Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.
Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence): Rated “NR“ (2 hours)
Starring: Shin’ya Tsukamoto,Satomi Ishihara,Jun Kunimura,Hiroki Hasegawa,Takahiro Miura
Directed by: Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi
Since he first appeared rampaging on the scene, tearing up Tokyo, Godzilla (or, as he is more correctly referred to in his native country, Gojira ゴジラ) has not only been the world’s favorite Kaijū (怪獣 — or “strange beast”), but has served as an allegory for the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Born in the wake of the horrifying devastation of the U.S.’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. The original Ishirô Honda-directed, 1954 film that was released in Japan was a far different film than the one the wound up on U.S. shores in ’56. That film retitled — Godzilla, King of the Monsters — stared Raymond Burr in scenes that were intercut into a re-edited film which some critics believe diminished the power of the original cut.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters 1956 NR
Godzilla, King of the Monsters
Over the years there have been over 30 films starring the giant Kaijū (including re-releases for U.S. audiences, as well as a pair of American-made films in 1998 and 2014). While other films have acknowledged the pre-existence of Godzilla, this film begins at square one and presents this appearance as his initial entrance into the modern world, as his emergence plunges Japan into chaos as Godzilla rises out of the ocean and crawls up on land. Yes, you read that right, crawls up on land. When this Godzilla rises out of Tokyo Bay onto land he is more serpentine than bipedal, and it is only after heading inland for a time that he continues to evolve into the destructive force of nature that we have come to know and love.
Shin Godzilla - Theatrical Trailer
The Ultimate Homage Film
That’s right, kids, make way for the ultimate homage to one of the most enduring legends of the big screen — Godzilla! The King of the Kaijū has returned to the big screen for some city-crushing action that hails back to the core of what attracted us to him in the first place. So, as the film begins, it is a peaceful day in Japan when a plum of water erupts in the middle of the bay, which, naturally enough, caused a fair amount of panic to spread throughout the government.
A New Kaijū Assault on Tokyo
A Kaijū Nightmare
This initial appearance is, at first, thought to be volcanic activity by essentially all of the old guard politicians, there is, however, a single young lawmaker who speculates that it just might be something different, perhaps some form of aquatic life, and (as we already know), he is proven correct when his nightmare prediction comes to life when a Kaijū emerges from the deep and begins tearing through the city, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. And so, this is where the film truly begins, as government officials scramble from one meeting to another as they vainly attempt to develop some sort of contingency plan in order to save the citizens.
The Rise of New Japan
Oh No! There Goes Tokyo!
Needless to say, nothing they plan for actually works out for either them or the denizens of Tokyo, and while Godzilla rampages through the city the ineffectual government moves from room-to-room holding one meeting after another as they struggle to deal with the assault on their city by the radioactive Kaijū tearing through their city. Meanwhile, a small group of younger legislators who manage to cut through a mountain of red tape so as to learn the monster’s weakness. As the story unfolds, and Godzilla crashes through Tokyo one horrifying conclusion is reached. The creature must be nuked, and it is the U.S. that is going to drop the bomb; again!
An Arial Assault on Godzilla
A Nation, Mired in its Own Bureaucracy
Like the first film, this one has much darker, more sinister, undertones as the story progresses and that machinations to drop or not drop the bomb, and if they want to avoid another city reduced to radioactive rubble. We see an old, aging Japanese leadership that is unable to deal with the rampaging threat to their nation, mired in its own bureaucracy. As the threat grows more and more dire, Japan is forced to reach for outside assistance, and the only solution that’s presented is that (once again) the United States will be dropping an atomic bomb on a Japanese city). Needless to say, while the older politicians (reluctantly) sign off on this plan, it evokes horror in the younger group (one of whom says that she will not stay in Japan to see another nuke dropped on her country).
A Younger Generation of Godzilla Fighters
A Delightfully Retro Film
The film itself is delightfully retro enough to make us nostalgically recall the days of yore and how much we enjoyed those early films. The various teams tasked with saving the city rush around carrying notepads and folders — not tablets — to their various meetings, which while odd (considering that this is modern-day Japan) actually adds to the period feel of the film. Yes, we thoroughly enjoyed this film, it brought us back to our youth, while propelling us forward into a new era of Kaijū. If you have been a fan of Godzilla, his kith and kin, then you too will appreciate this delightfully modern throwback.
Searching for an Answer
© 2016 Robert J Sodaro