After waiting what felt like forever (it was only a year) for Shin Gojira to be released in the UK and being personally taunted by being in Japan for its original release, but unable to watch it, the UK and I were treated to the cinematic release of Shin Gojira last week.
If you’re a fan of Toho’s Godzilla then I think you will absolutely love Shin Gojira. Introducing a new arc and therefore a new origin story, Shin Gojira updates Godzilla into a new world and a new style, excellently combined with all the original elements. As usual, it’s dealing with Godzilla that takes centre stage and not the monster itself, and although we’re introduced to his destructive force (albeit in a different form) much earlier than usual, the intrigue and mystery of a good Godzilla film remains.
Shin Gojira is more West Wing than Battle Los Angeles and therefore may not quite hit the mark with Hollywood fans. It’s a frighteningly accurate depiction of politics, where decisions take both time and very large committees, contrasting heavily with Hollywood presidents who make instant life changing decisions without the need for changes in law or any consultation whatsoever. This produces a very unique and interesting disaster movie.
The acting in Shin Gojira is steady and honest, with a typical Japanese style. The effects struggle when compared to Godzilla’s big budget Hollywood cousin, but it doesn’t steal away from the impact or horror of the beast. Interestingly Godzilla is far less human than in previous Godzilla depictions and appears completely instinctual which adds more verve to the nuclear metaphor that emanates once again through this film. It’s sometimes easy to forget Godzilla (1954)’s political heritage, but Shin Gojira brings this up to date with almost propaganda proportions.
I will be recommending Shin Gojira to everyone because I love Godzilla, but putting my reviewer hat on instead of my fanboy vest, Shin Gojira is a solid film, and a good example of Toho’s strength and the more serious side of Godzilla. I would firmly recommend this film to Sci-Fi and political drama fans, but for those looking for non-stop violence, it may not be for you.
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