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Godzilla-thon: SHIN GODZILLA (2016)

After the initial success for the 2014 American remake, there was a sudden craze for more Godzilla films. So TOHO announced a couple months after the Japanese release for Godzilla that there was a new Godzilla film in the works. Hideaki Anno, director and creator of the show NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, was brought on board to direct Shin Godzilla. Producer Akihiro Yamauchi stated that the title for the film was chosen for the variety of meanings behind the syllable for "shin", which could mean "real", "true", or "god". Anno's idea was to bring Godzilla back to his original roots and what he was suppose to represent, which was a metaphor of man's misuse of nuclear energy.

The marketing for Shin Godzilla started in December 2015 with the movie's first teaser trailer showing only a clip of the film that was shown in first person view with no sign of Godzilla except for his roar at the end of the trailer. On April 1, 2016, there was an announcement for a crossover movie called Godzilla vs Evangelion. Of course this announcement was a joke, but the cross collaborated marketing and merchandise for the brand was real.

In mid-April, the new look for Godzilla was revealed showing him to be completely CGI and details about Godzilla and the film were also revealed. Themes in the movie included the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant disaster and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

This is the first time Godzilla went solo since Godzilla 1985. All other movies since then had Godzilla fighting another monster.


Japan faces a crisis as a giant creature causes havoc in Tokyo. Japan's Ministry of Defense must find a way to stop this nightmare before the United States launches a nuclear attack on the creature they call Godzilla.

This movie is sort of a mixed bag because this whole movie does not really have a story to follow and you don't follow a handful of characters the movie follows. The characters are the Japanese and US politicians which were made as parodies of Japan's and America's leadership on how they handled the 2011 incident. The movie is one giant political statement of what happened in 2011 and director Hideaki Anno made it VERY obvious of that. That is all what this movie was about. It was basically retelling the whole 2011 incident, but instead of the earthquakes, floods, and collapsing power plants it was Godzilla. Shin Godzilla was movie of the year for Japan last year, but in America not so much. There are no characters to relate to because this movie considers Japan as a whole as the main character. Most of the movie is showing board meeting after board meeting just to figure out how to deal with Godzilla. Also, the subtitles are EVERYWHERE! The movie pours out so much information that it becomes difficult to follow at times and sometimes you miss parts of what the characters are saying. Not only that, there are labels that tell you who the characters are over their heads and areas of Japan where Godzilla is attacking. About half the screen was covered in text, which I found very annoying. All I want to do is watch the movie! Do I really need to know every single minor character or minor detail?! Even though I'm being critical by the overload of subtitles, the acting is pretty good... at least in the original format. I watched this movie again this time everything was in English so I didn't have to read the subtitles. The English dubbing is god awful! No effort was put into voicing over the characters and none of it was taken seriously! This is coming from the distributor, Funimation, which they are known for distributing Japanese cartoons like the popular DragonBall series. I have heard bad voice acting, but this made my ears scream, "TURN THE DAMN MOVIE OFF!"

When the design for Godzilla was revealed I was not really liking how it looked. Now, it sort of grew on me, but it isn't in my top favorite designs. It is undoubtedly ugly as sin and that is what makes this Godzilla unique. It isn't going for the usual misunderstood prehistoric dinosaur. It is something so horrible that it could only come from a nightmare. Godzilla even has a face that looks like he has a frozen creepy grin. It also has some nostalgic feel to the look as well. It is very similar to the burning Godzilla design from Godzilla vs Destroyah with a mix of the 1954 Godzilla. If you tossed in Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare On Elm Street into a blender with Godzilla then you would get the Godzilla for this movie. What makes the look even better is knowing that this Godzilla is fully CGI. What? Did you think that was a guy in a suit? It looks like it would be, right? The CGI Godzilla is really top notch surpassing the CGI Godzilla in the 2014 remake. Yes, they are two different Godzillas from two different movies, but at least in Shin Godzilla you can actually see Godzilla in both day and night scenes where in the 2014's Godzilla you can't see anything. If you want good night scenes in a Godzilla movie, then Legendary needs to take notes from this movie. However, Godzilla should be doing more than just slowly walking and staring blank most of the time. He has this huge tail that flails around and it doesn't knock down a single building. He is so stiff that he doesn't do much for most of the movie which undoes the whole point of making Godzilla terrifying.

Before getting to see Godzilla's final form, we see the first three forms at the very beginning of the movie. The first form nobody really sees other than a tail flailing out of the water. Next, we see Godzilla's second form that looks like a frilled shark with legs. This form, dubbed "Kamata-kun" by fans, is one of the most laughably bad designs ever put on screen. It's so goofy looking that it is hard to take seriously. Finally, we have Godzilla's third form, "Shinagawa-kun". This form shows his maturing stage where Godzilla can now stand, has grown arms and hands, has a more reddish color, and has learned to roar. This third form does not do very much other than retreat back into the ocean. It was able to escape because the JSDF were unable to attack with civilians still trying to evacuate (even though it was just two people). There is a "fifth form" at the end of the movie. Not much is known other than this form are a bunch of skeletal humanoids. The way they are displayed is like a mirror image of the painting "Dante's Inferno", which had the souls in hell reaching out trying to escape as they are being tormented by demons. It was thought to hint at a sequel, but nobody really knows. It could just be for aesthetic.

Final Verdict:

Shin Godzilla looks back to the original roots of Gojira and modernizes it for the current generation and sort of fails. It is very hard to have any connection with the characters and there is no story to follow. It's a rental at best otherwise it's not worth watching.

That is it for Godzilla-thon! Stay tuned as we still have Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters coming out on Netflix releasing hopefully sooner than later and other plans coming for a spooky Halloween special.

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