By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.
Epic in every sense of the word, Shin Godzilla (2016) is one-hundred and twenty minutes of breathless, deftly executed excitement. Also known as Godzilla: Resurgence, the effects and pacing in this thirty-first installment in the franchise are spectacular. Augmenting the sheer quality at hand is Kosuke Yamada’s colorful, impressive cinematography. The same can be said of the rousing, vastly cinematic music from Shiro Sagisu. Likewise, Hideaki Anno’s screenplay and collaborative direction with Shinji Higuchi is surprisingly tense, dramatic and cerebral. The result is undoubtedly one of the greatest entries in this long-standing series to date.
Boosted by terrific performances, especially Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi and Ren Osugi as Prime Minister Seiji Okochi, this Toho Pictures and Cine Bazar production is the third reboot of this well-known tale. The movie follows an emergency cabinet that is assembled after an unexpected incident occurs in the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. Soon after this transpires, an evolving, radioactive giant terrorizes the citizens which reside nearby. From herein, the team of governmental heavyweights institute all items at their disposal to stop the radioactive, fire-breathing beast.
The film, which reinstates the political commentary that made the original Gojira (1954) so potent, holds firmly onto the trademark turns and general arc of prior chapters in this series. Yet, it never feels like a retread. The modernized outlook and approach make the unique vigor felt in the previously stated tropes evermore astonishing. They also heighten the immediately classic impression pulsating through the endeavor.
Anno and Higuchi also impart an operatic sensibility to the piece. Such makes the fervent urgency the effort demonstrates increasingly dazzling and palpable. This is notable in the various scenes exposing the frantic discussions between the squad members. It is just as evident in the more obviously rousing instances. For example, when Godzilla’s spine is aglow with purple light. Such is a signal of the calamitous force which is about to be expunged. But, what is just as striking is the perfect symmetry of human interaction and beastly annihilation which is incorporated within the presentation. In turn, the intimate sequences of character development are just as pulse-pounding as the sweeping episodes which showcase the wrath of Anno and Higuchi’s legendary behemoth. Serious in atmosphere and demeanor, these high-caliber attributes culminate into a top-tier creature feature. Recent Hollywood blockbusters like Kong: Skull Island (2017) are child’s play in comparison.
(Unrated). Contains violence and adult themes.
Available now to purchase at Amazon.