His back plates charge up and he vomits fire that ignites the city before it forms into a blue ray that slices buildings in half. Later, he has a response to bombers and also his tail is a weapon! I really liked the perspective of the tank commander firing on Godzilla. This all leads to the U.N. authorizing the U.S. to drop a nuclear bomb on Japan (again). The true horror is the possibility of this happening. The new prime minister has to agree to the terms to have the world help rebuild Japan. This is a new take on Godzilla, we see more of Godzilla than the 2014 Gareth Edwards’ film, but there is much political back room deals. Three Stomps out of Five!

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