Shin Godzilla is the 31st film in the Godzilla series of films, and the 29th to be made by the Japanese film company Toho. After being released in Japan back in 2016, it finally got a limited release over here and I was lucky enough to catch a showing in my local cinema. Now, I’m a big fan of giant monster movies, particularly the Godzilla films. There’s just something so endearing about watching actors in rubber monster suits trampling model cities and beating the crap out of each other. I’m glad to say that Shin Godzilla is a great addition to the series, bringing a fresh take on a cinematic icon.
The film is quite unique within the Godzilla series since, unlikely pretty much all the Toho films, it ignores the original 1954 film. I thought this was a good move for the film, as it enabled the creators to tell a fresh story of how Japan would react if a giant monster suddenly appeared in modern times. Rather than focusing on specific characters, the film instead focuses on the various department of the government as they scramble to try and deal with this unprecedented situation. In a departure from your traditional Godzilla film, you get numerous scenes of men in suits having meetings to discuss how to evacuate civilians and take down Godzilla. While you might think this would be boring to watch, I actually found it pretty interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes while a giant monster is trampling your city. You get real sense of panic amongst the different departments as they struggle agree on should deal with and ever worsening event.
Let’s face it though, you aren’t here to watch a bunch of bureaucrats having discussions are you? You’re here for Godzilla. Looks wise, this incarnation is one of the most terrifying monsters I’ve seen for ages. From its scarred, glowing hide to its hideous teeth and unnerving stare, this Godzilla is a sight to behold. This is a creature that is clearly in a lot of pain and is going to take out its anger and frustration on poor Japan. One of the best scenes in the film comes in around the half way mark, when the Japanese military (with some help from the US) mobilizes to try and take down Godzilla using hundreds of tanks, helicopters, jets and various other weapons. Countless rounds of ammunition, missiles, artillery shells and bombs are poured onto the target, bathing it in fire. And what happens? Nothing. Not even a scratch. The only time they cause any damage is when the US uses stealth bombers to bomb it, and all that does is annoy it enough to make it use its famous fire breath. I’m not going to spoil what happens next but needless to say it is pretty damn spectacular. If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Overall this film is a great addition to the Godzilla franchise. It’s not a perfect film, some of the bureaucracy scenes can drag a bit, but the action scenes are spectacular enough to make up for it. If you like giant monster films, this one is definitely worth checking out.