Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★½

It’s a long time since I’ve seen a classic Toho Godzilla film (which probably was dubbed into English and had American scenes added) so I thought I’d check this update out.

I thought it was interesting that the narrative is pretty much only told from the point of view of the politicians and, to a lesser extent, the scientists and military; there are no regular characters to identify with.

We’re presented with a Japan in which politicians take civic duty very seriously. The decisions that need to be made when Godzilla starts stomping all over the country's towns and cities weigh heavy on some of the bigwigs, not least the Japanese PM. Perhaps I hold an unnecessarily jaded view of people in power, no matter which corner of the world they inhabit, so I’ll just put this down to a film offering up a bunch of heroically human archetypes.

I’m assuming that Godzilla him/her/itself is created digitally. If so, it’s done in such a way that it recalls the man-in-a-suit aesthetic of the creature's 1950s and 1960s appearances.

I watched the Japanese-language version of Shin Godzilla, which is kind of tough going because subtitles are thrown at the viewer almost non-stop; often concurrently at the top and bottom of the screen. A lot of this is just scene-setting, however – telling us where we are at a particular moment in time. Since the film is pretty fast-paced and moves from location to location this happens with almost dizzying regularity…

Anyway, I enjoyed this. It lacks the resonance of the original but the mega-lizard’s awesome power comes across very well indeed.

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