The latest incarnation of the classic franchise takes a step away from Hollywood-blockbuster, and returns to its original roots.
FUNimation was kind enough to invite the GO staff to check out their latest live-action endeavor, Shin Godzilla (also known as Godzilla Resurgence), and for some of us, it was the first time we truly got to experience what it was like to enjoy a Godzilla film- the right way.
First off, understand that this film is meant to be a major throwback to its 1950’s beginnings and in no way was this filmed designed to be a major Hollywood film like last year’s Legendary Pictures’ counterpart. Instead, this version is far more true to where it came from so long ago, with the focus on the people of Japan trying to deal with their first-time meeting Godzilla and the destruction he brings to their city of Tokyo. And pretty much every other city Godzilla decides to step on and obliterate, just because a giant lizard monster had nothing better to do.
If you are going in with the hopes of seeing Godzilla take on another monster so you can root for the title character, or if you are hoping to see some of the best CGI ever done in a monster film, then you should probably have your expectations in check. Sure, Legendary’s Godzilla looked impressive, but Shin is meant to take you back to the beginning in what is being referred to as the “Batman Begins of Godzilla movies”. There is cheese, boy oh boy is there cheese in this film, but it is implemented in a way that makes you laugh and not take things too seriously. This is a movie about a giant radioactive lizard destroying cities because he can, after all.
Some of the performances from the otherwise unknown cast really stood out among the fray and panic of so many background actors, which was refreshing considering the majority of the time you will be laughing at the googly-eyes of Godzilla. Trust us, there is a reason why all of the promo materials never focus on this part of Godzilla’s face. The eyes are laugh-out-loud ridiculous.
There’s a reason those eyes are blacked-out here.
Regardless of the crazy googly-eye situation, and maybe the T-Rex arms aside, Godzilla looks menacing to the core. From his sluggish walk, to his insanely powerful solar-breath-death beams, this monster truly feels like the right version of the character, which is really saying something considering we have seen so many versions from Hollywood over the past decade. If nothing else, it really feels like this film was put together because eastern filmmakers were sick and tired of the western stink on such an icon. I mean, Godzilla is the original monster we are talking about.
The plot is as basic as it gets as well, so if you never saw a Godzilla film before, Shin does a good job of getting you up to speed. But then again, if you have never seen a Godzilla film before, you might be scratching your head a bit at the poor CGI (which was intended, I think), and the tongue-in-cheek cheesiness of the whole thing. You really need to understand the intentional design of this film. It is meant to be fun, absurd, and a popcorn flick where you and your pals can sit back, and watch a mutated lizard wreak havoc on an unsuspecting civilization.
Of course, the film is not without flaws. And again, while maybe intended in some cases, there were some really poorly outlined scenarios of dialogue and plot direction, considering the entire film is trying to find its way to stop Godzilla while making the USA look like a bunch of airheads and buffoons. Which we may very well be (Clinton/Trump 2016).
Politics aside, FUNimation and Toho put their powers together to bring this film to the States, and it is worth the watch if you happen to be a monster fan, or a Godzilla buff. Or maybe you are just not interested in anything else in the theater over the next few days. However, if you are looking for high production value, and you really hate subtitles, then this might not be the movie for you.
Godzilla Resurgence is only out for a limited time, so be sure to check your local listings for tickets!
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, Godzilla Resurgence (Shin Godzilla) stars Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, and Satomi Ishihara.