'Shin Godzilla' - Movie Review

This is not a movie about a giant monster. This is a movie about how a government would respond to an attack on their country by a giant monster. It's so very not Hollywood (and significantly anti-American) that it's quite refreshing to watch. Although one of the expectations I have, having grown up with Hollywood movies, is that the movie should focus on particular people. Instead, this movie just moves around to whoever the current important policy-maker or politician is. It's not about the monster, it's not about people, it's about ... government. And yet it's a surprisingly enjoyable film.

This is produced by Toho, the company that brought Godzilla to the world in the 1950s, and created multiple spin-off movies through the 1960s. And early in the film someone says (paraphrased) "we don't know what to do - a giant monster has never attacked Tokyo before!" Really, Toho? Ignoring your entire back catalogue?

The movie opens on an abandoned boat in Tokyo harbour, which is shortly demolished by a massive fountain of water from underneath. Shortly after, a very weird monster (who doesn't look much like the classic Godzilla) crawls out of the water and starts thrashing its way through Tokyo. But what does the movie concentrate on? Not the destruction (although we get quite a few shots of that - fairly lo-fi, they didn't go Hollywood on that either), not individual stories of tragedy or triumph ... but instead the government, the prime minister, and various committees trying to figure out what the hell to do about this evolving horror show. As odd as it is, it's also fairly interesting as we watch them deal with the conundrums: will a military attack stop it? What about the collateral damage - have we evacuated all the civilians? How do we respond to an "offer" (more of a threat) from the U.N. of a massive military strike in our primary population centre because they consider the monster a threat to the entire world?

Strange, but fairly good. Recommended to fans of science fiction and Godzilla, although perhaps not those who are looking for a mindless action movie.