Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||See below|
|Screenplay by||Hideaki Anno|
July 25, 2016|
July 29, 2016
|Box office||US$77.9 million|
Shin Godzilla (シン・ゴジラ Shin Gojira, also known as Godzilla Resurgence) is a 2016 Japanese science fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced and distributed by Toho. It is the 31st film in the Godzilla franchise, the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho, and Toho's third reboot of the franchise. The film is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, with a screenplay by Anno and visual effects by Higuchi. The film stars Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, and Satomi Ishihara and reimagines Godzilla's origins where he emerges in modern Japan for the first time. Inspiration for the film was drawn from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new domestic Godzilla film. Anno and Higuchi were announced as the film's directors in March 2015 and principal photography began on September and ended in October with the special effects work following in November that year. Shin Godzilla was released in Japan on July 29, 2016 in IMAX, 4DX, and MX4D to critical acclaim from Japanese critics but received mixed to positive reviews from Western critics and was a box office success, becoming the highest grossing live-action Japanese film of 2016 and the highest grossing Japanese-produced Godzilla film in the franchise.
As the Japanese coast guard investigates an abandoned yacht in Tokyo Bay, something in the water attacks their boat. Soon afterwards, the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is mysteriously flooded and collapses. After seeing a viral video showing a massive entity moving in the area, Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi is convinced that the incident was caused by a living creature. His theory is initially dismissed but later confirmed when news reports show a massive tail coming out of the ocean. Later, a massive aquatic creature appears, and moves inland via rivers. The Japanese Prime Minister assures the public that the creature is unable to come onto land due to its weight, only to be informed that the creature has made landfall. The creature moves through the city, leaving a massive wake of destruction and civilian casualties, before evolving into a red-skinned creature that can stand upright on its hind legs, before returning to the ocean.
The top government officials focus on military strategy and civilian safety, while Yaguchi is put in charge of a task force to research the creature. Due to high radiation readings, the creature is theorized to be energized through nuclear fission. The US sends a special envoy, Kayoko Ann Patterson, who reveals that a disgraced zoology professor, Goro Maki, had been studying mutations due to radioactive contamination and theorized the appearance of the creature but the US covered it up. The yacht abandoned in Tokyo Bay had belonged to Maki and he had left his investigative notes there before disappearing.
The creature, now named Godzilla after Maki's research, reappears, now twice its original size, and makes landfall near Kamakura en route for Tokyo. The Japanese Self Defense Forces are mobilized, but their attacks have no effect on Godzilla and they suffer major casualties. The US offers their intervention in exchange for full access to study the creature, and the Japanese government reluctantly agrees. B-2 bombers sent by the US attack Godzilla, but it is barely injured and responds with highly destructive atomic rays fired from its mouth and dorsal fins. The battle destroys a major part of Tokyo, along with both the US bombers and helicopters carrying most of the Japanese government officials. After depleting its energy, Godzilla enters a dormant state and becomes immobile.
Yaguchi's team discovers that Godzilla's fins and blood work as a cooling system, allowing them to theorize that through the use of a coagulating agent, they could trigger a reaction and cause Godzilla to freeze. Furthermore, after analyzing tissue samples, they find that Godzilla is able to survive as long as air and water are available, and that the creature is able to reproduce asexually. The UN, headed by the US government and unaware of this weakness, informs Japan that the use of thermonuclear weapons against Godzilla is inevitable. Unwilling to see nuclear weapons detonated in Japan again, Patterson decides to use her political connections to buy Yaguchi's team as much time as possible to finish the plan, even if it puts her own career at stake.
Against international pressure and the lack of faith from the interim government, the team manages to procure enough coagulant and enacts their plan. They provoke Godzilla into using its atomic breath until depleted. The team then detonates explosives in the nearby buildings, knocking Godzilla down and giving the tankers full of coagulant access to inject into Godzilla's mouth. Though many people are killed in the process, the team's plan succeeds and Godzilla is frozen solid.
In the aftermath, the international community agrees to call off the nuclear strike, but have the new Japanese government agree that, in the event of Godzilla's reawakening, a thermonuclear bomb will be launched at it. Meanwhile, dozens of humanoid skeletons resembling Godzilla are seen splitting off from the tip of its tail.
- Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.After Toho offered him the role, Hasegawa immediately accepted, stating, "Who wouldn't want to be involved in a Godzilla production?"
- Yutaka Takenouchi as Hideki Akasaka, Aide to Prime Minister. Takenouchi stated that the film will contain a "deeper message".
- Satomi Ishihara as Kayoko Ann Patterson, Special Envoy for the President of the United States. She became excited after accepting the role but stressed that her character features "English-heavy dialogue", stating, "Sometimes it's so frustrating, I just want to cry."
