One of the pleasant surprises from my vacation visiting my family on the east coast was getting a copy of the Blu-ray of Shin Godzilla, Toho’s reboot of cinema’s most successful franchise. Regular readers of my blog may remember that I saw this movie in a theater last year and enjoyed the experience. I can say that re-watching it on home video only enhanced my enjoyment and appreciation.
The Blu-Ray itself is thin on bonus features, containing only a trailer and a panel interview about the movie, however the transfer looked great. The picture was sharp, vivid with a clear and powerful soundtrack.
As I stated Shin Godzilla is a reboot of one of film’s most iconic characters. Rather than stick with the convoluted continuity stretching all the way back to 1954, this story wipes the slate clean and proceeds with a story in which Kaiju monsters have never exited.
One of the more difficult aspects to this sort of movie is finding the human story that takes place within the setting of a giant rampaging monster. The original Gojira cracked this using the story as a frame to discuss the recent war, the fears of nuclear power, and the conflict between what you want for yourself and sacrificing for the greater good. Shin Godzilla, well removed the horrors of World War II, centers it story on government officials tasked with dealing the impossible situation. While carrying forward a story about a young idealistic politician and his team of misfits and heretics the movie also finds organic methods of discussing nuclear weapons, governmental paralysis in crisis, and Japan’s international relationships, particularly with the United States.
The film has plenty of unobtrusive call backs to the 1954 original, principally in the soundtrack with sound effects and music well repurposed. Nearly all of the effects work quite well. (I did not like the eyes of the monsters earliest form. They struck me as pasted on and looking like the toys eyes you can stick on just about anything. This, however, is a fairly minor flaw.)
This is film that in many ways mirrors the tone of the original, approached with a seriousness that works and well worth having on Blu-ray.