‘Shin Godzilla’ Review: A New Era Of Toho Godzilla Is Here

‘Shin Godzilla’ Is A Stylistic But Polarizing Return After A 12 Year Japanese Hiatus

Toho took a break in 2004 from the Godzilla franchise. They returned to work on the American remake in 2014 and have now created their first solo Godzilla production in nearly 12 years. ‘Shin Godzilla‘ shows that time off from the brand allowed Toho to comeback with a new vision.

But it seems the more things change, the more it stays the same.

Like many previous films, ‘Shin Godzilla‘ has a plot dealing with government and nuclear war. Don’t forget the all the monster movie madness. But one of the biggest changes is to the monster itself. Godzilla has evolved within this film, quite literally actually. Amazing to see mature growth within the franchise but the ability to remain fun & campy.

“A god incarnate. A city doomed.”

Love the return of Godzilla being this ugly & villainous monster. Like he was in 1954, ‘Shin Godzilla‘ is a directly inspired by real life events. In ’54, it was after America dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan. This time, the inspiration is Fukushima Daiichi and the recent Japanese natural disasters.

The giant kaiju always finds a way to fearful reenforce the GOD in his name. He’s a representation of our fears of not being prepared for massive destruction. Also you get the feeling that the government would have no idea what to do in an unordinary catastrophe.

That unprepared feeling is captured perfectly with the frantic camera and editing work. As we see the destruction Godzilla is causing, we cut quickly to the government having to react on the spot. I feel this was a powerful way to give a look into how a country and the world would deal with situation nearly minute by minute.

What shined was how real the politics felt. All Godzilla movies have that government presence but this one feels the realest. Some key plot points are Japan declaring a state of war for the first time since World War II or the debate if nuclear weapons should be dropped on Tokyo. The drama is all dealt with a heavy heart.

Then the focus shifts from the clumsy Prime Minister and his cabinet to the ragtag team lead by Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa). The movie really starts picking up here. Each member of Yaguchi’s team are outsiders in government. They want to make a difference but are usually shut out. Yaguchi gives the team time to shine by figuring out an alternative way to try to kill Godzilla.

Final Thoughts:

Instead of blindly complying, ‘Shin Godzilla‘ challenges the way we think about disasters. Maybe it’s the millennial in me but I loved seeing how strong Yaguchi’s outcast team was and how dumb the government is portrayed. Many doubted Yaguchi when he first mentioned the monster. Then they were blind to his urge against nuclear attacks. It was great to see a young rebellious hero with different point of view be able to stop the monster.

Toho used 70’s style rapid cuts and a clean visual aesthetic. To me, this shows they’re coming with a more serious approach in their craftsmanship. Don’t get me wrong, the CGI is still a bit insane at times but that’s become a trademark for the brand. I appreciate that they did still use practical elements throughout.

It also changes everything you think you know about Godzilla as a monster. He did things in this movie that I’ve never seen before. It felt like they really wanted to create a stark difference between the American Godzilla and their new Toho Godzilla. I am curious on how the hardcore fanbase will react to this film.

In short, just go see ‘Shin Godzilla‘. This is one of the longest running franchises in film history and a massive comeback for Toho.

Pay your respect to god incarnate, Godzilla!

Shin Godzilla

EJ Moreno
EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno