Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review of GODZILLA RESURGENCE: Revitalized Radioactive Reboot

September 3, 2016

The 2014 American film "Godzilla" by Gareth Edwards was the first film which introduced the classic film character of Godzilla to me. I liked that one and rated it a respectable 7/10 (MY REVIEW). Even if I had known about Godzilla since I was a child, I have not actually watched a Japanese Godzilla film in full ever, and longed to see one on the big screen.

This new Japanese film "Shin Gojira" (with the international title: "Godzilla Resurgence") is already the 31st film of the Godzilla franchise. It is the third time Toho Company is rebooting the franchise. When I heard that they were actually going to show this Japanese film in local cinemas, I got excited. I was finally going to see how Japan itself will tell a modern-day story about their iconic Kaiju (or monster). 

The film does not waste any time. It immediately shows a sea monster with a long tail arising from Tokyo Bay, going towards and eventually going on land, wreaking a swathe of death and destruction along in its path. This monster initially began as a giant crawling worm-like creature with small hind legs and red glowing gills. While on land, it would continue to evolve into different phases of development until it eventually becomes the Tyrannosaurus Rex-like creature with the red glowing dorsal spine we are more familiar with.

However, this film was also very much about the human response to this historically unprecedented crisis. It was fascinating to see the Japanese political process in action, with its extreme obsession with proper procedure and honorable decorum even in the face of this deadly disaster. The patriotic attitude of Japan with regards to American interference in the Godzilla issue was also very interesting to witness. It was inevitable that sad parallels were made about the Hiroshima nuclear disaster.

If you are expecting Godzilla to look exactly like a "Jurassic Park"-quality T-Rex, you will be disappointed. In fact, the very first phase of Godzilla that we see had very fake-looking unblinking googly-eyes that looked hilariously cute. Those pine-tree looking "spines" behind its back looked very odd. Even during the middle phase, the close-ups of Godzilla stalking through the streets looked very stiff and awkward, as if a dinosaur doll being made to move around by a child at play. Everything changed by the time Godzilla was bombed and it becomes a nuclear laser-emitting killing machine. The Godzilla in the last hour looked absolutely amazing, right up to the elegant final look.

Hiroki Hasegawa smartly played Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi. Frustrated by how the bureaucracy worked, it was he who gathered some unconventional experts from allied fields to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to their monstrous problem which military forces alone cannot contain. 

Satomi Ishihara sassily played Kayoko Ann Patterson, the Special Envoy for the President of the United States, who also dreamed to be US President someday. Pretty and petite, Ishihara did not seem to look not act right for such an important character. She came across as too juvenile and too frivolous for the position she was supposed to hold.

A notable supporting actress was Mikako Ichikawa, who played the dour but resourceful and intuitive low-ranking Bureaucrat of Ministry of the Environment who came up with key suggestions and discoveries which were initially dismissed, only to be proven true later on. Ichikawa stole her scenes whenever she was own because of her deadpan delivery of her lines, also because she was the only female in these special forces meetings.

The imperfect practical and computer-generated special effects actually gave it a crudely charming throwback look in that uniquely Japanese style. Seeing all those boats, cars and trains being thrown around, piled up and exploding was crazy. The step-by-step detailed procedural of the climactic "Operation Yashiori" attack on Godzilla was very entertaining to watch. That very last frame actually suggests that there might be an interesting sequel. Consider this franchise successfully rebooted. 8/10. 


  1. Oh my! Godzilla movie... Japanese is good in movie like this..

  2. I think the proper decorum and procedure as well Japan's international protocols would add to the dilemma. It looks like a good throwback to Godzilla movies.

  3. Though, I don't really like movies from Japan because I adore American movies a lot but with this review I can try give it a watch. Thanks for sharing

  4. It looks like you really had fun watching the reboot! I love Japanese films because they have so much more heart than Western remakes

  5. Some characters never go wrong in whatever format they come. Godzilla is one of them. Would like to catch this one.

  6. For a film that has had a lot of reboot, I expected this one to get a low rating from you. Now I'm interested to see how good this film really is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. I was never a big fan of Godzilla movies. So I'll skip this one!

  8. Yea, I've heard feedback on how this is a retro Godzilla movie, but I don't really like Godzilla and ultraman, so this is out for me