Last night I saw the Japanese remake of Godzilla, Shin Godzilla, and I have to say I loved it. I will say this, there were times when it was a bit strange and weird. Times when I thought “Whoa, what is that?”, “What just happened here?” and “Why did he just …” Yet, once you let it go and enjoy the ride you realize this is pretty cool. I will admit that after all this time I had gotten used to having Godzilla in the role of “Protector of Earth and all Mankind.” This is not that film. With this film Toho Studios went back to the root of the sub-genre. They went back to the 1954 film, Gojira. Here Godzilla is the antagonist and Tokyo and all of humanity is the protagonist. But wait there’s more. In the 1954 version there was an underlined political statement. Nukes are bad. Stay away from nukes. The 2016 version also has a political statement but it’s more pronounced.
1) The United States can be rather arrogant and a bit of a show off on the international stage.
2) The Japanese government is too submissive having to ask permission one hundred times in order to not lose honor.
Both of these statements are true, will either of them address it? Probably not.
People will ask “Is it better or worse than the 2014 version?” For me personally, I think they can’t be compared against each other. Why? Because they target different audiences. The 2014 is more of a mainstream version. It follows the American film formula for mainstream media. The 2016 version, made by the original studio caters more to the fans of monster, Godzilla, and Kaiju movies. So I understand why it is in a limited release schedule, it’s only for the fans not for the mainstream public. Although I would have liked another chance to see this. I write this the day after the first day of release yet I doubt there are tickets left.
Does this mean it’s for kids or not? I really don’t know. There were some kids in front of me that when the movie was over they were either tired (it was rather late) or bored. Either way they didn’t seem excited about the movie. So I would say it’s up to the parents. There is no foul language (not that I remember,) no gratuitous violence (although there are military vehicles firing weapons,) no nudity or any romantic scenes. But the film does a good job portraying Godzilla as a giant, scary monster destroying a city at random.
So who shouldn’t see it? Mainstream American media. This movie is almost like a horror film in that it references a lot to the previous films. So people that have never seen any of the Godzilla films should not start with this one. Also, Godzilla purist. Every sub-genre has them, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings. Those people that refuse to accept ANY deviation from the original. No spoilers but there is one part of the movie that people will either love it or hate it. I myself loved it. I thought it was a cool addition to the franchise. Also since it starts different it can BE different.
My only question that was left unanswered was, when can we purchase the movie and will the collector’s edition have a statue of this Godzilla? Yes, I liked it that much. I also think the merchandizing potential for this movie is very good. I imagine there will be many moments in the near future were I will say “Shut up and take my money!”