Shin Godzilla (2016) : REVIEW

Discussion in 'Science Fiction Movies' started by Joelist, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    And I have arrived! IMG_0008.JPG
     
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  2. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    And first surprise - full theater. Good thing I got here early.
     
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  3. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Okay, I'm home! Let me sort my thoughts out before posting up a full review, but the short on it is that Shin Godzilla is a good film. Details to come.
     
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  4. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Okay, here are some thoughts on Shin Godzilla. I can put them together into a formal review at a later time.

    First, Shin Godzilla is a full reboot. In this film reality none of the prior films have occurred. And actually this turns out to be a good decision in light of the underlying story of the film that deals with the governments response to the appearance of the creature.

    Second, this is a talky film. Lots of dialogue scenes and they are not dubbed (the film uses English subtitles). And those talky scenes are VERY politically charged from a Japanese perspective. The film is taking shots at Japanese political culture as well as casting its events in a similar mold to the Tsunami and Fukushima disasters. Indeed, without some knowledge of how the Japanese government is constituted some of the plot is not going to completely make sense.

    Third, this is a VERY serious film tonally. People die and it is not sugarcoated. Themes of teamwork, self-sacrifice, honor and duty are in full force. It almost feels at times like a documentary, as we are taken through the processes of defense and governmental function and even how they discover things about Godzilla.

    This brings me to....Godzilla.

    Godzilla in this universe has a very Science Fiction origin story. He was a very ancient sea creature whose habitat had been contaminated with a large amount of nuclear waste that in the past had been dumped at sea. Well, he adapted to it and started consuming it. He appears in the movie in three different forms:

    - Form one is sort of like a huge eel with Godzilla back spines, gills that gush radioactive blood and hind legs he cannot yet use. He literally slithers on his belly destroying things in this form.

    - Form two comes into play when form one manages to rise up on its rapidly developing hind legs and we first hear the Godzilla roar. The gills and the rest of the skin start rapidly hardening into an armor like coating. This form then returns to the sea.

    - Form three is the one we've seen in the trailers. Looks much more like a traditional Godzilla but the front arms are not fully developed and it has unarmored patches on its body and such. And this form is huge.

    Now while Godzilla does not change form again in the film, he does change in that his nuclear breath comes into play. It is by far the most destructive nuclear breath ever seen from Godzilla and is literally like a stream of photons. And he can emit it from a number of places along his body all at the same time (similar to the Heisei Godzilla nuclear pulse).

    A nice part of the film is the scientists discovering things about Godzilla as the film goes along. Among these was discovering that his back fins are part of a cooling system he needs because he is in effect nuclear powered. Another nice touch was how they had Godzilla go dormant after large expenditures of energy (like using his nuclear breath at full power).

    The producers stated that a goal was to make Godzilla frightening and disturbing like he initially was. Well, the first two forms don't do either but the third form is definitely more "monster" than in the past. There are also scenes involving his tail as well as the gills gushing blood that are creepy.

    Acting was decent too. Plot was nicely written and like I said this feels like a documentary at times.

    So, what were issues?

    Well, for one if you felt Godzilla did not appear enough in Godzilla 2014 get ready to say the same thing again. Lots of Godzilla early and late and little in the middle. Which is basically how Toho always has done it.

    Also the effects were inconsistent. Godzilla form three is excellently done overall and the nuclear breath scenes are awesome. Form two wasn't bad but did not feel "real". Form one was rendered kind of silly by the facial construction. But overall it worked.

    This was unusual for me to go to a limited release, but it was worth it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  5. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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  6. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    This one shows the first time he powers up the breath:



    I like how at first it's just black gunk, then yellow flame which gets faster and brighter until we get to the solid stream of photons. Subsequent times he uses it is straight to the photon beam so that first time was him "clearing the pipes" so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
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  7. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    After a highly successful limited release (actually the #1 movie in the US on a per theater basis during that time) they are now working out the video release details. Subtitles or Dubbing or both, BluRay, DVD and streaming, that kind of stuff.

    I REALLY hope that if there is a dub they pay very close attention to accuracy of the lines. This film is dialog heavy and capturing it accurately is essential. Lest we forget we have had Gojira films ruined by poor dubbing jobs in the past.
     
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  8. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Subtitling is dead in the US. Only the eclectic will go see a subbed movie. It has to be dubbed.
     
  9. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Remember this film packed theaters last week on its limited release, and it was subtitled as opposed to dubbed
     
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  10. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I am sure it was! There are millions of kaigu fans worldwide. But for the greater audiences, it needs to be dubbed. The indy film market is always guaranteed to fill their limited venues (100-1500 seats at a time). But wide releases need to fill hundreds of large theaters where there will be popcorn and candy sold. Can you think of a subtitled film which has been able to do that?
     
  11. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Yep. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
     
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  12. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I saw that. But Boomers made that roughly 215 million happen. Millennials are not going to see subbed movies in large numbers. Are they?
     
  13. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I am "acquiring" this movie right now. :). I regret implying that this movie and other kaiju movies might not pack theaters, because they were never meant to. These kaiju films have a following which goes back even into our parent's times. My dad was a huge Goji fan, and he took me to see all the movies. I remember seeing Destroy All Monsters in the theater! I had a Godzilla action figure too. I also wanted Ghidorah, but some kid and I fought over one in Sears (when it was a real department store and had a Santa), and each of us ripped one of the heads off of it. The other kid had opened the box and his mom was telling him to put it back in the box when I came along and my dad said it was the last one. The store made us pay for it and nobody got one!

    I am looking forward to seeing this film. I think that this morphing thing is interesting. I will weigh in after I have seen it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  14. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Be sure you "acquire" one with English subtitles.
     
  15. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    So did you get one with English subtitles? And did you watch it yet?
     
  16. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Got it but have not watched it yet.
     
  17. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Did you watch your copy yet OM?
     
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  18. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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  19. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Can't wait to hear your take on it!
     
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  20. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Okay the first copy I got was rubbish. But this new one has the English subtitles, and is beautiful with full HD sound. I am watching it now. Took a break to say that one thing that strikes me is the utter stoic demeanor of the Japanese councils and government operations that they have. The are like robots...on power save! The evolution of Godzilla in this actually works with the story they are telling and I love it so far. The Godzilla without the front arms was too cute to be scary! It did a lot of damage, but those eyes made it look all Hello Kitty. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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