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Shin Godzilla (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 3, 2017 by  



Hideaki anno and Shinji Higuchi’s “Shin Godzilla” is marvelous Godzilla fan and manages to capture everything and more of the original film’s action, chaos and suspense along with political intrigue, humor and more!  I have to say, next to the original 1954 film, this is my favorite Godzilla film yet!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Toho Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Shin Godzilla

FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, Dolby TrueHD Japanese and English 3.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: TV 14

RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2017


Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi

Written by Hideaki Anno, English adaptation by Sean Whitley

Produced by Yoshihiro Sato, Masaya Shibusawa, Taichi Ueda, Kazutoshi Wadakura

Executive Producer: Akihiro Yamauchi

Chief Producer: Minami Ichikawa

Line Producer: Kensei Mori

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Cinematography by Kosuke Yamada

Edited by Hideaki Anno, Atsuki Sato

Casting by Tsuyoshi Sugino

Art Direction by Yuji Hayashida, Eri Sakushima

Set Decoration by Akira Sakamoto, Toshiaki Takahashi


Starring:

Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi

Yutaka Takenouchi as Hideki Akasaka

Satomi Ishihara as Kayoko Ann Patterson

Ren Osugi as Prime Minister Seiji Okochi

Akira Emoto as Ryuta Azuma

Kengo Kora as Yusuke Shimura (Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary)

Mikako Ichikawa as Hiromi Ogashira (Deputy Director of Nature Conservation Bureau)

Jun Kunimura as Masao Zaizen (Integrated Chief of Staff)

Pierre Taki as Saigo (Combat Leader)

Kyusaku Shimada as Katayama (Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Ken Mitsuishi as Kozuka (Governor of Tokyo)

Shingo Tsurumi as Yajima (Joint Staff Deputy)

Kimiko Yo as Reiko Hanamori (Defense Minister)

Takumi Saito as Ikeda (Tank Captain)


In Shin Godzilla, when a massive, gilled monster emerges from the deep and tears through the city, the government scrambles to save its citizens. A rag-tag team of volunteers cuts through a web of red tape to uncover the monster’s weakness and its mysterious ties to a foreign superpower. But time is not on their side—the greatest catastrophe to ever befall the world is about to evolve right before their very eyes.


With the US release of the 2014 film “Godzilla”, many wondered when Japan would produce another “Godzilla” (Gojira) film.

And sure enough, in December 2014, Toho announced that they would be making new Godzilla film and directing the film would be renown anime director Hideaki Anno (“Neon Genesis Evangelion” TV show and films, “Kare Kano”, “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”, “Cutie Honey”) and also renown anime and sci-fi writer/director Shinji Higuchi (“Neon Genesis Evangelion” TV series, “Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess”, “Casshern”, “Attack on Titan” and director of visual effects for the “Gamera” trilogy).

The film was released in Japan in July 2016 and received critical acclaim from Japanese critics and was a box office success and the highest grossing live-action Japanese film of 2016 and the highest-grossing Japanese-produced “Godzilla” film ever made.  The film would win seven awards out of eleven nominations for the 40th Japan Academy Prize including “Picture of the Year” and “Director of the Year”.

The film stars Hiroki Hasegawa (“Attack on Titan” films, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?”), Yutaka Takenouchi (“Long Vacation”, “With Love”, “Oba: The Last Samurai”), Satomi Ishihara (“Attack on Titan” films, “Sadako 3D”), Ren Osugi (“Fireworks”, “The Twilight Samurai”, “Audition”), Akira Enomoto (“Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman”, “Dr. Akagi”, “The Eel”), Mikako Ichikawa (“Memories of Matsuko, “Rentaneko”, “Cutie Honey”), Kimiko Yo (“Departures”, Cafe Lumiere”) and many more.

And with the original “Godzilla” film being inspired by nuclear devastation and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, “Shin Godzilla” would be inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

And now “Shin Godzilla” is available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation.

