Shin Godzilla…thoughts and review

As you may know, this site is going to be devoted primarily to Horror, Monsters, transgressive nuns and homicidal movie maniacs: all the good stuff, right?

So for my return to blog/reviewing I decided to kick things off with a movie monster near and dear to me and, how gently let down I was…Shin Gojira!

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When I had heard sometime last year that Toho would be resurrecting my beloved childhood creature I became cautiously excited and optimistic. While Gareth Edward’s 2014 US interpretation wasn’t a total loss, it had its issues…primarily Godzilla itself. Having seen the creature design that Hector Arce had sculpted for Legendary Pictures (I interviewed Hector for G-Fan back in 2012) was disappointed that the folks at Legendary did not go with his breathtaking design and instead went with a creature that, to me, was uninspiring and had too thick of a neck. Here was Hector’s design:

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Pretty cool, huh? Anyways…Legendary missed the mark a bit on their version of the Tokyo bad boy.  Upon seeing early trailers for Shin Godzilla I started to increase my enthusiasm and optimism; letting my guard down a tad.

Fast forward to this morning when I eagerly went to see on the big screen. Shin Godzilla has a running time of 2 hours…that’s over an hour too long. You are first treated to a silly kaiju that looks like this:

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Only to find out that it’s actually Godzilla, himself, in an early stage..You have no idea how upset I was at this reveal.

My two bigger issues are the pacing of the film, the long, unnecessary conferences and meetings (that is even joked upon in the script, by the way) and the main actress, Satomi Ishihara. I honestly don’t know which is worse; the seemingly endless scenes of pointless dialog or her terrible english and acting. This wouldn’t bother me if they don’t drive the point home that she is an natural born citizen. She mentions twice that Japan is her grandmothers country, and several times its mentioned that she will eventually run for president of the United States. But she never bothered to learn english that well..it just doesn’t help buy her character.

Other more subtle and minor annoyances would give a bit of the plot away. But let’s just say its in ‘who ends up really saving the day’ when all other countries seem to miss the big picture. and, of course, the english speaking actors are all terrible, and that would be expected, except the main difference between this Godzilla and Toho’s other G-seasons is that with a more serious, darker tone there is much less wiggle room for camp. The tone of this Godzilla is like the original, which brings me to the films biggest asset: Akira Ifukube!

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This film gave me no greater pleasure than watching my beloved radioactive buddy stomping around while the maestros original score is playing! whoever had that idea I want to give a big fat sloppy kiss to! Ifukube-sans score has never sounded so grand and epic. It is for this reason alone that I do not score it any less.

And since a majority of the ‘panel discussion’ scenes are dialog set against silence, it will be easy, once the movie comes out, to feed it into Final Cut Pro and recut the film to what it should’ve been, without missing a beat on the score because when there is sound, there is something relevant on screen.

Notice I saved the visuals for last. I did so because, yeah there is a combination of miniatures and a decent amount of CGI. Some of the CGI is great while some you cringe at but overall its not a deal breaker at all. There are even a couple of miniatures that I think they deliberately made them look bad as an homage to the sets that came before.

So here I’ll sum it up and bullet point it:

 

PROS:

  • Akira Ifukube’s chilling original score
  • Godzilla in motion
  • most Japanese acting it good

CONS:

  • Dialog scenes are too long and drawn out
  • Satomi sucks, and in a bad way!
  • Too long for its own good. Needs trimming.

OVERALL: 6.8

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