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 (10/18/16): I viewed the movie again last Saturday and have posted a 2nd review. To view it, 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 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-.


  1. Armand, I'll respect your reaction, and I haven't seen Shin Godzilla, nor am I, living way out of the way as I do, likely to see it any time soon, but I have been reading the reviews, both from the American japanese culture bloggers like yourself and also in bad robo-translations of Japanese sites, and I'll only ask that, on Saturday, you try to approach it with new eyes, forget that it is Godzilla, but remember that is IS japanese, and it is Japanese in 2016. That's the Japan of anime, sure, but also of Sion Sono, there's something big going on in Japanese cinema, a new wave, a new dare I say 'identity' and I'm wondering could perhaps Shin Godzilla be a harbinger of that message, a whole-culture reboot, not just a mere brand renewal?

  2. Didn't you say GFW was worse than G98? Which is the truth, buddy?

    Also, learn some cinematic language. Godzilla is more than crashing things, which you dunderheads clearly wanted, and you flatout refused to understand the political spectrum or admire the directorial work at hand. Well, too bad for no one but you :/

  3. To be honest, I kinda viewed this one as a "I'll wait for the DVD" film after seeing a lot of the leaked footage online. I have been more excited about the new American "Godzilla" films and the new "Star Wars" films than this one from the get go.

  4. What were your expectations going in?
    I have to guess you didn't much care for the original 1954 film either? Wiith all of its TALK TALK TALK... There's very little monster action in that film.
    I saw SHIN yesterday and loved it. Sure, 20 min could easily be edited out, but it's really quite fantastic. At least, I thought so.

  5. I saw the movie again last Saturday and I did actually enjoy it more. The things that I found troublesome the first time bothered me less. I revised my grade (at my blog) to C+.

    No, I did NOT say G98 was worse than GFW. I liked GFW. - A.

  6. As a Japanese movie it was ok barely. I had a hard time staying awake. Last American Godzilla movie was much better.


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