Godzilla Resurgence/Shin Gojira -2016 (Little to no spoilers) and Monster comparison.
First of I'd like to note that Godzilla has been my childhood hero. Ever since I watched a movie featuring the radioactive king of the monsters I was hooked for such cinema. So, after watching the newest installment in the series, here are my thoughts about it.
I think it's actually a very good movie even without my subjective love for the franchise. It's not like a summer blockbuster movie where you can expect certain tropes or story arcs to happen. This movie is a reboot of the series/universe, and it feels like a book example of what a good reboot should look like. The story is rather simple, with Godzilla appearing in Japan and wrecking havoc like he did in 1954. However the simplicity of the plot is definetly not a disadvantage.
First let's mention the human characters. We do have a protagonist, supporting characters, and so on. Yet it feels like there isn't a single "main" person here. Just like the slogan on the Japanese poster "Japan vs Godzilla" it's more as if the country as a whole was a character with whom progress through the story. I really enjoyed the talking scenes, the scientists trying to figure out a plan or the Prime Minister's dilemma when he has to choose how to deal with the monster. It all really pulled me into the movie and I wanted to know more, listening carefully to what each person said. The theme of the movie is also suprisingly political, showing the downright enslaving side of beaurocracy, even in moment of such cataclismic proportions.
Then we have the titular character, Godzilla himself. He is actually very frightening with both the design and sequences he's in. It seems like the movie makers wanted to capture the idea of the original movie, showing Godzilla more as a destructive, unstoppable force rather than a character with emotions and rational thoughts. As much as I love the King of the Monsters, I have to note that the scene of his trademark radioactive breath was geanuinly terrifying to me. You really watch those sequences and think "what will he do next?". I know Godzilla more than any other pop culture icon, and yet I was very much suprised. His origin, powers, 'development' all made me speechless and in awe. Definetly a different take on the character and yet it works perfectly.
Next we have the action scenes and music. What's pleasantly suprising, is that quite a few tracks in the movie are from the classic Toho movies of the past, as well as a few sound effects. That nice touch brings out a lot of nostalgia and can easly be enjoyable for anyone not familiar with Godzilla. The action is superb, with well done camera work. Sometimes in the recent action movies I have some troubles following a sequence if, for example, a fight features a lot of shaky camera and confusing movement. There is none of that here, with every action moment being shown to us carefully, focusing on the magnitude of it.
And now for something a bit different. I'd like to compare titular monsters from Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla Resurgence (2016). (this may contain some spoilers about the character, so be careful)
First, let’s talk about the origins. In 2014, Godzilla is pretty much an animal. He isn’t mutaded by anything, just an ancient species of a really peculiar animal which lives of Earth’s radiation. In 2016 Godzilla is anything but a natural animal. He came to life when an unspecified marine animal came with contant and fed off nuclear waste. They are both connected to “radioactivity” but that’s pretty much the only similarity.
This is a beautiful contrast in my opinion, and their origins do reflect on their appearance as well. 2014 Godzilla is like a majestic animal. The way he looks, moves, and behaves reminds me of a lot of various real life wildlife mixed together. Be it elephants, dinosaurs, and reptiles of all sorts. Godzilla here looks like a lone alpha male, displaying dominant behavior when facing his adversaries, and moving through our world rather peacefully when not bothered, with only his immense size being an issure for us. The only thing making him stand out as a fictional animal is, ironically, his iconic weapon- the nuclear breath. It was never quite touched on in the movie, and the way it looks and sounds doesn't remind me of anything capable of existing merely from life's idea to evolve and adapt. Other than that I could definetly see a documentary done on him showing details about this species’ life.
2016 however is just the opposite, as if a rape of the nature itself. Throughout the movie, he mutates, giving the word “evolution” a new meaning and drastically changing his apperance. As opposite to his 2014 counterpart, there is no emotion nor animal behavior, especially with his lifeless eyes. Godzilla is a walking disaster with just the instinct to adapt. His organism is very chaotic due to the radiation going on inside of it, beyond any natural life or it’s process. Also, what’s worth mentioning is his famous breath again. It seems to be somehow explained in the movie, how he can create and use it, but it’s again pushing this character even further from the real life animal kingdom.
I’d just like to conclude with the thought of Ying and Yang, with those two characters and movies. On one hand we have a majestic, yet dangerous animal and on the other, the result of man’s arrogance, when meddling with the ‘sacred’ that is nature.