Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★

In this new take on the Godzilla legend, we follow the actions of those behind the scenes more than the monster himself. Is that a good thing? I'd saaaaaaaaaaaaaay YES.

I went into this not knowing much about it. I vaguely knew it was different in some way, but not sure how. I did enjoy the 2014 version of Godzilla, but not a ton. Yes, it's full of whiz-bang effects and whatnot, but lots of Hollywood nonsense added in too. (partially the whiz-bangedness, as usual) To be honest, I can enjoy any version of the Godzilla movies, even the ultra-goofy Son of Godzilla. It's just fun! They decided to really get away from the seriousness of the excellent 1954 original and market it more towards children, I guess, but they're good too.

Anyway, this is a new take on the original origin movie, basically, but from a bureaucratic standpoint. Yes, there are flashes of the 'remember WWII' message in it, but those memories can't ever be as relevant to this generation as they were to Japanese audiences of 1954, so it's done in a modern fashion with modern sensibilities, based on more recent disasters that befell Japan, some of the nuclear variety. This is mostly about paperwork, red tape and political concerns.

Don't let that last sentence turn you off! There are plenty of exciting scenes featuring Godzilla (should I be saying Gojira at this point?), who is presented in a radical new way. At first, I didn't even think it was him! He does, however, get more and more amazing, to the point where this feels like an over-the-top anime. It works, though, and I'm hoping for a sequel done in the same fashion. (though, if you think about it, where would they go, as this one wraps up nicely...albeit weirdly)

The performances here were solid, with the only one bugging me somewhat being the U.S. ambassador. Her performance was fine, but I thought her casting was very [not in a good way] anime-like, so to speak, in that she is very young, very beautiful and very Japanese, despite her saying at one point 'can we dispense with the Japanese honorifics? I've never gotten used to them.' Really?! Your accent when speaking English is so thick, no one would ever think you're more American than Japanese! I think her casting was a mistake, but then maybe they thought Japanese audiences would get a kick out of it. I've heard plenty of broken/non-broken English in anime and live action Japanese productions over the years, so I guess that's just their thing. *shrug* Having said all that, it didn't bug me too much, but I still wish, as an English-speaking viewer (that point is important here, as it was meant primarily for the Japanese market, after all), that they had cast someone 100% fluent in both (or maybe 100/50 mix?).

Sorry for the rambling there. Overall, this is a very good movie. It reminded me almost immediately of Dai-Guard, one of my favorite anime series, which deals with the threat of monsters and all the red tape that has to be cut to get anything done about it. I should also point out that very few movies make me think 'wow, I'd like to get a blu-ray copy of this!', but I thought that here more than once. I also thought 'wow, they thought of everything!' more than once.

See it.

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