Even though I did a quick review previously, I wanted to sit down and put together a few more in-depth thoughts on this film. So, here goes...
After taking a break from making Godzilla movies, and even participating in the 2014 American production, Toho Studios handed the reigns of this new film to a director best known for his work in anime. And it was definitely the right choice since he's created a fantastic film and a fantastically terrifying version of Godzilla.
When a creature appears in Tokyo Bay, a governmental response must be formulated, coordinated, announced to the public, and then carried out. But Godzilla evolves quickly, and the Japanese government's slow response to what they learn about the creature and how to apply that knowledge to some strategy form the conflict of the story. Slow government vs. fast-moving destruction/tragedy. While the tone of this film calls back to the serious message of the '54 film, this time, Godzilla's destruction is an analogy for the Fukushima Reactor Meltdown.
|Including radiation spikes.|
There really isn't a "human story" to the movie as there is traditionally with Godzilla movies. Sure, there are human characters, but their personal drama isn't the center of the story. We see them struggle against bureaucracy and bristle against one another, but that's just the backdrop. Their job in this film is to put a human face on all the machinations going on behind what we ephemerally classify as "government."
|This might seem like it would be boring. It is not.|
This is in stark contrast to previous Godzilla films where a human character would say, "Let's send the X-2 to destroy it!" and immediately the film cuts to the next scene of the spaceship, or whatever, launching. Instead, we get the tension of knowing the disaster is getting worse while meetings are held to decide the course of action and, later, while a small group pours through data trying to figure out a way to destroy, or at least fight, Godzilla.
|"Just bomb the crap out of it! Oh wait."|
It's an entertaining and intense film. The destruction and repercussions of Godzilla's rampage is not an afterthought. There are real people with real lives in its path. So even without a "human story" built in, there's still a lot of humanity in the movie.
Highly recommended for Godzilla fans and anyone who enjoys a metaphor in their movies.