Off-Ramp®

A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more. Hosted by John Rabe

Off-Ramp's critics roar about 'Shin Godzilla,' a monster of a reboot

by John Rabe and Mike Roe | Off-Ramp®

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Toho Studios

The new Godzilla movie, "Shin* Godzilla," also known as "Godzilla Resurgence," is dominating the Japanese box office, but it's only showing in the US from Oct. 11-18, so we wanted to make sure you knew about it ... and that it's worth rushing out to see.

Oh, yes. It's worth seeing.

I brought Filmweek and Off-Ramp film critic Tim Cogshell and KPCC pop culture blogger Mike Roe together in one of our little conference rooms and watched an annoyingly watermarked streaming screener of "Shin Godzilla," and it still blew us away.

Toho Studios

Listen to the audio for deeper thoughts on the film, but we liked "Shin Godzilla's" mix of kick-ass Godzilla scenes and deadly serious social and cultural commentary, which touches on the Fukishima and Chernobyl disasters, government process for good and bad, Japan's enforced post-war pacifism, international relations, nuclear power and weapons, and just good old morality v. pragmatism.

If you had high hopes for 2014's "Godzilla" but were disappointed by the myriad distracting sub-plots and the lack of ... you know ... actual Godzilla scenes, this one has tons of Godzilla, and -- SPOILER ALERT -- focuses like the laser beam coming out of our hero's mouth and spines on the themes above. There are no children rescued at the last minute, no separated lovers, and only the briefest "A giant monster? That's impossible!" moment. 

How much did Tim like it?

He says, 'If we consider that the original 1954 film ("Gojira"), the one without Raymond Burr, ranks as #1 in terms of monster movies, I'm gonna put this as #3, in terms of monster movies. #2 is "Frankenstein."' So that's high praise indeed.

The operatic trailer for "Shin Godzilla"

Personally, I think you could argue it's better than "Gojira." Of the 30+ Godzilla movies made so far, I'd rank them:

  1. "Shin Godzilla" (2016)
  2. "Gojira" (1954)
  3. "Godzilla Final Wars" (2004)
  4. "Mothra v. Godzilla" (1964)

Feel free to take issue in the comments section!

(*Shin means "new" in Japanese. So, yes, saying 'The new Godzilla movie, "Shin Godzilla,"' is like saying "the La Brea Tar Pits.")

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