Shin Godzilla (2016) - Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi



Directors: Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi (co-director)
Writers: Hideaki Anno, Sean Whitley (English version)
Stars: Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara
Country: Japan
Release Date: 29 July 2016
Opening Weekend: JPN: $624,610,700, Production Co: Cine Bazar, Toho Company, Toho Pictures


Shin Godzilla is a Japanese giant-monster film from 2016. It was produced by Toho Pictures and it marks the third reboot of the series by that studio. Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi were co-directors, and they both did a great job. This movie has tons of elements that hearken back older Godzilla pictures. It feels nostalgic. However, it also sets it's own tones of dread and despair. If you are new to the franchise like I am, Shin Godzilla is a great starting point. It keeps true to the original and delivers a punch of entertainment. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is one of my favorite films. It delivers everything the original series did, but in a concise single viewing. It also got me excited to begin my journey in viewing these flicks.

Japan is under-siege from an unknown lizard-like creature that had crawled out of the Pacific Ocean and onto the land outside of Tokyo. The intentions of this creature are unknown, but the Japanese government must act to ensure the safety of their citizens. Things become extremely alarming when the creature mutates and begins evolving to withstand any opposition the humans throw at it. Dubbed Godzilla by the Americans, it can seem to withstand any offence from standard fire-power to high-powered missles. Godzilla even delivers its own brand of attack in the form of Atomic/Laser breath and Photon Beams. How do you stop something so tremendous that can incinerate an entire city? 

There are glaring issues with the film right off the bat. The dubbing, acting and English dialogue choices all left something to be desired. But literally every other aspect of this film overshadows those inadequacies. Upon viewing, it's obvious why this film did huge numbers in Japan, it's wonderful. But, it's also obvious why it suffered here in the West.

Right off the bat, Shin Godzilla might appear to be a direct response to the Legendary Pictures produced, 2014 film, Godzilla. But Shin Godzilla is more of an homage to the previous films in this series. It feels more like the original 1954 version, dealing in part with elements like the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, and also the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2. A common theme for the Japanese productions. 

So many things stand out in this film. One in particular is the soundtrack. Scored by Shiro Sagisu (Attack on Titan, Bleach and Neon Genesis Evangelion), who added intensity and suspense during nearly every scene. It’s also a beautifully shot thanks to cinematographer Kosuke Yamada (The Chart of Love). Scenes look tremendous. They have great shots of Godzilla, showing his enormous stature towering above cities. The effects are awesome, definitely outrageous and packed full of the kind of energy a movie like this deserves.

Shin Godzilla is a great experience. I hadn’t seen any of the original Godzilla movies outside of the 1998 American remake, and that was terrible. This movie was a reboot, so I wasn’t expected to have seen the original 1954 version. This was a fresh start with a new version of an epically infamous monster. I suggest this to fans of recent movies like Pacific Rim and Kong: Skull Island. You will have a much better experience if you watch it subbed.