31 Days of Halloween – The New Glow-in-the-Dark Godzilla (2016)

zilla1The new Toho, glow-in-the-dark Godzilla is different from any previous version of the famous monster.  This time it’s a complete movie, not a superficial wham-bam action cartoon, and it’s got plenty of themes to explore.  Many of the themes are going to take me a while to digest, since it veers so much from the traditional Godzilla movie I was expecting.  It explores new territory using themes like nationalism, political red tape, the state of international government, humanism, and pollution.  There’s probably others I’ve forgotten, but those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.  Is there allegory too?  Yes, but even that has changed.  He’s rebooted folks.  Enjoy.

Spoilers

zilla4There’s a lot of political overtones in the new Godzilla, from the troubles with government red tape to the staunch, omnipresence of the United States.  One Japanese woman plays a US coordinator during the Godzilla problem, and I think she represents a more liberal changing attitude, because she’s young and open minded.  The US leads a UN coalition wanting to drop a nuclear bomb on Japan, which is taken as a very negative solution from all the characters.  This is used to propel a more reasonable solution from the Japanese team of scientists, which works in a nationalistic way, but I don’t live in Japan.  There are several other examples of the United States as the uptight superpower and Japan as the free thinkers.

This version of Godzilla is not a rampaging behemoth, ripe with vengeance in his face.  The monster has very little emotion and doesn’t have the revengeful swagger seen in many versions of Godzilla.  He’s now more a creature, instead of an unstoppable force, unable to be explained or fought.  Japan can now fight him and outthink him.  I was half-expecting Godzilla to stomp all over Japan’s final plan to stop the rampage, but it never materialized.  

After the final plan, Godzilla is left in the middle of Tokyo, frozen solid.  He’s sitting there, like an ever-present reminder of government corruption and the international powers threatening to swallow up Japan’s traditions and ideals.  

zilla2Yutaka Takenouchi and Satomi Ishihara give some good performances.  The dialogue fails them in some areas, but I think the whole cast works overall.  It’s a little talkative, especially in the middle section, when the movie decides to emphasize the political allegory instead of the action, and I can see that some dumb script writer thought it’d be a good idea to be all progressive and hip with the new Godzilla movie.  Yutaka Takenouchi plays a free thinking young defense researcher, who nobody listens to at first.  He eventually develops a following and leads the final solution against Godzilla.  Imagine that, character development in a Godzilla movie?  I like it!  Satomi Ishihara plays Kayoko, a US liaison.  Her character also develops.  

Overall, this is a good movie.  It’s heavy on the Japanese nationalism  though, as the Japanese Defense Force runs around spouting jargon and acting as the vessel representing the hardworking defenders during recent real life disasters, like the Fukushima disaster and the 2011 tsunami.  I have to complement Toho for taking a risk and going for it with the social commentary, when the easy thing could have been just to make a superficial monster vs monster movie.  There’s plenty to like with this new version of Godzilla, who glows-in-the-dark to warn you to stop throwing your barrels of nuclear waste in the pond.  Good tip.

 

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31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974) 
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008) 
28. The Monster Squad (1987) 
27. Bad Moon (1996) 
26. The Haunting (1963) 
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
17. The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper Shin Godzilla (2016) – This Post (with glow-in-the-dark action)
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs

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