So… Shin Godzilla. As many know, my expectations were turned extremely down low as soon as Anno was announced. Going into this, I watched Godzilla’s Revenge just as a friendly reminder that no matter how bad this is, it can’t be this bad (I did a similar thing with Godzilla 98 before 2014). Thankfully, the movie wasn’t THAT bad. But it sure as hell wasn’t very good either.
Basic story without major spoilers: Godzilla emerges. Japan tries to stop him. Their secret weapon is a bunch of meetings. One small group manages to devise a plan to stop him before a nuke is dropped.
The main character was pretty likeable, surprisingly. Not much backstory on him, but at least he wasn’t a whiny little prick like Shinji from Evangelon (which is what I was expecting). Everyone else, I really didn’t give two shits for. There was some scenes that did get me to laugh, but the absolute worst was ANY scene with English dialogue. And not just the obvious Japanese actress in her mid-twenties or so that wants to be President (good one, Anno), but EVERY American actor. They were just downright God awful. I was expecting one of them to say “Take that you dinosaur” when they started bombing Godzilla. Seriously, the English actors were worse than ones I’ve seen on Syfy Channel movies.
Speaking of America, however. I was pleasantly surprised how the US began helping during the final plan despite the nuclear bomb countdown ticking away. Still yet, the whole movie felt like “America does "OH GODZILLA! WHAT TERRIBLE LANGUAGE!" and Japan can do no wrong!” I’ve noticed this to be a typical trend for Japan whenever Americans have to be involved with a story. The scene where an entire helicopter assault was called off because they spotted ONE civilian on the ground made my eyes roll. I am 99.99% sure that no matter what country this would have happened in, after all the damage and the threat posed by the self-evolving monster, the government would be willing to accept collateral damage. The Japanese PM not accepting this fact despite what has already happen just made my eyes roll. They could have killed Godzilla in this second form with conventional weaponry I imagine.
As for Godzilla himself… We all know of his different forms. The first form was (and still is) eye rolling. It’s just goofy. The second one isn’t as bad and the third form looks pretty good in most shots. I still hate the idea of the back and tail beams. But then this Godzilla also has the most anime-ish of all Godzilla beams. It’s going to divide the fans. Safe to say, give me a traditional atomic ray over this any day. One thing I did not like about Godzilla in this was his apparent complete lack of motivation for anything. This was even brought up in the film… He just walks around. He’s not tearing buildings down, crushing things with his tail, blasting stuff for the fun… Nope. He’s just out for a walk and the evil humans try stopping him. And then the whole "Godzilla can replicate and spread across the world" was a plot point that was just forced in for no reason.
The CGI was a very mixed bag. Some scenes looked absolutely terrific, like the shots of the helicopters flying in on Godzilla, almost every scene from a distance, etc. Some of the best of the franchise. But for every amazing shot, there was also utter crap ones. These are mainly with the first form. The scenes of it pushing cars and boats were just horribad. And when it evolved into its second form… I literally cringed.
One thing I imagine everyone is going to glance over is the film’s OBVIOUS nods/ripping of 2014. I noticed it and, thankfully, I heard a few others in the theater also mutter it looked like it was from 2014. That being the tail swipe overhead and the scene of the first form’s tail just lifting out of the water and dangling around. I also can’t help but think of Otachi whenever Godzilla’s jaw split.
Music was pretty good, I will give it that. The original stuff really did mesh well. I still prefer the classic Godzilla theme over all of the new stuff though.
In the end, it wasn’t the 1 or 2 out of 10 score I was ready to deliver. It’s not THAT bad. It’s not as bad as Godzilla 1998 or Godzilla’s Revenge. I just wouldn’t rate it higher than the worst of the Heisei era. I feel The Return of Godzilla did a far better job returning the character to his roots and handling the touchy relationships with Japan and the rest of the world.
5.5 / 10
On a side note, I went and saw Godzilla 2014 three times. Each time, the theater was pretty packed. This movie was also shockingly packed. However, in all three of those times of seeing G’14, never once did I have a “I liked Godzilla before it was cool” feeling come over me. Just sitting in the theater for twenty minutes as people talk (and were blatantly wrong on almost everything they were saying around me…), I just wanted to grab a microphone. Even had the cliché anti-Zilla fanboy rant two rows in front of me for like three minutes when, I think his parents, said they liked the Mathew Broderick film. When I tried leaving during end credits to beat traffic, this one couple (who talked constantly about Evangelon and how the older Showa films are better than anything afterward) tried talking as I squeezed through them.
“Is there anything after the credits? It looks like there will be!”
“How do you know, did you find it online or something?”
“No. I’ve been following this movie since it was released in Japan. There’s nothing after the credits.”