Breihan Dryden, A&E Writer
In the spirit of honesty, I must admit something. I, Eric Breihan Dryden, am massively obsessed with the Kaiju genre of film. I have Godzilla toys, DVDs, Blu-rays, VHS tapes (ask your parents), and even Godzilla boxers. I have an assorted collection of rare Godzilla and Gamera posters along with having a Kaiju themed band. Collectively, I have spent well over $1000 on Kaiju merch alone. I absolutely adore this genre. Yet, despite my adoration of these films, it has taken me longer than I care to admit to finally sit down and watch the second most recent addition to the Toho Godzilla franchise, Shin Godzilla. Now that I have seen the film (in a double feature with the 2014 film no less), I am happy to report that it is quite the stellar piece of entertainment.
Shin Godzilla takes place in current day Tokyo and acts as a reboot of the character for the Toho series of films. While fans of the series are no stranger to reboots of the God-like lizard, this is hands down the most disgusting incarnation yet, complete with toxic waste oozing from the crevices along his body and radioactive blood. Oh and did I mention that this Godzilla is absolutely terrifying? That’s right kids, we’re back to good ole’ 50’s era eco-horror. His first form is an undulating mess that looks like the kaiju version of a googly eyed Frill Shark (Google it, you won’t be disappointed). It ungracefully flails around Tokyo for a bit, wreaking havoc before it decides to up and evolve into a bipedal version of its current self. Godzilla then gets embarrassed and escapes back into the ocean. Hey man, don’t act like puberty wasn’t weird for you either.
It was at this point that I realized Shin Godzilla has a very, very predictable structure. We get twenty five minutes of political satire and fifteen minutes of Godzilla, rinse repeat four times and you have the rest of the film. While some people will most definitely have an issue with this, I found the call and response of the Japanese government failing horribly at informing the public versus what is actually happening during Godzilla’s visits to the city, both hilarious and a solid example of juxtaposition of the government slapstick/disaster horror. If you’re ok with that, then you shouldn’t have a problem with sitting through this. Just know, that you will feel the two hour runtime.
This brings us to what is, in my opinion, the make or break with this film. DO NOT watch this film with the English dub. Normally, Funimation (who handled the English voice over in this film) does a solid job when it comes to providing English dubs to anime that make their way over to the states, but it sounds like something is just off with the voice cast in this. Some characters deliver their lines fine, but the majority are laughably bad. I haven’t heard an English dub this bad since the Russian werewolf film Brotherhood of the Wolf. Seriously, don’t be lazy, just read the dang subtitles.
In conclusion, is this movie a worthy use of two hours of your time? Well, that depends. Do you enjoy Godzilla films? Do you like giant monster movies? Do you want to laugh at the ineptitude of the Japanese government as agents of containment? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then yeah, this film is totally worth it. Do yourself a favor and drop the $20 dollars on the Blu-ray. Trust me, the destruction is truly, truly outrageous.