DVD Movie Review: Shin Godzilla

By Drew Hurley 02.12.2017 4

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Shin Godzilla (UK Rating: 12)

Since his initial rise from the ocean in 1954, the King of the Monsters has had a huge career. Not just in the 29 Toho films in Japan but also Western adaptations, most recently in 2014 alongside other Hollywood Kauji titles like Pacific Rim and the return of King Kong. These colossal creatures have a promising future in Hollywood, too, as a new Godzilla movie is due to hit in 2019 with Godzilla King of the Monsters promising fan favourite creatures making their Hollywood debuts, and then just a year later will see Godzilla vs. Kong. In the meantime, Toho is still producing films in Japan and this latest, Shin Godzilla, is a complete reboot, seeing Godzilla emerge in modern day Tokyo. Kaiju fans can get their hands on this new movie from 4th December, courtesy of Manga Entertainment.

While this is a fresh reboot, the story is a familiar one. Nuclear waste has been dumped into the ocean, and the result is a gargantuan monster that rises up out of the ocean and heads straight for Japan. When the film opens, though, it seems that perhaps the creature that first rises from the ocean may be the "evil" Kaiju that Godzilla eventually faces off against. It has Godzilla's trademark spines but, otherwise, it's like a completely different creature, a chunky and lumpy body, a huge giraffe neck, and the stupidest derpiest look on its face. It doesn't so much cut a path of destruction through Japan but rather stumbles its way through the metropolis in a sequence that looks absolutely ridiculous. Whether it be trains comedically flying through the air or the creature literally humping a building while the inhabitants fall to their death, it's hard to take this seriously.

As surprising as it sounds, this derpy monstrosity really is Godzilla, although it undergoes a number of transformations before it becomes the Monster Zero-One the audience has come to know and love. When it finally does cast that iconic shadow over Tokyo, it begins delivering unbelievable amounts of destruction with its iconic breath attack, and it requires a rag-tag team of weird folk to come up with a way to fight back.


 
This iteration of the Alpha Predator has a number of staff from another famous Japanese franchise, Evangelion, and it is easy to spot the touch of certain creators. The writer and co-director is Hideaki Anno - creator of Evangelion - and he's teaming with Shinji Higuchi as the co-director, who had previously worked on the Godzilla rival, Gamera, along with recently directing the live action adaptation of Attack on Titan. Both creators have a very recognisable style in their cinematography and their writing and it's very recognisable here. As is the soundtrack work of prolific artist, Shirou Sagisu, who composed each iteration of Evangelion, some songs of which end up here. Sagisu-san arranges many familiar themes from Godzilla history, some to their detriment... In particular, original composer Akira Ifukube's main Godzilla theme is absolutely ruined after being replayed ad nauseum during the finale.

On the topic of the soundtrack, this release comes with two Blu-ray discs, each with their own dub. The first contains the film in the original Japanese and the second with an English dub. On top of the dual audio versions, there are a trio of featurettes available with this release. There is a 20-minute "Pre-visuals and outtakes," a 20-minute "Making VFX - Shin Godzilla Visual Effects Breakdown," and, finally, a 28-minute "Pre-visual reel." What these all equate to are storyboards and early test VFX that show off the creation of the pretty terrible final effect. Godzilla is made up of performance capture, physical models, and digital effects, and it ends up looking like a parody.

There are age-old discussions on Godzilla being a metaphor for the Japanese people's fears of life after the tragedies they lived through in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A device not unique to Godzilla but in plenty of other Japanese stories, too, possibly most noticeably in the phenomenal Akira. This latest instalment continues the trend but it feels it owes its inspiration more to the recent horrors of Fukushima. Dealing with an impending doom and the repercussions of the decisions leaders have to make. This examination is the highlight of the movie, but it's just a shame it drags on for so long with little real story development.

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Shin Godzilla is such a strange mash-up. The creature effects and the devastation that Godzilla wreaks on the towns of Japan are absolute shlock, filled with mid-90s Super Sentai level stumbling around. The political discussions belong in a much smarter film, the pace is all over the place… and it's actually hard to see what the creators were hoping to say with this film. Ultimately, it can't live up to Gareth Edwards' 2014 Western adaptation. Maybe on the next reboot.

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Comments

i gotta disagree with this review.

i found Gareth's film insufferable, while Shin Godzilla was the much better and much more harrowing godzilla experience i would expect.

I think it would be very rare for you and I to agree on a review Smilie

Smilie

We need more reviews of things like Kong Island, Planet of the Apes, etc.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

i generally tend to hate almost everything that comes out hollywood to be fair.

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