It’s a peaceful day in Japan when a strange fountain of water erupts in the bay, causing panic to spread among government officials. At first, they suspect only volcanic activity, but one young executive dares to wonder if it may be something different, something alive. His worst nightmare comes to life when a massive, gilled monster emerges from the deep and begins tearing through the city, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. As the government scrambles to save the citizens, a ragtag team of volunteers cuts through a web of red tape to uncover the monster’s weakness and its mysterious ties to a foreign superpower. But time is not on their side, the greatest catastrophe to ever befall the world is about to evolve right before their very eyes.
This is my second forray into foreign films and you can read the first here. While this is a foreign film, this is still not foreign to me. Sure it’s Japanese but it’s a Godzilla film, everybody knows Godzilla. I will say that I haven’t seen too many Godzilla films but the fact that this was shown as a limited special engagement was an opportunity that I was not going to miss.
Everybody knows the story of Godzilla and this was no different here. When a film is called Shin Godzilla, it kind of ruins the surprise. Once bad things start to happen, it’s pretty easy to figure out why so it’s nice that the film doesn’t drag it out too long. The thing about this film was that it is a quasi-origin story so the characters don’t know anything about Godzilla. This fact was key as the plot focused on the human element as it followed Japanese government officials as they tried to figure out how to handle the situation.
Some might be confused by all of the film’s bureaucracy but it was an interesting approach and was kind of fun to watch. What could have slowed the plot down, was actually better than expected, seeing the government officials make mistakes and learn about the situation. They definitely made mistakes and their journey created a lot of funny moments. Throughout this, officials constantly had to encounter red tape surrounding all their actions which were frustrating and showed how futile they really were. This didn’t last long as it finally took a man named Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa), the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, to break away from the bureaucracy and lead the charge against Godzilla.
The film’s Godzilla did not look great and was obviously fake-looking but that’s not the point since this goes with the rest of the film’s B-movie style, reminiscent of other classic films. This style continued with its further fake destruction, the B-movie music, and the nameless people running away in fear. Watching it all happen on screen was great and very entertaining. This Godzilla had a few special quirks though as it tried to overcome the government’s efforts, it would actually evolve, giving it some new abilities.
The acting here was excellent with Hasegawa being compelling to watch as his character was both likable and relatable. Satomi Ishihara who plays Kayoko Ann Patterson, a special Envoy for the President of the United States, may annoy some as her character had some English dialogue which sounded out of place, coming at inappropriate times. The other government officials were good as well as the film’s satirical look into Japanese bureaucracy was well done.
Overall, this was a fun B-movie, reminiscent of other classics, with terrific special effects and performances.