Years into the future and the human race has been defeated several times by the new ruling force of the planet: "kaijus". And the ruler of that force is Godzilla, The King of the Monsters. ... See full summary »
An unknown accident occurs in Tokyo Bay's Aqua Line, which causes an emergency cabinet to assemble. All of the sudden, a giant creature immediately appears, destroying town after town with its landing reaching the capital. This mysterious giant monster is named "Godzilla".
An old-school Toho logo which appears at the beginning was re-created specifically for the widescreen of this movie by Hiroyasu Kobayashi, a graphic designer at Anno's Studio Khara, as appointed by the director. See more »
Godzilla's color changes slightly throughout his first attack. See more »
A satirical masterpiece of monster-mash awesomeness! The King has returned!
2014 marked the Return Of The King (Of The Monsters) - Godzilla, at least for American audiences, in Gareth Edwards's "Godzilla." That film, while it had its flaws, represented the best vision of Godzilla thus far - at least for American audiences, after the disaster of "Godzilla" (1998).
2016, however, marks the Return Of The King (Of The Monsters), redux - "Shin Gojira," a.k.a., "Godzilla: Resurgence." Toho's "Shin Gojira"/"Godzilla: Resurgence" is the first Japanese-produced "Godzilla" film since "Godzilla: Final Wars" in 2004 - the latter film marking Godzilla's 50th anniversary. "Shin Gojira"/"Godzilla: Resurgence" is also the first Japanese-produced "Godzilla" film to be released theatrically in the United States since "Godzilla 2000" (1999) back in 2000 - and was, as a tearful aside, the last film I ever saw at the now-defunct Cineplex Odeon at my local shopping mall before it closed down later that year.
It was released in a limited one-week theatrical engagement here in the United States, and I had the opportunity to watch the film today with a very good friend who had never seen a Japanese "Godzilla" in the theater.
Needless to say, this was an event movie for me, well, both my friend and myself.
As readers familiar with my reviews here know, I am a life-long Godzilla fan; "Gojira" (1954) is my all-time favorite monster movie, and Godzilla is my all-time favorite movie monster. He has truly earned the nickname the "King of the Monsters."
But Japan is a very different country now, than it was during the 1950s when Godzilla first appeared. In March of 2011, Japan experienced a devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake that caused a massive tsunami and ravaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Thousands of people were killed in this tragedy, and Japan is still in the process of recovering from the disaster five years later. So, add a giant, fire-breathing radioactive lizard to the mix, and see what happens.
"Shin Gojira"/"Godzilla: Resurgence" is a gripping film, from the very first opening moments which are complete with music and sound effects that are a direct homage to the opening moments of the original 1954 "Gojira." That is perhaps the single greatest treat for eagle-eyed/-eared Godzilla fans who have eagerly awaited Godzilla's return for 12 years now. But while this movie is about Godzilla, it's also about Japan, how the country has changed in the 62 years since Godzilla's 1954 debut, and a new generation of film-goers are now being introduced to him. And, needless to say, this is a very different film from the "Godzilla" films that appeared before it.
"Shin Gojira"/"Godzilla: Resurgence" is the first "Godzilla" film ever to really dive into the behind-the-scenes hand-wringing, politics, and bureaucracy that was merely glossed over in all of the films produced from 1954 to 2014. Because we're seeing so many different human characters working for so many Japanese agencies, the prime minister and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) all working together to face a threat that defies everything they know about science and nature, we have to become accustomed to a lot of folks just standing around talking.
But the various characters manage to keep us interested.
But, also, this behind-the-scenes drama also provides us with plenty of chances of anti-bureaucratic satire (which I know is something American audiences would love to see). I take this as a satirical commentary to the way Japan's government may have handled the response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster; much of this satire is actually quite funny, and fits in with the scenario, and does not in any way distract us from the seriousness of the film's proceedings. All this is seen through the eyes of a young government bureaucrat named Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa). Hasegawa gives the film's most compelling acting performance, and provides an amazing center as he reacts to everything that's going on around him and happening to his country; he finds himself carrying the burden of an incredible responsibility, and he accepts that responsibility with grace, dignity, and courage. He's something like the target member for the audience.
And lastly what about Godzilla himself (since he's the reason we go to see this movie)? Let me just say, this Godzilla does not disappoint. I would hazard a guess that this is the most powerful Godzilla ever seen on the screen - in addition to being the most massive. Although we all know what this Godzilla looks like - his appearance has been the subject of massive controversy and debate in online fan circles, and is the first Godzilla to be fully CGI rather than a man in a costume - to see him in action in this movie is the real joy here.
Co-director/screenwriter Hideaki Anno and co-director Shinji Higuchi (of last year's live-action "Attack on Titan" adaptation) have fashioned the (near-) perfect reboot of the original Japanese "Godzilla" film franchise. There is no question, in my mind, that if Ishiro Honda (who directed "Gojira" in 1954 and several other subsequent "Godzilla" films for Toho), he would be proud for what Mr. Anno and Mr. Higuchi have achieved here.
19 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this