Film Review – Shin Godzilla

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Movie theater entrance

I remember the summers spent at my grandmother’s in Poland like they were yesterday. One of my most vivid memories was the summer where one of the three channels available (I know, hard to believe) would broadcast a Godzilla movie each Friday evening. It was then that I familiarized myself with Mothra, Rhodan, Mechagodzilla, King Ghidorah and a host of other monsters Godzilla found himself pinned against.

In recent years, there have been attempts to resurrect the Godzilla franchise, but in my opinion, these fell short of the originals. Not to say that I still didn’t go and enjoy them, but there was something missing before I saw Shin Godzilla last night. Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, who were both involved in Neon Genesis Evangelion, the duo has managed to put the monster back in monster movies as far as Godzilla is concerned.

The film starts off as found footage from multiple cameras, giving the proceedings a Cloverfield feel. It then shifts to reveal a cast of Japanese government workers who are thrust into having to deal with the rise of Godzilla. These bits with the human characters when we were witnessing citywide destruction at the hands of our beloved giant radioactive lizard were able to accurately show the powerlessness of government forces in the event of a mass catastrophe of that magnitude. It feels realistic that instead of acting fast, they would have to jump through regulations and loopholes (can you tell which Marvel Civil War team I was on?) and would take forever to come to a decision. The film itself was also able to touch on themes of Godzilla’s nuclear origins which was a nice treat for a fan of them original movies.

I’ll take a moment to talk about Godzilla itself, because man, they managed to take a 50’s design and make it disturbing! *Here lie spoilers* The first iteration of Godzilla we see emerge from the ocean is vastly different, an un-evolved form of the creature we know, and there is just something incredibly uncanny when it comes to its eyes. My friends argued that it had fish eyes, but I said human eyes, and that’s what made them so eerie. They made something so human on a monster that it became unsettling. He later becomes the Godzilla we know as the film progresses, but those same eyes are still there and I would be lying if I said they did not haunt me for a long while after the film was done.

If you get a chance to see this movie during its limited release in Canada, I say go for it, because you’re in for a treat. My only one minor complaint was that the human action dragged a little bit at some points, but again, it contained a lot of information I already knew from previous Godzilla films so this can be seen as a bias on my part. That’s all I have to say, so until next time, keep it awesome!