Friday, October 14, 2016

Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) 2016

I don't usually write movie reviews, in fact I don't think I ever have but this was such a unique experience for me I thought it deserved one. I caught wind of this movie Shin Godzilla while goofing around on Facebook. Immediately I thought "this would be a great movie for me and the boys to go to." The boys being my 33 year old son and my 22 year old son. We don't get to hang out together much as we all work full time and generally on different days. It was perfect though since my oldest likes all things Japanese and my youngest likes Sci Fi and basically anything I like. I of course have a long history with Godzilla dating all the way back to the early 1970's watching the movies be rebroadcast on the "Friday Night Creature Feature" that was on our local PBS station. Godzilla is the monster of my youth.

A quick internet search showed the movie was being shown in a theater about 30 miles from our house. A quick calendar search showed that the only time I would be able to see it was that evening and then only if I cancelled a previous engagement. A flurry of text message between me and "the boys" ensued. I verified they were both off of work for the night. I cancelled my commitment and bought tickets on Fandango. We were set.

What was exciting and unique about this movie was that it had been originally released in Japan in July 2016 and was being released on a limited basis in the US. This was the 3rd reboot of the Godzilla franchise. The other unique thing was is it was entirely in the original Japanese with English subtitles. A smattering of English and German where also spoken during the movie. I was psyched.

We made to to the movie after a short stop for food. Procured our tickets and popcorn and moved to the theater. The theater itself was a smaller venue that I had never been to before. I liked it as it was cozy and the chairs were more comfortable and bigger than the theater I often visit by my house. Surprisingly the place was pretty full. The theater was in college town so the audience was an eclectic mix of college kids, Asian exchange students and locals. We were seated right next to three Japanese guys that undoubtedly were excited to see a new movie in their native tongue.

I wont go into the whole plot of the movie as it would ruin it for others and wikipedia covers it very well in the link above. What I want to talk about is the themes and stuff I enjoyed about the movie. In a nutshell this was an old school Godzilla movie with 2016 special effects. Firstly Godzilla was portrayed as an unbeatable and evil god. This is in line with his original portrayal in the 1954 original Godzilla. Later Godzilla movies showed him as a protector of Japan against other Giant Monsters and towards the end of the original incarnation he got very campy. I liked going back to the first version. The movie also used the beloved human in a "Godzilla" suit and model Tokyo that made the original Godzilla movies so entertaining. No CGI monster here. 

The original Godzilla movies showcased the Japanese angst over nuclear weapons and this version also showed a healthy distaste for and fear of nuclear use. The final solution in this movie was employed to keep the USA from dropping a thermonuclear bomb on Godzilla after all the conventional armament had failed.Speaking of the USA, this movie took repeated jabs at the relationship Japan has with this country. Characters complained of the demanding and arrogant US attitude while at the same time admitting they needed US assistance to deal with this giant monster. I think it was a pretty accurate portrayal of the current Japanese feelings toward the US. Those feelings being frustration at feeling like "little brother" while not wanting to totally discard the warm blanket of US protection. 

Me and "the boys" had a great time. I will probably by this movie if it comes out on video and watch it whenever I need my Godzilla fix.

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