Sometimes, it is the little things that can absolutely make your day start, or end, on an incredible high note. Case in point, the package I received in the mail yesterday. Now, it has been well documented that I am a huge Godzilla fan and when I heard that Toho was making a new movie, I got excited and eagerly anticipated getting a chance to see it. When it was announced that there would be showings in the US, I immediately got tickets for myself and my two youngest brothers so we could go watch it. Towards the end of the year, I started searching online for a copy of the movie that was either a Region 1 DVD or All-Region so that it could watch it and after several weeks, finally found a copy. Granted, it took a while for shipping to get here but I was content with the knowledge that it was on it’s way. That brings us to today, as I finally get to watch Godzilla Resurgence (a.k.a. Shin Godzilla) again.
The plot: When an abandoned yacht is found drifting in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese Coast Guard is sent to investigate it but just as they determine that nobody is on board, a violent eruption occurs in the water, destroying the Coast Guard boat. At the same time, the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line tunnel suddenly springs a leak, with a strange red water pouring in and flooding the tunnel. As a huge geyser of steam continues to erupt from the bay, the Japanese government begins to discuss the appropriate response to what has occurred. As evacuations proceed for nearby islands and the rest of the tunnel, several people take videos that show a colossal creature moving about inside the steam. Rando Yaguchi, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, sees some of the videos and as the ministers are called into the Prime Minister’s office, he voices his opinion that a creature caused the incidents. Yaguchi’s opinion is scoffed at as the other ministers believe it is simply a volcanic eruption or a thermal vent. Later, as the ministers are gathered in the main conference room, news footage is shown on TV of a large tail emerging from the ocean. The ministers realize Yaguchi was right and quickly reconvene in the Prime Minister’s office. Inside, the ministers discuss the possible scenarios they have for dealing with the creature; leaving it alone, capturing it, or exterminating it. Several minsters vote for extermination, citing the financial losses that the country has already incurred. Several environmentalists and scientists have already called to say the creature should be captured for study, just as several biologists are summoned to help determine what the creature is. The Prime Minister decides that the creature should be destroyed, but as the work out the details of firing torpedoes inside the bay, the creature begins making it’s way inland via the rivers. After an unhelpful meeting with some scientists concerning what they creature is, the Prime Minister returns to his office and demands that they find out more about the creature. Yaguchi asks one of his aides if he has any ideas and he recommends his friend Hiromi Ogashira, a low level Deputy in the Environment Ministry’s Wildlife Division. Ogashira is brought in and after examining the footage they have, she says that it is aquatic but that it has the capability of moving on land. Her superior says she is mistaken and tells the Prime Minister that it can’t possibly support it’s weight on land and the Prime Minister chooses to go on TV and tell the people that the creature can’t possibly come on land but in the midst of his broadcast, an aide comes up to the Prime Minister that the creature has come ashore. The creature, a slow moving, quadrupedal, reptilian animal, begins plowing through the city as the Prime Minister is furious for being made a liar on TV. Returning to his office, the various ministers begin trying to figure out what to do now as an evacuation of the city is begun in preparation for a military strike. As any military response requires the PM’s authorization, the PM is reluctant to give it without knowing all the facts, as this is an unprecedented series of events. The PM gives his approval for declaring a national state of emergency, allowing the JSDF (Japanese Self Defense Force) to assist with evacuations while also attacking the creature. Suddenly, the creature stops moving forward briefly, causing everyone to wonder why, when the creature suddenly evolves into a bipedal creature. The JSDF assemble some attack helicopters to attack the creature but when civilians are seen still in the line of fire, the PM calls off the attack, while the creature roars out and heads back into Tokyo Bay. As the PM and ministers survey the damage, the JSDF begin searching the ocean for signs of the creature. Meanwhile, Yaguchi assembles a team of ministry officials and scientists who are all rebels, like himself, for the sole purpose of getting as much information on the creature as possible. When they try to figure out how the creature can sustain itself, Ogashira theorizes that the creature is powered by nuclear fission. Another member of the task force dismisses the idea but when geiger counters indicate radiation spikes along the creature’s path, they realize she is correct. Yaguchi goes to see the chief ministers and tell them this news and they agree to talk to the PM and warn the public about it. Meanwhile, a Kayoko Ann Patterson, a special envoy to the US Foreign Ambassador, requests a meeting with Yaguchi. Patterson asks for Yaguchi’s help in finding Goro Maki, a disgraced Japanese professor who predicted the arrival of the creature years ago. After a quick search, they learn that Maki’s boat was the one abandoned in the bay when the creature first appeared. Yaguchi informs Patterson of this and shows her the file that Maki had on board. Patterson shows Yaguchi her own copy of Maki’s work, where Yaguchi sees that Maki had called the creature Godzilla. Meeting with the rest of Yaguchi’s team, Patterson explains that 60 years ago, radioactive material was illegally