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Movie Review: Shin Godzilla
In my last semester of college, I watched Gojira as part of my disaster film class. As I watched, I realized something very important. Gojira was originally an horror movie. Growing up in the 90's and watching the 1998 Godzilla film, I always thought it was about the action. And seeing the many screencaps of the campy Godzilla featured in the many sequels, I thought of Godzilla has a super hero amongst monsters. I couldn't be anymore wrong and fortunately this movie depicts Godzilla as the evil bastard he is.
Toho's Shin Godzilla is a Japanese horror and monster film set in the kaiju universe. It is a complete reboot of the franchise and directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. The movie stars Satomi Ishihara, Hiroki Hasegawa, and Yutaka Takenouchi. It is a remake of the original Gojira and his first appearance in Japan. The film was subbed and distributed by Funimation Films.
Many film remakes bank on nostalgia and Shin Godzilla is no different. The original movie's most redeeming quality was its ability to portray horror and destruction. In the end, Godzilla is a life-less killing machine who poisons millions of people through its atomic blasts. There's no reasoning for the atrocious acts it commits and its very existence threatened mankind. That very doom and dread is felt ten-fold in this film with the inclusion of new camera techniques and special effects. From its classic soundtrack to the design of the creature, this is an authentic take on the kaiju legend.
The present day aspect of Shin Godzilla has allowed it to borrow horror elements and use new technologies created after the original's release. The found-footage or (first person) camera perspective is brilliantly used at times to depict the damage of Godzilla. And the perspective is nothing short of a success has it allows you to feel the chaos at the ground level.
Another strength of the film is the unique use of special effects to depict the monster. Godzilla's appearance in this movie is a mixture of practical and CGI. There's not too much CGI as to make it look fake, but the right amount of practical effects added to give the monster an extremely realistic and terrifying look.
Even if the dialogue can be extensive at times, it is fast paced and filled with crucial information. At times, the dialogue is at times more important than the action that unfolds. The doom, dread, sorrow, and hopelessness of the situation is delivered by the expert cast of Japanese actors. Plus, the dialogue constantly creates tension and is what will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Any horror or monster film buff will definitely enjoy this film. But, being a fan of the original Gojira will definitely help. To be perfectly clear, this film is not a rehash of the original. There is a new story, new features of Godzilla, and a new take on the classic soundtrack. In addition, there are a lot of scary moments and an insane amount of destruction to behold. It's not just a remake of a classic but a classic in itself.
Shin Godzilla is available on DVD and available on streaming platforms.
© 2017 Joseph Lawrence