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Seriously, though, what an insufferable waste.

Remember how I commented that Megalon went ways away from the tone of the original movie? This brings it back, but in all the wrong ways. I get that they wanted to have a more modern metaphor about government bureaucracy being a more of a hindrance than a help, but the movie wastes practically it’s entire run time in offices.

Granted, the brief moments we get with this new Godzilla are impressive, but they just get cut back to another meeting that drones on forever. If I have to choose, I think I’d rather go back to rubber suit wrestling; at least that was fun.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get my calligraphy pen and shove it somewhere Neighsay doesn’t want it to go before he makes me miss the best
part of the movie.

Guys, I think there's something wrong with me. I must be getting really bad at being an artist, or at doing art, or maybe I've become too complacent because I've been liking a lot of my artwork lately. And with a lot I mean more than zero pieces. This year may go down as the year I stopped hating my work the moment that it's posted online, though almost every single piece was giving me nothing but grief the moment that I was working on them. So you can imagine this one was no different! I really had a hard time working on it, but I very much like the end result, so I guess I really have failed as an artist after all! In all seriousness, I am quite pleased with the end result, and drawing Legendary Godzilla looking at his watch with a deep aura of annoyance is perhaps the funniest thing I've drawn this year.

I wonder where he got a watch that big.

It's weird the position I'm in regarding "Shin Gojira". For once I watched it before giving a watch to "Neon Genesis Evangelion", so my first exposure to Hideaki Anno's style was this movie. It was also preceeded by a ton (and I mean hours worth) of people online telling me and warning me about the many flaws this movie's got. And while none of them are wrong for having an opinion, I say these aren't so much flaws as they represent the point the movie's trying to make.

"Shin Gojira" is all about the current monsters of our time, not so much the giant lizard rampaging and destroying everything but our unhealthy reliability in warfare, technology, the futility of it all, the way things get bogged down to a screeching halt due to bureaucracy and paperwork. The guys from RedLetterMedia described it as a procedural drama, and that's exactly what it is. Maybe I'm just weird, but I love those moments where the scientists and politicians are working together to fix the problem, while outside the city is falling apart. Analogy for the 2011 tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima plant? Absolutely. This movie, much like the original, is meant to reflect that. The way we have become our own worst enemies, and how the way things get bogged down has nothing to do with the titular monster.

Sprinkling the set pieces of Godzilla destroying the city throughout the movie was also a struck of genius, as doing so makes every board meeting and action planning all the more suffocating and urgent. In the end I found myself really getting into it, seeing all these genuinely likeable one-dimensional characters trying to figure out a way to stop this force of nature. Yeah, I have quibbles about it, there's no such thing as a perfect movie. As much as the visuals are gorgeous I think the design of Godzilla itself leaves much to be desired. Some people say its starting form is derpy, and I'll argue that all forms are derpy! I took the actions and destruction seriously, but anytime I saw those dopey eyes I just couldn't help but giggle. The giggling did stop though the moment the blood and the sewage and the nuclear fire started flooding the city though.

"Shin Gojira" is one oppressive misery-a-thon with a very strong (if a bit too hammer-y) message about the dangers of red tape and our reliance on outdated systems and methods. Strongly put together with great performances and gorgeous visuals in and out of the action, this movie sets a great precedent for kaiju films.


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3 comments posted
Background Pony #055D
Well, I actually have an idea for a Godzilla story where the world's governments are more concerned about maintaining the survival of the human race but are increasingly overwhelmed by how much the Kaiju have decimated city after city and are increasingly adding destroyed locations to their ever-expanding territories all the while every weapon thrown at them has failed to hurt them. They're not incompetent, nor are they corrupt. If anything, they're just desperately looking for a miracle.
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Sounds like everyone else had a different take than I did. I found the movie to be aspirational.

I'm used to science fiction that depicts the powers that be as corrupt, evil, ineffectual or some combination of the three. There's the Alien series with it's soulless megacorporations being the prime mover of everything wrong or the countless Jaws clones that depict government officials as obstructionist collaborateurs. And then there are cases like Pacific Rim where the governments are short-sighted, stupid and cheap and ruin things through sheer ineptitude. In Shin the government's analysis → discussion → decision loop was actually very fast. And they put in their best effort at any given moment.

Then there's the sci-fi that depicts humanity at its ugliest and pettiest, even when facing down Armageddon. How many times have we seen stupid pissing contests between agencies? Oftentimes this takes the form of a scientists v soldiers rivalry like in Avatar, Orphanage or Singularity. Or there may be a civilians against military setup like in Legend of the Galactic Heroes or certain strains of Gundam. There's even pointless interservice rivalries like the animosity between the fleet and the infantry in Starship Troopers or the contempt that the ODST's have for everyone else in the Halo metaseries. And that's even before you get into the realm of the ridiculous like the all-encompassing evil of Blackwatch in Prototype. I found the all hands effort in Shin Godzilla to be refreshing. They smoothly integrated the military, civilian advisors, foreign advisors and local and national governments into one efficient apparatus.

And then there's the fact that the leaders in Shin Godzilla were portrayed as morally upright on top of being competent. They bounced back from failure repeatedly and refused to actively harm their own people in the name of the "greater good". The government in Shin wouldn't have made the decision to nuke Raccoon City, exterminate the survivors of Willamette as in Dead Rising or abandon the people of Gotham to Bane like in Dark Knight Rises. Throughout the movie they act in a responsible way and do the best they can with what they have at any given moment, always prioritizing minimizing the harm they did to their own citizens.

And as for the criticism of the national response being outdated: Godzilla is an outside context problem. Those institutions didn't go out of date until the morning Godzilla stuck his head out of the water. If war movies actually portrayed the planning process audiences would think that the Allies of WW2 were a bloated bureaucratic mess because it took weeks to plan an operation. The movie's process was consistently only a few hours from initial briefings to execution.

In short, the movie portrayed a highly competent effort by dauntless people to contain an unforeseeable calamity. They bore their failures like responsible leaders and tirelessly kept doing their best until they finally won out of a sincere sense of duty. And they kept their humanity in the process, despite the situation steadily worsening. I saw it as an extremely hopeful movie. I would hope that if a sudden, paradigm destroying crisis struck we could handle it that well in real life.