dumped into the sea and Maki was one of the men assigned to find a way to handle it. Meanwhile, an unidentified aquatic creature managed to survive the radiation and thrive on it, mutating into the creature that would become Godzilla. Using this new information, Yaguchi’s team try to figure out how to stop Godzilla and when one member realizes that Godzilla has a blood-cooling system for all of the heat it gives off, they theorize that a blood coagulating agent might be able to immobilize him. When Godzilla resurfaces and is seen to be even larger than before, evacuations begin while the JSDF mobilize to attack him. The JSDF uses helicopters, tanks, and artillery to attack Godzilla but their weapons have no effect. When they begin using bombs on Godzilla, it appears to be working as Godzilla starts to turn away but Godzilla simply changed course to attack the JSDF, then continues making it’s way into Tokyo. With the JSDF unable to stop it, the Defense Minister suggests they ask the US for help in dealing with Godzilla. As Godzilla heads towards the capital, the PM and the other minsters are told to evacuate. While the PM and the senior ministers head to the roof to await a helicopter, Yaguchi and his team evacuate by car but due to gridlock, are forced to go by foot. The US sends some B2 bombers, which manage to injure Godzilla with their bombs on their initial run but Godzilla’s dorsal fins begin to glow and Godzilla begins spewing smoke, then fire, and finally a radioactive beam from his mouth, which he uses to destroy one of the bombers. As the other bombers begin a second run, Godzilla fires beams out from his dorsal fins, destroying the bombs as well as the bombers, plus the helicopter carrying the PM and the senior ministers, before the beams stop and Godzilla, having used up a large amount of energy, is rendered immobile. As the Japanese government names an acting PM and struggles to deal with the wounded, Yaguchi’s team is joined by US scientists, as a result of a deal struck by Patterson. While they continue to work on a way to freeze Godzilla, they study the genetic samples they obtained and learn that Godzilla can reproduce asexually, as well as evolve into a flying creature or a smaller creature if it so chooses. The US recommends using nuclear weapons to destroy Godzilla and the United Nations informs the acting PM that they will authorize the use of nuclear weapons if Japan can’t kill Godzilla themselves. When readings suggest that Godzilla will be mobile again in 15 days, Yaguchi’s team is racing against time to try and finally decipher Maki’s notes regarding Godzilla. Patterson uses her connections, at the risk of her career, to help Yaguchi with his plan to freeze Godzilla. Using unmanned trains as bombs, they send them crashing into Godzilla, then use drones to attack him as he starts moving, forcing Godzilla to expend his energy defending himself. Though the radiation levels exceed what they projected, they continue the attack until Godzilla is unable to fire his radioactive beam, then use controlled detonations to drop buildings on him, briefly immobilizing him and allowing cranes with spray nozzles to approach him and begin spraying the coagulant into his mouth. Godzilla recovers and destroys the cranes but the JSDF use the remaining train bombs to bring him down again, allowing more cranes to begin dispensing the rest of the coagulant. Godzilla destroys the cranes and gets back to his feet but as he starts to move, he freezes up and Yaguchi and the rest of the team breathe a sigh of relief as they managed to freeze Godzilla with one hour to spare before the nuclear bomb would have been deployed. As the government works on reorganizing and rebuilding itself, the UN calls off the strike against Japan, but gets the new Japanese government to agree that if Godzilla reawakens, they authorize the use of a thermonuclear strike against it. As Yaguchi and Patterson say their goodbyes, Godzilla is seen in the distance but a close up of his tail reveals humanoid figures frozen in place as they were beginning to emerge from his tail.
Godzilla Resurgence (a.k.a. Shin Godzilla) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Godzilla Resurgence offers a refreshingly low-fi — and altogether entertaining — return to the monster’s classic creature-feature roots.” The 31st entry in the Godzilla franchise and the 29th movie produced by Toho Pictures, the movie was a re-imagining of Godzilla’s origins, while drawing some inspiration from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The movie was a box office hit in Japan, debuting at #1 in it’s opening weekend, knocking Finding Dory from the top spot and out performing 2014’s Godzilla by 23%. The movie was given a one week limited release from October 11-18 in the U.S. and Canada but due to the demand, the release was extended to the 27th. Godzilla Resurgence (a.k.a. Shin Godzilla) would go on to earn $77.9 million off of a $15 million budget, making it the highest-grossing Japanese produced Godzilla movie in the franchise and the highest grossing live action Japanese film of 2016.
While this wasn’t what I initially expected, this was still a great movie to watch. The acting was good, with Hiroki Hasegawa (Yaguchi) and Satomi Ishihara (Patterson) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was interesting as instead of focusing on Godzilla, it focused more on how the government would respond to such an event. This was pretty interesting in it’s own way because it showed how sometimes all the red tape cause more inaction than actual action in an emergency. I also like the origin idea for Godzilla they had in this movie and I thought the premise that it could constantly evolve was an interesting twist. The special effects were pretty good but there were one or two moments that actually had me going “WTF”, such as when he starts shooting a radioactive beam out of his tail. Still, almost every Godzilla movie is a great movie to watch and this one is no exception.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5