Shin Godzilla (2016)


PLOT:Japan is plunged into chaos upon the appearance of a giant monster.

After the success of Legendary's Godzilla (2014), Toho decided they should restart the franchise in Japan, as well. The idea was to bring the series back to its horror/sci-fi roots, and it would be a complete reboot of the franchise. Instead of being a movie about the horrors of the nuclear bombs (although that is still an element of the film), Godzilla is portrayed more as a walking Fukushima disaster. From coming from the depths of ocean ands flooding the streets, to coming onto land and emitting radiation, to the government having its hands tied on how to handle it all, the movie certainly evokes themes and imagery from the Fukushima disaster in the same way the original does with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

There's a similar background story for the creature (organism fed off of nuclear waste), but it is portrayed as a constantly mutating/evolving creature more in line with Hedorah and Destoroyah than normal Godzilla. It starts off as a tadpole like creature (only in supplemental materials) before evolving into a hilariously goofy looking googly eyed chicken monster, then a more traditional (though horribly scarred and mutated) Godzilla, finally appearing to be splitting off into multiple humanoid/xenomorph/Godzilla monsters. The monster is said to have more genetic material than any creature in history, and that it could conceivably evolve anything from wings to more heads. Adaptation seems to be its biggest power, as Godzilla only evolves when it comes across something it can't do in its current from. When coming onto land, it sheds its gills. When trying stand, it first attempts to use a building to prop itself up, then just...evolves into an upright walking beast. After getting shot, its skin hardens. And once it gets attacked by heavy bombers, it develops the atomic breath (from its mouth, spines, and TAIL) to defend itself.

The majority of the movie isn't really about Godzilla, but disaster it causes in its wake are used as a backdrop to talk about the absurdities of bureaucracy and keeping face in the Japanese government. Officials are caught completely off guard (because giant sea monsters coming onto land isn't something you can really prepare for) and spend over half the movie getting nothing done as there are so many people that have to clear each decision, and no one wants to take the blame if something goes bad. It's not until a task force without hierarchies and full of risk takers willing to put themselves on the line that anything gets done. When put against the wall with an impending UN sanctioned NUCLEAR BOMBING, which you can imagine is not something anyone in Japan is excited about, the plan comes to force Godzilla, the walking nuclear reactor, to overheat and shut down by making him expend all of its energy and fill his blood with some kind of coagulant. It works, but no one knows for how long, and the threat of the nuclear bomb being dropped is left hanging in the event that Godzilla wakes up.

It's pretty dope. A great return to its roots as a serious piece with next to no levity that acts as social commentary. The monster in all forms is GCI, but its most "evolved" form is made to look like a man in a suit. There is some really, really dodgy CGI from time to time, but when it looks good, it looks incredible, specifically the scene where Godzilla evolves his atomic breath and goes on an awe inspiring rampage. Even better, it straight up reuses sound effects and themes from the Showa era, which means the classic roar and Akira Ifukube's music. It's about 1000% better than the 2014 version, and probably in the top 3-5 movies in franchise history. 

Highly recommended. This movie stands on the same plane of existence as the 1954 original and Mothra vs Godzilla. I give it 5 Jet Batistas out of 5.