I finally had a chance to catch up with Toho Studios’ 2016 live-action Godzilla movie, Shin Godzilla, or, Godzilla Resurgence, and though I knew going in that it was supposed to be unlike any Godzilla film ever made, I was still taken aback by what I saw.
This is something completely new in the Godzilla canon. In fact it may be the beginning of a whole new canon—as if Toho is content to let Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures play with the old Godzilla for a bit while they take their legacy monster in another, more deeply thematic direction. At its heart, Shin Godzilla is a movie about modern Japan, a sometimes very funny self-critique, if you will, of a society that’s become hobbled by bureaucracy and international obligations to the point where its people are losing their vitality, and perhaps even beginning to forget who they are.
Unleash an unspeakable horror on these folks, however, and they start to remember in a hurry.
About halfway through the film I began to wonder if Stanley Kubrick was an influence on the script. Thematically, it reminded me very much of Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange, two films that brilliantly illustrated how the unthinkable has a way of revealing civilization’s flaws.
If this all sounds a bit weird to you, take heart. It’s still a spectacular monster movie with some highly inventive surprises. For one thing Godzilla evolves over the course of the story, showing up as a wobbly quadruped and then working his way up to something more familiar just in time for the film’s riveting final battle.
As a lifelong Godzilla fan, I enjoyed the movie very much. I appreciated that the filmmakers did something different with the material, and judging from the film’s shocking final shot, they’re just getting started.
Originally published at WonderAlliance.com