“Shin Godzilla” begins with the Japanese Coast Guard investigating an abandoned yacht on Tokyo Bay, not long after the boat is destroyed and the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is flooded.

As politicians try to ascertain the damage and if it is an underwater volcano causing the damage, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi (portrayed by Hiroki Hasegawa) has a theory that it may be a creature.

But his superior Hideki Akasaka (portrayed by Yutaka Takenouchi) and other senior politicians tell him to not talk such nonsense.

Not long after, the Japanese Prime Minister Seiji Okochi (portrayed by Ren Osugi) is told that a tail is showing up in the ocean and then people start to believe Rando’s theory of a creature.

As the creature is moving towards Tokyo, boats start crashing all around causing panic in the Shinagawa area.  As the Japanese Prime Minister tries to get professional explanations if the creature can come to land, Hiromi Gashira (portrayed by Mikaki Ichikawa), the Deputy Director of Nature Conservation Bureau believes the creature can come to land but once again, the higher ups don’t believe her and the Prime Minister goes on television to tell the public that they are handling the problem and to not worry as the creature will not be able to come onto the land.

But after his press conference, he is given news that the creature has made it onto the land and is causing widespread damage and many casualties.

What is spotted is a red-skinned creature crawling on ground and it has gills.  But not long after, the creature goes through its second transformation and is now able to stand on its hind legs.

As the politicians try to strike plans to stop the creature and find ways to evacuate civilians, problems happen within the politicians because there is no such policy on how to deal with a creature and the use of deadly weapons with civilians nearby, leads the Prime Minister to not want to use any force.

Meanwhile, Yaguchi and his team must find a way to research the creature and Hiromi Gashira theorizes that the creature is energized through nuclear fission due to the high ratings of radiation nearby.  But once again, no one believes her until they see readings that confirm her suspicions.  Concerned, the United States send Kayako Ann Patterson (portrayed by Satomi Ishihara) to work with the Japanese government.

And what she presents is research from a zoology professor named Goro Maki, who has studied mutations caused by radioactive contamination and theorized that there would be a creature.  Inside the abandoned yacht (presented earlier in the film) was notes left by Maki but the group are unable to decipher what Maki left behind.

The U.S. has called the creatured “Godzilla”, naming it after Maki’s research and in Japan, the name in kanji is “Gojira”. But in agreement, Japan and U.S. must work together.

And when the creature returns, not only is it much larger but now it’s making its way back to Tokyo.  The Prime Minister sends the Japanese Self-Defense Force to mobilize the creature but each weapon they use, it has no effect on Godzilla.

With a priority of protecting civilians and defeating the creature, will Japan (and the U.S.A.) find a way to defeat Godzilla?  And what happens when the United States believes the only way to defeat Godzilla is to nuke the creature in Tokyo?  Which would be catastrophic for Japan.


VIDEO:

“Shin Godzilla” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). The film utilizes a lot of visual effects and for the most part, the film looks incredible.  From the way Godzilla was created, to the destruction of areas in Tokyo and the visual effects.  Picture quality is fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Shin Gozilla” is presented in Japanese and English 3.1 Dolby TrueHD.   I have to admit that I was surprised that the film was 3.1 instead of the usual 5.1 but dialogue and music is crystal clear through the center and front channels and great use of LFE during the more catastrophic and heavy artillery action scenes.

Japanese soundtrack is well-done but I also watched the film with English subtitles and with FUNimation onboard, one of the major positives is they have excellent voice talent utilized by the company and the English dub is well-done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shin Godzilla” comes with the following special features:

  • Godzilla vs. the Nerds – (33:05) A Funimation interview with Funimation Brand Manager Paul Fruge II and Matt Frank (comic book artist for “Godzilla” comics for IDW), Ben Cortez (Funimation Digital Video and massive Godzilla fan) and Eric Tipton (Funimation Marketing Dept and huge Godzilla fan).

