“Shin Godzilla” is the latest film featuring the King Of The Monsters and the 31st to feature the famous Kaiju. 29 films came care of the Toho Studios people while two were American made features. You might recall the dismal “Godzilla” with Matthew Broderick from 1998 along with the 2014 reboot of that which was also called “Godzilla”. That wasn’t as bad by comparison. Now I got to see this film a couple of weeks ago at the VIP Screening that was held before the NY Comic Con thanks to Funimation but since it was not opening to the public for a few more days I held back on the personal overview since I knew it would have some spoiler stuff in the narrative. Now that’s its opened and run the course, I can safely do that. Here we go.
Our adventure begins with a sort of Japanese Coast Guard examining an abandoned boat and while they are looking around the vessel, something appears to attack them and while it seems unexplained to the masses back on land, we viewers know in our hearts that its Godzilla giving a first “hello”. We then find ourselves in a conference room in Japan where so much back and forth discussion is given. The film is almost entirely in Japanese (there are some English moments but not many) and as result we have sub-titles to read as it all goes by. Is it a volcano is it an underground earthquake or some kind of explosion are par for the course in the discussion and there is a whole lot of discussion going on. There is almost 20 minutes of straight discourse with not a single piece of destructive action. I tell you my eyes were keeping busy reading all the sub-titles. This film is considered to be a reboot of the classic film that starred Raymond Burr so the people of Japan were seeing the monster for the very first time in these now modern 2016 times. I guess everyone’s Facebook status was pretty troubling to read and their Instagram’s on the terrifying side.
When we first “see” Godzilla lumbering through the streets it is very early in his evolutionary process and I must say that he looks rather silly here. He’s crashing through the streets like a freight train and he has these big googly eyes. Now you might have noticed that I said “evolutionary process” and that is because we find the Big G changing with each time he comes onto the screen. A little jab at our side of the fence is when we learn the Americans are calling him “Godzilla” and that they always have to name things or something of that nature. The creature makes a mess and is gone back off to the sea but will surely be coming back in short order. This leads to even more discussion on how to stop the dangerous threat. A lot of discussion – you get my drift on this being dialogue heavy I hope. It was now starting to feel like I was watching one of those Congressional channels that was peppered in with a Godzilla appearance. He is off screen being talked about far more than he is on it which calls to mind the American release of 2014. Too much narrative and people interaction. Bring me the carnage!
Godzilla does of course return and he is bigger. Massive even at this point and seems to be taller than the skyscrapers of Japan. The planes and tanks with their cannons and missiles seem to bounce off of him and when he spews the flame AND a radiation beam from his mouth the destruction is unbelievable. Blocks and blocks of the city are decimated. Eventually the meetings lead to a plan to stop the great beast and I’m going to keep what that exactly is to myself if you want to see the film still on your own time. We get a lot of back and forth between the Prime Minister, well, before he cannot say anything anymore and a US Envoy named Kayoko Ann Patterson. Her lines are both in Japanese and English which was interesting to find being the case. Godzilla displays a few new interesting powers in the film and while he looks mean as hell there are parts of the new incarnation that I didn’t like at all. His arms are much smaller than ever before like a T-Rex might have and his tail seems to go on for miles. There is also a redness to the creature that lights up periodically and the teeth go way up to the side of his head now. The trademark roar seems a bit modified but I was okay with that one. This part is a spoiler since one of the new powers is a laser beam from his back fins. That made me shake my head to be quite honest and when Godzilla flips between fire breath and radiation, his jaw drops open. The radiation beam is even more devastating than the flame breath but I think you knew that already.
Speaking of radiation, there is a point where we find what all assume to be that which created the King Of The Monsters in tons and tons of nuclear waste. When all is said, and done, the plans that the governments devised does work but it’s not a kill method at all. With this being a reboot of the character mythology I am assuming they want to have him return quickly should another giant menace surface to cause them harm. You might remember in the original “Godzilla” film from way back in the day that they killed him with some sort of oxygen depriving bomb.
Overall this was an enjoyable experience barring the few criticisms that I had about it. I am not good at keeping my eyes focused on sub-titles so generally bypass these sorts of films unless there is an English overdub. Godzilla is now all CGI as opposed to a guy in a suit and while I mourn the classic of the past I think he looks great on screen when he is destroying everything around him. Also, I was finding it hard to enjoy a film that was “Godzilla Vs. People” since I am so used to seeing him fight giant-monster after giant-monster at this point in his history. One cannot easily rally behind men in tanks when they are heading towards a skyscraper sized radioactive lizard. Given the state of things that the film leaves us with I am sure a sequel is coming from Toho Studios. Perhaps Miss Kayoko will even be the President of the USA as she says she is aiming for in this film. One can only hope that a follow up will have more Godzilla time and less Japanese CNN. The same applies for the next American Godzilla release. Less people wondering where their loved ones are and more monster fighting action. Kudos also to the classic score. Was great to hear a more modernized orchestra doing the Godzilla theme. Check it out if you are a fan of the character and the franchise.
As I mentioned, the night before the 2016 NY Comic Con began, I attended a VIP Screening of the brand new Toho Studios “Shin Godzilla” which is currently doing a brief theatrical run. The date has been recently extended which is all the more awesome for fans. The images below are from the screening. The line on 42nd Street begins to form.
The chap in front of me was one of the production assistants on the film and was sporting perhaps the best tie clip that I had ever seen.
The first 75 people in the door got this sweet looking “Shin Godzilla” t-shirt and believe it or not I was that exact number and got the very last one that they had. Whew. I would have been so disappointed to have missed out on this but the line processing by the AMC Theatre 25 staff really messed up the process and moved a lot of people from way behind inside before those who had arrived earlier. Where is my Yelp account………
There were also free posters for the film being given out so I laid them next to each other for use in the narrative.
The ticket and keepsake at the end of the day.
Who doesn’t love free stuff. Nothing better than a little popcorn and a drink to go along with a screening.
Heisenberg here had one of the new Godzilla toys from Japan. It was a pretty solid figure and you can see what some of the points about him I made were right with this.
Godzilla himself was present at the screening, okay its a guy in a suit like the old movies but it was still a lot of fun.
These two lads are stars of the hit series “Stranger Things” now streaming on Netflix. I congratulated them on the success of the program but admitted that I still needed to sit down and see it. A lot of my friends have raved about the series but I am still working through the final few episodes of “Luke Cage” and also have a DVR loaded to about 94% thanks to all the stuff that has been starting up again. I’ll likely binge watch the series on a lazy Sunday in the near future.
Official Film Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shin_Godzilla