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Strange incidents occur when an American submarine has been destroyed by a mysterious force at sea off the shores of Guam. Only Admiral Tachibana was certain that behind the disaster was none other than the destructive King of the Monsters, Godzilla! 50 years after his attack on Tokyo in 1954, Godzilla has mysteriously returned to life to destroy Japan, and General Tachibana, whose parents died in the monster's destructive wake, was prepared for his return to protect Japan from yet another tragic disaster, but is dismissed by the overly confident Japanese government, who underestimate Godzilla's power. But to further prove Tachibana's claim, his daughter Yuri, who works for the TV news program "Digital Q," investigates strange phenomena in three separate areas in Japan (two of which involve the deaths of immoral youths), and meets a mysterious old man named Isayama, who proclaims that aside from his infamous nuclear origins, Godzilla is an accumulation of vengeful souls (of both ... Written by
John Cassidy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I jumped into this fully prepared to be unimpressed, but it just blasted away my cynicism shield with atomic breath. Basically, it's notable because it's more or less the first Godzilla since the 60s that isn't just schlock. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them were FUN schlock, but watching them is a constant battle against tired conventions and wooden, disposable cipher characters just to get to the monsters; the effect was almost that of a TV series. Here, the franchise's time-honored B movie charm is still in full swing, but the characters are likable and warm rather than empty and maudlin, the humor's on point, the sense of terror and awe is back when it counts, and the plot glides along purposefully between the action (of which there is a lot). It's a perfect balance--in a word, Godzilla finally got cinematic again here.
There's some ropey early 2000s CGI here and there, but it's forgivable because it's never really the highlight--the emphasis is always on the rubbery, physical heart of the franchise. The monsters are striking--still obviously artificial, but intricate, sinister and animated like they came out of some opera. Even if the designs sucked, it's what's done with them that makes them work: the camera constantly emphasizes scale with its placement of people and props during the battles, so the sense of destruction is always palpable. It's also the first Godzilla film I've seen since the first one to even try to do anything unique with Japan's geography, with its steep green prefecture roads, misty forests and valleys. Along with having some actual character arcs you care about, the effect is a complete and effective movie rather than some monster fights linked by dead-eyed exposition.
Although the film is held in fairly high esteem, some hardcore Godzilla fans will have their gripes. The plot involves mysticism rather than warmed over 60s science fiction. Godzilla's eyes are "too white". They might not like certain monsters being "underpowered" or "overpowered" (what is this, a video game?). Whatever. People who care about that stuff aren't watching movies correctly. This is one of the four or five things you need to see before you dismiss movies about guys in rubber suits; and if you do dismiss them, you're not watching movies right either.
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