Found out the Times Square AMC was showing Godzilla Resurgence (aka Shin Gojira). Didn’t really have a strong desire to see it, but I wasn’t doing anything else today.
It’s a perfectly serviceable creature feature. Like Ishiro Honda’s original, it tries to reflect the fears of the times in which it was made. Instead of mourning postwar devastation and exploring the very real possibility of atomic annihilation, Resurgence’s imagery evokes the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011—boats choking the flooded streets of Tokyo and homes flattened like pancakes in the wake of Gojira’s rampage.
The conflict revolves around the bureaucratic red tape and political infighting that impede emergency response and relief efforts, and the tone quickly becomes explicitly satirical. Unfortunately, the film’s overall visual style is closer to “viral web video” than “cinematic,” and all the talking heads and rapid editing muddle the pace.
On the plus side, the big green guy himself—overcoming a bizarre new design, less-than-stelllar effects work, and several decades of being a cuddly defender of mankind—actually manages to be as scary as he was way back in 1954, in one scene setting nearly the entire city ablaze in three seconds flat.
All in all, Resurgence is a mixed bag; it won’t make the kaiju sub-genre as respectable as it was back in the day, but it at least tries to say something of substance, which automatically makes it better than Syfy Channel’s monster movies.
[Originally written October 29, 2016.]