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Thursday, October 13, 2016

We Waited 12 Years For This?

Review of Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) by Armand Vaquer.

Above, this shot of Pete Brothers may reflect our
feelings of
Shin Godzilla. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

UPDATE (10/15/16): Today, I screened the movie for the second time. My enjoyment of it has changed since I wrote the review below. To read my second review (this is a first for me), go here.

October 12 on my calendar was originally going to be the day that my Small Claims Court case against my ex-fiancee would have been heard, had we not gone on Hot Bench last month instead. After seeing Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) last night, something tells me that an appearance in Small Claims Court would have been much more entertaining.

Above, the Shin Godzilla poster at the theater. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the entrance to the auditorium. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Peter H. Brothers and I met up at the Muvico Thousand Oaks 14 theaters to see the movie. Before going inside the auditorium, I perused a collection of Star Wars figures by Sideshow Collectibles in the theater lobby. Surprisingly, we were joined by Brant Elliott, who also happened to attend this screening and bought a ticket for the seat next to Pete. I hadn't seen Brant in years and it was a nice reunion.

Above, Brant Elliott and Peter H. Brothers. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I purposely avoided reading any fan reviews of Shin Godzilla so I could make up my own mind about the film and to avoid any spoilers.

Some fans said the movie was "different" and "interesting". Yes, I have to agree to both adjectives. "Entertaining" is not an adjective that I would bestow upon it, however. It started with a lot of promise, but was a disaster soon after.

Above, Pete Brothers and Armand at the bar following the movie. Photo by Brant Elliott.

For starters, the movie was about 95% talk-talk-talk-talk-talk-talk-talk by bureaucrats of various ministries of the Japanese government on dealing with the situation of Godzilla. That is fine to poke fun at the farcical ways the machinery of how government operates, particularly the Japanese way of "governing by committee". But to make that 95% of the movie was overkill at its worst.

Above, Han Solo in carbonite in the theater lobby
 by Sideshow Collectibles. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next, the editing and structure of the movie was horrendous. Scenes were constantly jumping from one bureaucrat to another, with a little Godzilla thrown in on occasion. That was tiring! There was no continuity to the movie and there were no likable characters. There was no real storytelling. It almost makes Godzilla Final Wars (2004) a masterpiece of cinema in comparison (and I liked that movie)! It was a mess! Hideaki Anno, who directed the movie, may be a good anime director, but he completely ruined the Toho Godzilla's return.

The only redeeming feature of the movie are the special effects by Shinji Higuchi. They were inspired and innovative at times (I loved the scenes of boats being shoved aside on a river by a submerged Godzilla, which in his "early form", resembled a plucked Thanksgiving turkey). Those scenes reminded me of the tsunami footage from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Still, while the special effects were great, there was not enough Godzilla in the movie.

While it was nice to hear some of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla themes, the film had no coherent score to speak of.

One has to wonder, "What was Toho thinking?" when they greenlighted this movie.

Above, Yoda in the theater lobby. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This has to rank as the worst Godzilla movie ever. Even worse than the 1998 American fiasco! At least G.I.N.O. (as we fans call the 1998 Godzilla by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin) had some storytelling to it.

I promised I'd take Jessica, my ex-roommate, to see it on Saturday. I guess I'll have to endure it again.

I very much wanted to enjoy the return of Toho's Godzilla, but this movie completely let me down, I'm sorry to say.

My grade: D-.


Peter H. Brothers said...

12 years we waited for this! 12 years!! We should have waited 12 more!!!

Anonymous said...

No accounting for shit taste I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha))) I loved the first picture of you and Peter :)

Armand Vaquer said...

Hi, Asya! That's Brant with Peter in the first picture. Glad you got a good laugh. - A.

Peter H. Brothers said...

Anonymous says I have "shit taste" but doesn't have the balls to identify himself, so he is automatically disqualified from making a comment of any significance! Rules are rules!!

Armand Vaquer said...

PHB: I actually had no idea who (or maybe even what) he was referring to. - A.

Brad C. said...

I saw Godzilla Resurgence for the first time just last night. And while I agree with you that it *is* a bit too dialogue heavy, (Especially in the third act.) I would say that that's one of a few *minor* flaws in what is a majorly good film overall.

I thought that the characters were all generally likeable, especially with many being the "nerds", as the film noted, who were suddenly put on the front lines and tasked with figuring out how to deal with the crisis of Godzilla. And I was drawn in as they gradually started to find answers and formulate a plan.

And I would also say that, for this *new* interpretation of Godzilla, although I would've liked it to have had more screen time too just because I wanted to see Godzilla, (And don't we all?) the amount of screen time that it did have was satisfying and left you wanting more. (In the good kind of way. Unlike Legendary's film, which was largely a series of frustrating teases until Godzilla is finally fully revealed later in the movie.) And from just one viewing I think that much more screen time would've possibly worked *against* Godzilla in this particular film because it might've diminished the impact of what we did see of it and it's abilities. Less might've really been more in this case.

One thing that I especially liked about Godzilla Resurgence was that in many ways it essentially retold the story of the original 1954 film, but in a modern day (and for Japan a modern geopolitical) context.

And was it me, or did the face of Godzilla's first form look a *lot* like "Baby" from Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2??

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