Thursday, December 08, 2016

'Godzilla Resurgence' Isn't Quite Solid, but Nicely Reboots the Japanese Franchise Nonetheless

After Hollywood reintroduced Godzilla to moviegoers in 2014, it’s finally the turn of Japan, from which Godzilla originally originated and became famous, to revive its own Godzilla franchise (“Gojira”) after being dormant since 2004.

Godzilla Resurgence, also alternatively known as Shin Godzilla or Shin Gojira, is the 31st Japanese-made Godzilla film, and also serves as a reboot for a new film series (I understand that a sequel is set for next year).  The premise of the movie is basically Godzilla debuting in a 21st century setting, as if the iconic monster has just emerged and is attacking Japan for the first time ever.
Resurgence’s Godzilla is his biggest incarnation yet, and his tail is significantly longer than previous versions’.   Also, through the years, through many films and TV shows, Godzilla has been portrayed having varying abilities, but I think it was in Resurgence that I saw for the first time Godzilla having the ability to rapidly evolve, and shoot lasers from his back scales and tail.  The 2014 American version of Godzilla may be aesthetically superior, but Resurgence’s Godzilla is simply more badass.

To be honest, if I compare the 2014 movie and Resurgence, I think the former is way more competently made overall.  On the other hand, I find the latter choppily paced and has more characters than it knows what to do with.  It also tends to seemingly romanticize and focus too much on the behind-the-scenes political, bureaucratic, inter-department interactions in the government during a Godzilla attack.  To have some of that is definitely worthwhile, but its volume in the movie is a bit off-putting.  That said, I enjoyed Resurgence more, probably because Godzilla has ample screen time in it (the 2014 American movie is notoriously known for only showing Godzilla for about eight minutes of its 123-minute run time).
I didn’t quite like Godzilla Resurgence as much as I wanted to, but it’s a fairly fun watch nonetheless.  It’s not always exciting, but when it does get exciting, it’s relentlessly so.  It definitely would have benefited from better editing, and lesser but more well-realized characters.  But its main star – that is, Godzilla himself – was electrifying enough to carry the movie, and make up for the lack of likable human characters.  Because, after all, even then, the Japanese Godzilla films – both the good and ridiculous – have always been primarily concerned with making Godzilla look awesomely destructive.  And in Godzilla Resurgence, he absolutely is.

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