17/10/2016 | Tom Van Kalken
Godzilla returns to the big screen for his 32nd appearance and for the 29th time it’s safely back in the hands of Japan’s Toho Studios. It’s safe to say that Hideaki Anno does a marvelous job at remaking what is now the longest running cinematic franchise of all time.
Beginning back in 1954, the tale of this prehistoric fire-breathing sea monster has been revived and retold on multiple occasions, each with varying degrees of success both critically and commercially. There’s always been a significant divide between the monster’s Japanese and American counterparts.
The Japanese Godzilla productions, in general, have always been considerably more substantive, especially when it comes to satire. However, the ‘man in a suit crushing toy tanks’ gimmick always highlighted the films budgetary limitations relative to Hollywood.
In terms of mainstream success; the American reboots, both in 2014 ($529 million international gross) and 1998 ($242 million international gross) have always done better, but lack critical recognition. Despite this, one thing all Godzilla films share is that Godzilla never get’s that much screen time. He’ll show up at the beginning, at the end and once more in the middle to reveal his new power or adversary.
Shin Godzilla is no exception to this formulaic plot. So the question then is; how does the film spend the time between the (undeniably satisfying) bouts of urban annihilation. In past films, this time has been either devoted to a love plot or to scientists and politicians sitting in meetings, trying to figure out how to stop the seemingly unstoppable menace. Shin Godzilla opts for the latter, and in doing so delivers a biting, satirical, takedown of the bureaucratic process and the red tape of government departments.
These scenes are often dialogue heavy and can be overtly ridiculous at times. But that does nothing but add to the charm of the film.
With Shin Godzilla, Toho has created a winning film that combines the production value you’d expect from a 20 million dollar film with a plot that harkens back to the basic nuclear disaster metaphor that launched the very first Godzilla