I love Godzilla and when I heard Toho was making another Godzilla movie, going back to the “man in suit” idea that the two US versions stuck up their noses at I was really happy. After all, Toho is the studio that created the franchise. Surely they wouldn’t screw it up. Also, the fact that Shin Godzilla was getting a more US-friendly title around here called Godzilla: Resurgence I was even happier. Not only were we getting this movie stateside, and possibly with a limited theatrical run,  which we Americans haven’t seen since Godzilla 2000, not counting conventions, everything sounded good.

Well, so much for that. Funimation decided to go with the Japanese title. That doesn’t surprise me because their fanbase are American Japanophiles. Anime is their life’s blood after all. However, I feel Resurgence was a better name for Western audiences as Godzilla isn’t just an otaku title like Attack On Titan. Pacific Rim had a wide enough audience, right? (Still need to see that. Badly.) I’m not even sure what “Shin” means in a Japanese title. The best I can figure based on previous uses I’ve seen, is technically close to “reboot/remake” although I think the literal translation is “new”. How many Westerners are going to pick up on that? You may lose the casuals here, and I don’t think they should be left out. I hate when I have a casual interest in something and is basically told I’m not welcome in the clubhouse.

However, I have heard spoilers from the Japan movie release (we get it I think later this month in limited release), which I will both be posting in this article thanks to our old pal Matt Burkett of Monstrosities and my responses to them. So if you want to go into this movie with no idea what’s going to happen, turn away now and just know that the darker tones I’m seeing in the trailers (everybody super-serious, the orchestral and choir score) aren’t my only problems with this movie. I mean, it looks gorgeous, but cinematography isn’t my primary concern, it’s the story and the spoilers I’ve heard just aren’t working for me.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zwt4o0Qw18]

Well, you’ve heard the spoilers. So what are my problems with this new movie?

Godzilla battles Hedorah from this 1971 Manga ...

Godzilla battles Hedorah from this 1971 Manga adaptation of the film Godzilla vs. Hedorah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Multiple forms:

What, is Godzilla a Digimon now? (Or Pokemon for those of you who don’t know what a Digimon is.)  I don’t have a problem with a monster who has multiple forms. It worked for Hedorah. Heck MAKE it Hedorah that “Shinzilla” (I’m not trying to make any statement like I do with Man Of Steel/Steelman; it’s just to note that I’m talking the new movie versus previous Godzillas) has to fight now. (I’ll get back to that.) It just isn’t right for Godzilla. I understand where Matt is coming from in that they need a way to make Godzilla fresh, but I always found that in the variety of opponents, the way the humans deal with it, and how Godzilla (and any monsters on his side pre-1985) are able to overcome and defeat them. Giving Shinzilla multiple forms just sounds wrong to me. Save that for his foes. Oh wait…

Godzilla #15

No other monsters

This is Godzilla, for Pete’s sake! Even the Legendary Pictures Godzilla fought monsters. The director did let us watch those fights sadly, but they happened. Here’s it’s just Godzilla versus the military and I don’t even see the classic (and useless) laser dish cannons. Now if this is a proper reboot, to where even the original movie is not canon, I can understand why the Japanese Self-Defense Force is not prepared for dealing with Godzilla. The only translated trailer I’ve seen is people screaming, and most of the Japanese trailers have little to no dialog TO translate, so I’m just guessing based on the “Shin” name. (The three previous timelines included the first movie as canon, even the third/Millennium series where all but one movie ignores even the other movies of the period in favor of “just the first movie, nothing else”.)

But we WANT to see Godzilla fight something, whether an original monster or a revamped version of one of his previous foes. That’s what the franchise has become. Look, I love the first movie, in both Japan and US flavors. I even bought the Criterion version for all the super bonus features and trivia so I could learn more about the first film, and learned a lot. However, the franchise was built on Godzilla beating up kaiju and either purposefully or accidentally leveling Tokyo and other Japanese cities we may or may not have heard of. It’s part of his international cultural identity. From what I’ve heard he doesn’t fight any monsters. That’s just lame.

 

English: 1954 Japanese movie poster for 1954 J...

English: 1954 Japanese movie poster for 1954 Japanese film Godzilla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Why so serious?

Again, I love the original movie, but I saw the original movie. I don’t need to see it again. Give me a new movie with a new theme. No, I don’t expect comedy in a world where a giant monster is trashing the country, but I DO expect fun moments in a FICTIONAL STORY about a giant monster trashing the country. I’m not asking for parody here. I’d watch the 90 movie for that. {insert rimshot here} I’m asking for that scene in Godzilla 1985 with that bum who takes the opportunity to steal food from empty restaurants, or human moments that happen to be taking place. Even the original somehow snuck in a love triangle. I’m not sure it was necessary since Emiko could have just been Serizawa’s assistant and nothing would have changed, thus simply being about Ogata trying to win her father’s approval to marry her, but it was there. I’m hoping this is in the movie but I’ve heard nothing about it.

The Herculoids

The Herculoids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Godzilla’s New Powers

One of the complaints I’ve heard from Godzilla fans about the Hanna-Barbera cartoon is that Godzilla now has eye beams, even though he does still use his flame breath (less a stream but I think we all thought back then that Godzilla breathed fire and this was just how it was animated in the Godzilla movies, not that it was a “radioactive laser”). You can compare it to another Hanna-Barbera monster (HB created some darn cool giant monsters in their day, not just people in masks looking for a land grab), Zok of the Herculoids. He had eye lasers. Do you know what else Zok had? Tail beam, which now so does Shinzilla in at least one form. I’m not even bothered by the purple breath (although he’s glowing red like in Godzilla Versus Destroyah so shouldn’t he be in meltdown?), but tail beams? Back fin beams? Godzilla wasn’t powerful enough for you? If this is before Japan came up with (ineffectual) anti-kaiju weapons he really doesn’t need to be this overpowered. Again, this sounds like a monster Godzilla should be fighting, at least until I’m assuming Shinzilla’s final form, if he ever resembles the Godzilla we know and love.

Could the movie be good? Sure! It looks frightening and fascinating and the cinematography we see in the trailers (outside of the shakycam running) is amazing. However I don’t see the fun, or other things I look for in a Godzilla movie while Godzilla seems to be too far off from the previous versions, but not in a good way. It’s TOO different from what Godzilla should be. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, as I’ve said many, many times over the years of this site. The monster costume I’ve seen in that trailer and that toy Matt mentioned reviewing looks cool, and until I see it for myself I can understand why it would have fans who like it. It’s just not Godzilla to me and it’s not the direction I want, while agreeing the franchise needs to be fresh. It’s just too artsy-sounding, very serious but not really the fun I see.

Oh, I’ll still watch it (hopefully in theaters but my current situation makes that unlikely) with an open mind and hope to be proven wrong. I enjoy the 90s movie while not calling it Godzilla. (Granted, I mostly like because the animated series was so darn cool and without the 90s movie we wouldn’t have had it.) However, I’m not as excited for Shin Godzilla as I used to be.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    Godzilla without another monster to fight seems wrong. Just like you, I also enjoyed the Godzilla cartoon from HB.

    Like

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