The film features several cameos and supporting appearances, including Kengo Kora, Ren Osugi, Akira Emoto, Kimiko Yo, Jun Kunimura, Mikako Ichikawa, Pierre Taki, Takumi Saito, Keisuke Koide, Arata Furuta, Sei Hiraizumi, Kenichi Yajima, Tetsu Watanabe, Ken Mitsuishi, Kyūsaku Shimada, Kanji Tsuda, Issei Takahashi, Shinya Tsukamoto, Kazuo Hara, Isshin Inudo, Akira Ogata, Shingo Tsurumi, Suzuki Matsuo, Mayumi Ogawa, Kreva, Katsuhiko Yokomitsu, and Atsuko Maeda. Mansai Nomura portrayed Godzilla through motion capture.
- Hideaki Anno – director, writer, editor
- Shinji Higuchi – co-director, VFX director
- Katsuro Onoe – associate director, VFX creative director
- Minami Ichikawa – chief producer
- Taichi Ueda – producer
- Yoshihiro Sato – producer
- Masaya Shibusawa – producer
- Kazutoshi Wadakura – producer
- Akihiro Yamauchi – executive producer
- Takeshi Sato – production manager
- Masato Inatsuki – production manager
- Kensei Mori – line producer
- Kosuke Yamada – cinematographer
- Atsuki Sato – editor, VFX supervisor
- Tetsuo Ohya – VFX producer
- Shirō Sagisu – music composer
In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new Godzilla film targeted for a 2016 release, stating, "This is very good timing after the success of the American version this year: if not now, then when? The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions." The new film will have no ties to Legendary's Godzilla–Kong film series and instead will serve as a reboot to the Toho series. Minami Ichikawa will serve as the film's production manager and Taiji Ueda as the film's project leader. Ueda confirmed that the screenplay is in development and filming has been planned for a summer 2015 shoot. Toho will additionally put together a project team, known as "Godzilla Conference" or "Godzi-con", to formulate future projects.
In March 2015, Toho announced that the film would be co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi (who both collaborated on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion), in addition to Anno writing the screenplay and Higuchi directing the film's special effects. In addition, Toho announced that the film will begin filming in the fall of 2015 set for a summer 2016 release. Promotional artwork of the new Godzilla's footprint was also released, with Toho confirming that their new Godzilla will surpass Legendary Pictures' Godzilla as the tallest incarnation to date.
Toho had approached Anno in January 2013 to direct the reboot but Anno initially declined due to falling into depression after completing Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, stating, "A representative from Toho contacted me directly, saying, 'We'd like to direct a new Godzilla film.' At the time, I was still recovering from EVA 3.0, and right on the spot, flatly refused the offer, 'It's impossible. Even to begin work on the next EVA is impossible.'" However, Toho's sincerity and his longtime friend and co-director, Shinji Higuchi, eventually convinced him to accept the offer in March 2013. Anno had also refused the offer due to a lack of confidence, stating, "I refused [the offer] since I didn't have confidence that I could exceed the first film or come close to equaling it. But I thought that if I were to come close even a little, I would have to do the same thing [as the first film]."
Mahiro Maeda provided the new design for Godzilla while Takayuki Takeya provided the maquette. Director Higuchi stated that he intended to provide the "most terrifying Godzilla that Japan's cutting-edge special-effects movie-making can muster." A variety of techniques such as puppets, animatronics, and digital effects were used for Godzilla. A colorless maquette was built for CG animators to use as a reference and render the CG Godzilla model. Mansai Nomura provided the motion capture performance for Godzilla.
Principal photography began on September 1, 2015 with a large on-location film shoot at Kamata station in Tokyo under the working title "Shin Gojira." On September 23, 2015, Toho revealed the film's official title as Shin Gojira and that the film will star Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, and Satomi Ishihara. Producer Akihiro Yamauchi stated that the title Shin Gojira was chosen for the film due to the variety of meanings it conveys, such as either "new", "true", or "God". Yamauchi also confirmed that the film has been planned for quite some time, stating, "It's been in the works a long time. It's not like it was produced just because of the Hollywood Godzilla".
Principal photography wrapped at the end of October 2015, with special effects work scheduled for November 2015. In November 2015, without any prior announcement, Toho screened a promo reel at the American Film Market for a potential sale for overseas markets, marketing the film (for a while) as Godzilla Resurgence.
Allusions to 3/11 earthquake and Fukushima
Shin Godzilla drew inspiration from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and many critics and journalists have noted similarities to those events. Mark Schilling from The Japan Times stated, "The original Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear devastation, most notably the then-recent Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Anno’s beast, however, is also clearly inspired by the March 11, 2011, triple disaster, with Godzilla serving as an ambulatory tsunami, earthquake and nuclear reactor, leaving radioactive contamination in his wake" and went further in depth with the film's 3/11 parallels by stating, "The government officials, Self-Defense Forces officers and others scrambling to meet this monster menace are held up as heroes similar to the famed 'Fukushima 50' (the workers who risked their lives laboring round-the-clock to stabilize the crippled No. 1 nuclear plant). Despite some initial bumbling, most of these folks, especially Rando and the anti-Godzilla task force he heads, are hardworking, dedicated and formidably bright, rattling off jargon-packed dialogue with nary a pause for breath. And, of course, they are doing it all for the greater good and glory of the Japanese nation."
