I am literally at a loss for words.
This film gave me quite a shock, and I felt like I couldn’t put my emotions into a readable text.
Hideaki Anno and his friends revived Godzilla, our giant, awe-inspiring, and divine icon, after a twelve-year absence from the big screen.
This film is not just a monster movie. It can be tagged with so many genres: It’s a story about politics, a human-drama, a sci-fi, and a monster movie.
The story starts with an accident in the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. While the Japanese government tries to react to the crisis, a mysterious huge creature appears in Kamata, Tokyo.
The Godzilla franchise often questioned the reasons why Godzilla appeared and attacked Japan, but this film barely touches such ideological aspects.
The story focuses on one problem: how to deal with the creature.
That’s why the movie has so many conference scenes in the beginning. Their purpose is to describe the Japanese government’s vertical administrative structure of Japan as realistically as possible. This is the first Godzilla movie that describes how the government reacts during a large scale crisis and what procedures they choose to take.
When Godzilla appears, the Japan Self Defense Force is set out to apprehend it. But Godzilla Resurgence even questions the decision-making protocol of using the JSDF.
The JSDF is the only military branch in Japan that can react to the crisis, yet the government can’t just use it. A Hollywood movie wouldn’t have had a problem having the U.S. military show up right away. The movie reminds us that Japan doesn’t work like that.
It’s very interesting that Godzilla is treated as a “pest to eliminate”. The rest of the franchise treated Godzilla as an alien monster, completely different from anything on earth. That’s why they developed various super-weapons to combat the threat. In this film, however, Godzilla is part of the earth’s ecosystem. It’s an animal, a pest that just happens to be a little too big.
The difference between Godzilla and simple wildlife pests, is that the latter only cause small property or crop damages, or a few human casualties the worst. But Godzilla tramples on towns with its huge body. When the not-so-normal pest heads for Tokyo, and that’s why the government mobilizes the JSDF to eliminate it.
The government reacts so realistically that it feels a little disturbing. Even though they see that the attacks have no effect on the monster, they continue with their plan to completely eliminate it.
Their reaction reminds us of the 2011 Touhoku earthquake and tsunami that destroyed many families’ daily lives, and the chaotic Japanese government that didn’t know how to react.
The movie is a metaphor for natural disasters and the Japanese community itself.
Godzilla’s uses his signature weapon, an “atomic breath” in the form of a “radioactive heat-ray” that emits from its mouth, abundantly in this film.
While the atomic breath was always a common Godzilla skill, equivalent to a punch or kick, this film describes the breath as something different. more ominous, more destructive. It made me feel a fear and despair I’ve never felt before.
Godzilla fires its atomic breath to burn Tokyo down to ground, as if it were trying to reset Japan.
That’s the exact moment I thought that Godzilla is something more than a creature. It’s definitely not the heroic guardian of the previous films. It’s also not the demonic monster portrayed in the rest of the filmography. It almost feel divine. No human weapons have any effect on it.
There is a sinister but sacred nature to it. As I said, it felt divine. A monster so powerful that it felt god-like. A monster that by destroying just one city it made me feel like the whole world was doomed.
This film is about: “what to do if a monster appears”. It’s also about: “how Japan responds if a disaster happens”.
Godzilla is a metaphor for various natural disasters, such as earthquakes, typhoons, tsunami. It’s the trope “Reality Vs Fiction”, a parallel that makes absolute sense.
The story is well-paced and you hardly feel it’s two hours long. I have to applaud Hideaki Anno’s eccentric editing skills – his skills in the anime industry were well used – because even the many conference scenes felt exciting. There was not a scene wasted in this movie.
This is also the first time we have a full-CG Godzilla. In true Tokusatsu fashion, the monster has traditionally been portrayed by an actor wearing a suit, while the towns were paper boxes and the cars miniature toys. While the traditional miniature toys were unavoidable in the past, they couldn’t give the necessary realism such a film deserves. Someone would argue that there is no need for realism in a movie about a monster, but I beg to disagree. The amazing atomic breath scenes feel real. The fear feels real. The overwhelming power of the monster feels real. This is not a petty world made of toys. This is Tokyo, and it’s burned to the ground. I truly enjoyed this full-CG version of Godzilla. It really shows the potential of the Japanese movie industry.
This film is amazing. Even though the pacing is well executed, I wouldn’t have argued for some more relaxed scenes. The story develops rapidly, and it makes sense since there is a huge monster destroying everything; there is not time to relax. But in a movie where every scene feels like a part that can’t be removed, I wouldn’t have said no to some slow silliness.
The movie shows a new Godzilla. It’s far from the guardian of Earth or the sinister evil monster. It’s an indifferent destruction machine. It’s nature. This is his ultimate reality and this movie will change the way you see the monster.
Anno didn’t throw all of Godzilla’s past out the window. He used what he could to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, but his ultimate goal was to create a new version.
This film is a masterpiece and I highly recommend it. It will leave you speechless.
I wonder what non-Japanese think of the movie. If you see it, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!