Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★★

How do you make a gripping action film about a hundred different anonymous beaurocrats in bland empty rooms discussing plans on how to deal with a giant monster?

It helps if you love the material.

In the last decade or so, there's been a fascinating wave of Post-Disreputable Genre films where the creative team adores everything that has come before. These artists don't dismiss the childish nature of the material ("We want to take Godzilla seriously!" says the hack who has no idea what they're talking about) and unlike the film brats that rose up in the 70s like Spielberg, these Post-Genre filmmakers don't necessarily just want to make the BEST version of the thing they loved as a kid (with all the new bells and whistles) but want to approach it in a radical way. It's one thing for Brian DePalma to do his trashy version of Hitchock (Dismissed popular entertainment until the film scholars jumped), but it's a whole other ballgame to take Godzilla, a franchise that most people consider a joke, and completely revitalize it - without ever being dismissive of the past.

I realize how pretentious that mouldy thought sounds, and that a lot of these Post-Genre films are merely dull deconstructions that make me mumble "Just do! The! The! Thing! You Like!", but Anno figures out a way to unfurl the story in a new way that never betrays its goofy origins. SHIN GODZILLA has the giant cast of characters, the subtle humour, the destruction, the disturbing creature, and even the dream of global cooperation, but now it's presented at a head-spinning pace, with wild camera angles (that never feel obtrusive) and a focus on figuring out plans (The Ishiro Honda ideal), as opposed to the fireworks of their execution - and it's just as exciting! The entire endeavour is jaw-dropping in its brazenness and most importantly works because they deeply understand the material.

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