Taylor Swift (From the Vault), Unlocked 1.5, ALT, Invincible, Vlure and Shin Godzilla!

Shin Godzilla

Hawk: With Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong on the horizon, I felt there was no better time to finally sit down to Shin Godzilla, the first Japanese Godzilla film since 2004’s Final Wars. This is a reboot, helmed by Hideaki Anno (creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion). His more psychological approach to characterization, combined with the benefit of the reset button on the Godzilla mythos, uniquely positions this movie to be a real game-changer from the moment Godzilla emerges from the deep.

Shin Godzilla is a different sort of spectacle from the newer American franchise. I’m generally on board with the American films, despite the glaringly obvious problems with effectively portraying sympathetic characters (like really, who cares about a dissolving marriage when friggin’ GODZILLA is trashing the city). Shin Godzilla, with its admittedly brief flashes of character work, remains effective because of how the broad human response to crisis fits snugly alongside the concept of that crisis being a god incarnate crumpling the city like paper before him.

As Godzilla continues to evolve, wading through cities and leaving destruction in his wake, the humans are caught in a hopelessly tangled web of red tape, any military decision or act against the crisis having to be passed through a chain of command. The way this is portrayed is deliberately chaotic, with a constantly rotating slew of subtitles signaling a new department or agent with them immediately talking over others. Each new instance creates an immediate sense of stress, trying to keep up with the agencies, locations, individuals, decisions and conversations. It seems to be a running joke that the group of ministers keep relocating to different offices and conference rooms for…no particular reason. It surprisingly gets progressively funnier, with characters literally relaying the same intel and requests to the others in the same room, up the chain of command.

It’s satirical in terms of how clumsy bureaucracy is, and frightening in how accurately it’s portrayed. It’s reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove in how a group of decision makers faced with crisis get wrapped up in indecision and internal conflict as the onslaught of new developments continues. This red tape dilemma is even called out specifically at one point, but brushed away as “the foundation of Democracy.”

Godzilla’s design and his multiple evolutions are, frankly, gross–in a good way. His initial form is a fishlike creature clumsily stumbling through the canal on his small feet, with blank eyes and heaving gills gushing blood across the streets. His evolutions are sudden and grotesque, with his final form having horrifying implications for the future of this timeline. His main form has a massively long tail, and multiple far shots emphasize the insane scale of the monster to the towns he’s carelessly trampling. The recent American Godzilla is a protagonist with little care for collateral damage; this Godzilla is a bipedal apocalypse.

Shin Godzilla is awesome. It’s nail-biting, high-stakes mayhem intercut with equally tense and hilarious political satire. The balance is terrific, and I really hope Anno pursues a sequel.

Those are our recommendations this week! What are yours? Let us know in the comments!

Written by TV Obsessive

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