Let me be brief.
I’m a long time comic book and sci fi fan. I’ve seen a lot of science fiction films. I’ve watched a lot of Godzilla movies over the years. ShinGodzilla? It’s better than good. Its amazing. If you ever have watched the Godzilla franchise and imagined what it COULD be, and I’m including the American films as well, but thought each time, no its just not there, yet?
This films changes all that. This is the perfect merging of the legacy of the earliest Godzilla films and the potential those films held for a truly remarkable reboot.
I sat in a movie theater in Manhattan last night and was stunned by how well the the filmmakers conjured the scale of fear and devastation such a monster might create while staying true to the legacy. The film tracks the frantic efforts of the Japanese Prime Minister, his cabinet and the military to try and understand and then deal with what is unfolding.
At first you can see how these characters conjure the campy protagonists of early Godzilla films, but then, they become more human, frightened, complex, and you find yourself rooting for them. The filmmakers stay in the tension between the black and white comic book world of early Godzilla movies and the nightmares they inspired in us as small children. Moving deftly between what is clearly a fantasy movie and the darker despair of post World War II Japan. A Japan scorched not once, but twice by atomic bombs.
Parts of the film have a frantic documentary feel. Parts of it are awash in chaos and raw destructive force, played out in long pans of the city. It is designed to conjure Godzilla as a god like force of destruction. And it conjures that desctructive force with great immediacy.
I have been waiting for someone to do Godzilla right. The American Godzilla films just didn’t do what ShinGodzilla does on an emotional level. In part because both American versions, Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla (1998) took the fun out of Godzilla even as they plowed millions of dollars wroth of overwrought CG effects into their storytelling. They took it too seriously. They took themselves too seriously.
As a result, those are simply not sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat films. ShinGodzilla is. I enjoyed it every bit as much as films like Jame’s Cameron’s Aliens II or JJ Abram’s recent Star Trek reboots. Films that stay true to the source materials they reference, but give us that fantastic immediacy that great filmmaking provides.
The result is a film you want to watch again. Right away. Because its not 45 mins of buildup to some payoff followed by 45 minutes more of waiting. Its all payoff. If you are a fan of films of any kind, this is great filmmaking. Five stars, clearly. If you are a Godzilla fan? This is the Godzilla you have been waiting for all your life.
ShinGodzilla will be showing in theaters for one week only, so don’t miss the chance to see it on the big screen.