Shin Godzilla (2016)
aka Shin Gojira
Article 5576 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi
Featuring Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara
What it is: Kaiju political drama
When a rapidly mutating monster attacks Japan, the government finds itself scrambling through the red tape to take action against it.
Given my fondness for kaiju and for Godzilla in particular, I’m a little surprised it took me so long to get around to seeing this somewhat controversial reboot of the classic monster. From what I hear, the American version is quite different, so I opted for the Japanese version with English subtitles, and I’m not entirely sure I made the best choice. The main problem I had was trying to read the subtitles while trying to deal with the rapid-fire editing of the visuals; it’s not easy to read them when the background scene keeps changing. Furthermore, the movie feels very Japanese; I get the feeling that I don’t have the necessary knowledge to truly understand what is going on part of the time. However, it is audacious and gripping, and may be the most serious Godzilla movie since the original. One new twist has Godzilla as a rapidly mutating monster who only achieves the familiar form in his final incarnation. He’s also given some frightening new powers. Part of the story is standard enough, and I do like the use of motifs from the old Ifukube scores. All in all, I was very impressed with this one, though it make take a couple of rewatchings to absorb it.