EXTRAS:

“Shin Godzilla” comes with a slipcase, the Blu-ray, DVD and an UltraViolet HD code.


I grew up watching “Godzilla” and I have reviewed many “Godzilla” films.  And with each film, there are things I have come to appreciate, other things that I found a bit cheesy but in the most part, my favorite has always been the original 1954 film directed by Ishiro Honda.

Last year, while traveling to Japan, I was able to watch part of “Shin Godzilla” but due to long hours in the plane and not having much sleep the night before, I watched the film in pieces, trying to keep myself awake.  But I was out and I figured, I’ll catch it whenever it is released on Blu-ray.

And sure enough, Funimation has released “Shin Godzilla” on Blu-ray in August 2017 and I have watched it probably five times already, that is how much I enjoyed this film.

When there was discussion of a reboot, at first I was skeptical because each reboot, there were things I liked and things I didn’t and for the most part, many films strayed from the original and became tokusatsu films that I was watching more for the battles and whoever Godzilla would take on.

I missed the deep storyline, the political and scientific strategy employed of the original film but with “Shin Godzilla”, while it has elements of the original, directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi were able to craft an amazing “Godzilla” film that goes beyond destruction, but a film that features a lot of layers, from the political obstruction, the decision making of Japan’s Prime Minister and their leaders, the intervention of the United States and other allies.  There is a lot going on this film, complexities that I knew very well that Anno and Higuchi were capable of taking on, considering I am a big fan of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.

While the film features two renown directors, you have a lot of veteran talent from Ren Osugi, Akira Emoto, Kengo Kora and one of my favorite TV drama actors, Yutaka Takenouchi.  The film also has a lot of talent such as Hiroki Hasegawa, Mikako Ichikawa, Satomi Ishihara and while each of these characters has their own purpose, especially Hasegawa’s character of Rando Yaguchi and Satomi Ishihara’s Kayoko Ann Patterson.  They are considered more of a cog in a well-oiled machine of players that all contribute to a team working to find a solution in trying to stop Godzilla from causing more destruction.

Fail in finding a solution, the United States with the go-ahead of the U.N. is going to drop a nuke on Tokyo in order to stop Godzilla, especially as the monster poses a threat to the West Coast.

What I love about this film is how it uses current events, like the original “Godzilla” did after World War II and seeing the effects of the the nuclear bombs detonated on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “Shin Godzilla” uses data after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor situation after the 2011 Tohoko Earthquake and Tsunami and as many Japanese have a no-confidence feeling towards the company hiding the true results from the public, the film goes one-step to show that others are responsible for hiding the fact that a creature was feeding on nuclear waste dumped in the ocean.

And the result is Godzilla.

And no, this Godzilla is not like anything from the past.  He’s deadlier, more calculating and prepared for attacks from the nuclear laser beams emanating from its mouth and its scales throughout its body to other abilities which one will have to watch the film and see.

I also liked the fact of how the film handled the transformation of Godzilla, from its bug-eyed amphibious form to the monstrous creature it would become.

The amount of destruction and the visual effects utilized no doubt makes this film looking “Godzilla” film yet.  And has become my favorite of the many “Godzilla” films.

Picture quality is fantastic on Blu-ray and its Japanese and English 3.1 DolbyTrue HD soundtrack is crystal clear with its dialogue (in Japanese and a well-done English dub) and wonderful musical score by Shiro Sagisu (known for his work on the recent “Evangelion” and “Berserk” animated films).  And you also get a entertaining featurette as American “Godzilla” fans discuss all things Godzilla.

Overall, Hideaki anno and Shinji Higuchi’s “Shin Godzilla” is marvelous Godzilla fan and manages to capture everything and more of the original film’s action, chaos and suspense along with political intrigue, humor and more!  I have to say, next to the original 1954 film, this is my favorite Godzilla film yet!






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