By Derrick Jean-Baptiste
Shin Godzilla is a 2016 Japanese kaiju film featuring Godzilla and produced by Toho and Cine Bazar. Shin Godzilla is also perhaps one the best Godzilla movies out there.
For those unaware, this was directed by Hideki Anno, the man behind Evangelion, and it really shows. This was actually what got me to watch it, and I was thoroughly satisfied. It also features a great soundtrack by Shiro Sagisu, who scores Evangelion (among other series' like Bleach, Berserk, and Attack On Titan).
The movie is like no other Godzilla movie I had seen. It's very dialogue heavy, political and the parts with Godzilla, while fascinating and entertaining, are very strange. Godzilla is basically a huge indestructible obelisk that slowly kills and destroys what's around it, barely reacting and unflinching in its march.
Godzilla didn't even act like Godzilla. He felt so foreign and unnatural to the world he was in and that made him even more chilling to experience. They reused old and dated sound effects for Godzilla that added to this unnatural, uneasy feeling element of the monster doesn't belong here. Everything about Godzilla felt so out of place. I loved this movie. Godzilla was the slow march of death. An incurable disease. You can't stop it and you know it's coming.
With that all being said, the main points of the movie being the commentary on slow-moving Japanese politics, their hesitation of military force, and a look at how modern Japan may react to use of Nuclear weapons in the present day. These main points are a little muddled for western audiences as even if you do understand what they are getting at, it's hard not to get impatient during this movie (which is also sort of the point).
With Anno's directing style, you get a lot of quick cuts and shots that last only a few frames. Anyone who has watched an anime, especially Evangelion, will be familiar with it but surprised to see how differently that style translates to film. Anno pulled it off though, because that kinetic style makes it easier to keep interest.
The scenes with Godzilla itself show that Anno could absolutely make full-on action Kaiju movie, and it would be amazing. The scene where Godzilla first uses his atomic breath was actually terrifying, and so well done. If he had made that movie instead, then I have no doubt that everyone would have loved it. But he clearly had a vision for the movie, which was to bring it back to its roots with commentary on Japanese issues, and in that regard, I assume he succeeded.
As for whether or not people will enjoy this movie, it's really a tough sell for anyone who isn't a fan of Godzilla, Anno. It was a fun watch for me, boring for others. I recommend it to general movie fans though, especially if you are interested in seeing a directorial style, unlike anything that has come out of Hollywood.
So before you go next month to watch Godzilla be crowned King of the Monsters don’t forget to check out the monstrous Shin Godzilla.
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