I don’t know if I ever said it on this blog, but I love giant monster movies. I’m still a beginning giant monster film fan compared to so many other giant monster enthusiasts, but I have seen every Godzilla and Gamera film along with some other various monster films. As of right now, the original Godzilla film is one of my favorite films. Pacific Rim was my favorite movie of 2013 and I love the current giant monster verse that is happening over here. Godzilla 2014 was a lot of fun for me, though it had dull human characters at times, and Kong: Skull Island is one of my favorite movies of this year. I also can’t wait for Gen Urobuchi’s Godzilla anime that is going to appear on Netflix soon. So with all that beginning stuff out of the way, Why is this post on my blog right now? Because a certain little name, maybe you have heard of him. Hideaki Anno. He’s the director of this film. You have no idea how excited I was when I heard this. Because he’s perfect as a director of Godzilla. I originally wanted to watch it theaters, but it wasn’t playing anywhere near me so I had to wait for its release. I finally bought it on Sunday and got to watch it. I really liked it.
Shin Godzilla is a new reboot of the Japanese version of Godzilla films. So yeah, this is yet another take at his origin. Unlike all of Godzilla’s film’s this is much more politically charged. Especially the first twenty minutes or so. The film focused more on the Japanese political reactions and certain people’s growth into the political system itself. That may sound boring to some of you, but it’s actually quite interesting. It’s like diving into another world that I never truly never of beforehand and there is a lot of charisma being throw around as well. Oh, there is Godzilla too. Like every other Godzilla film, he is only secondary thing. Godzilla goes through a lot of transformations in this movie. He starts off as a moving corpse and slowly grows into the Godzilla we all know today. Also, he more powers than any previous Godzilla has ever had. It’s a bit of a surprise, but I welcome the changes. Especially if they are incredibly awesome ones! I’m not going to talk of characters in this film, because while they are interesting, they are incredibly thin. The Japanese Political Machine is the main character of this film.
The reason why I call Shin Godzilla Neon Genesis Godzilla is because of who was behind all the wheel. Hideaki Anno is famous for a lot of things, but his most famous work is definitely Neon Genesis Evangelion. A mech series that treats its mech fights more like giant monster fights then standard mech fights. To be honest, that is what makes him perfect. A lot of how Hideaki Anno moves the camera (or doesn’t move the camera in this case) in Shin Godzilla are exactly how a lot of shots were used and framed in Eva. There is also the way of how the solution was found to defeat Godzilla. When the group got together, they acted exactly how Misato and her crew found their methods to defeat angels. Right down to the exposition and data analysis dialogue. How this crew defeated Godzilla was almost exactly how the floating geometry laser drill thing was defeated. In Eva, that fight took all the energy resources of japan in order to defeat it. Same thing here, except it was a fluid designed to freeze Godzilla’s genetic material. This was on a countdown to destruction timer as well. All the Eva psychological issues aside, this film couldn’t have been written and directed by anyone else other than Hideaki Anno.
I should mention something about the music here too. It’s a great combination of Godzilla’s original music with one of Evangelion’s themes. You know, this one. https://youtu.be/YRKdPeHOb28 Seriously, it plays every time that one group gets together and find a method to defeat Godzilla. It’s not subtle at all. As for the original themes, I’m not sure of the cheesy original Godzilla music fits this new styling of it from a tone stand point, but it works somehow. The Godzilla themes provide a solid homage to the original films and the Eva theme is Hideaki Anno saying “this is my film franchise now”. Not very subtle, but who says subtlety is needed all the time. Especially in a giant monster film.
Shin Godzilla does a great job of providing a twist to the original Godzilla’s main theme. Godzilla represents the reaction from Japan being nuked. Is it hard to tell? Godzilla is a radioactive monster that causes a lot of destruction and Japan with all its military might is powerless to stop it. This original message gets lost a little bit when Godzilla starts fighting other monsters from who knows where, but this series takes it back. In this movie, the Japanese government still has a lot of political relations with the United States. I know that this movie is purely from the Japanese perspective, but Japan is still treated like a puppet state. Maybe they are given a lot more freedom then previously since the end of World War Two, but they are still a puppet state. Japan tries to prove themselves in the movie, but the United States eventually gives them a terrible ultimatum. I am not going to give that away, but since we are talking about the end of World War 2 here. Luckily, Japan escaped that fate, but the threat was and still is there.
If you can tell right now, I had a lot of fun watching Shin Godzilla. I recognize the fact that the characters are barely there and the beginning twenty minutes were a mess of exposition and quick dialogue to give the story a grounding, but I had fun with it. I suppose you can say that the second reason why this is here it’s because outside of Japan, it’s something that us anime fans and consumers of Japanese media will understand. Of course, Japanese politics is placed into its media. Maybe not in all of it, but it is in a majority of it. I know that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is filled with it. Anyway, this movie was a lot of fun and just pure entertainment. The best part is that you don’t have to know all the Godzilla lore to watch it. It’s a reboot and sometimes, that’s a good thing. If it gets you interested in watching the other films, that’s alright too