Roland Kelts, the author of Japanamerica, said, "Shots of the mobilizing blue-suited civil servants and piles of broken planks and debris quite nakedly echo scenes of the aftermath of the great Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster." Robert Rath from Zam stated that the film "is actually commentary about the Japanese government -- and Fukushima" and went on to say that the film "transcends being a mere monster movie, and instead reveals itself to be full-blown satire of Japanese politics" and also compared the film's lead character Rando Yaguchi to the Fukushima plant manager Masao Yoshida. Matt Alt from The New Yorker stated, "In the preview for “Godzilla Resurgence,” you can see how the directors are again mining the collective memories of Japanese viewers for dramatic effect. But their touchstones are no longer incendiary and nuclear bombs. Instead they are the 2011 earthquake and tsunami." Alt also noted parallels to the fallout from Fukushima and authorities in jumpsuits, stating, "the sight of blue-jumpsuited government spokesmen convening emergency press conferences is enough to send a chill down one’s spine. So is the shot in the trailer of a stunned man quietly regarding mountains of debris, something that could have been lifted straight out of television footage of the hardest-hit regions up north. Even the sight of the radioactive monster’s massive tail swishing over residential streets evokes memories of the fallout sent wafting over towns and cites in the course of Fukushima Daiichi’s meltdown."
In his review, Ollie Barder stated, "In many ways, this new movie is a searing indictment of how the 2011 Tohoko earthquake and tsunami as well as the Fukushima disaster were mishandled by the Japanese administration." He also noted the film's depiction of the Japanese government, stating, "In that, the old guard with their overly complex and corpulent bureaucratic ways were simply unable to deal with a crisis in any kind of efficient or fluid way. This is shown repeatedly in Resurgence, as the high-ranking members of the cabinet, comfortable in their positions of power, use the hierarchical nature of the system they reside within to protect their own positions, at the expense of the lives of their citizens."
The film's score is composed by Shiro Sagisu, who also scored Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion and Higuchi's Attack on Titan. There are also various remixes of "Decisive Battle" from Sagisu's Neon Genesis Evangelion score. The film also includes several pieces from previous Godzilla films composed by Akira Ifukube. Anno had decided to use Ifukube's music while writing the screenplay and attempted to adapt the old Ifukube tracks to modern stereo settings but the task proved too daunting and eventually settled on using the mono mixes instead. The soundtrack was released on July 30, 2016 and sold 8,427 copies in 2 weeks.
In December 2015, Toho unveiled the film's first teaser trailer and teaser poster revealing Toho's new Godzilla design and the film's July 29, 2016 release date. Chunichi Sports reported the size of the new Godzilla to be 118.5 metres (389 ft) high, over 10 metres (33 ft) taller than Legendary's Godzilla.
In January 2016, images of the Godzilla suit were leaked online. In late March 2016, it was announced that Toho's Godzilla and Anno's Evangelion intellectual properties will form a "maximum collaboration" for merchandise in April 2016. In mid-April 2016, Toho revealed the complete design of the new Godzilla and that it is a completely CG-generated character, as well as a new trailer, details regarding the principal and supporting characters, and that the film will be released in IMAX, 4DX, and MX4D formats for its domestic release.
For summer 2016, the Namja Town amusement park held special Godzilla cross-promotion activities. The park unveiled a new virtual reality game, the food court produced kaiju-inspired food dishes, and a Godzilla foot on display as though it had crashed through the roof of the attached Sunshine City Alpa shopping center. Sports equipment manufacturer Reebok released limited-edition Godzilla sneakers featuring a black reptilian skin pattern and either red or glow-in-the-dark green coloring in Japan.
Shin Godzilla was released on July 29, 2016 in Japan in over 350 theaters and 446 screens. It had its red carpet premiere on July 25, 2016. The premiere took place in Tokyo along Kabuki-cho Central Road, with a red carpet from the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, the hotel which has the large Godzilla head peering over, 118.5 metres in length, the same distance as the height of Godzilla.
In April 2016, New World Cinemas was named one of the distributors to release the film in the United States, however, in June 2016, New World Cinemas clarified on their official Facebook that "New World Cinemas are not the distributers [sic] for the new Godzilla Film. The mistake was make [sic] because we said Godzilla coming soon. This was merely a post to promote Godzilla as we too are big fans. We apologise for any confusion regarding this film."
In July 2016, Toho announced that the film had been sold to 100 territories (including Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America) in 19 days after opening to foreign sales and will be released in Taiwan on August 12, the Philippines on August 24, Hong Kong and Macao on August 25, and Thailand on September 8. At the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Funimation would distribute the film for North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean for a late 2016 release as Shin Godzilla, instead of Godzilla Resurgence, at the insistence of Toho. In early September, Funimation officially announced that the film was to be given a one-week limited release in the United States and Canada from October 11–18 on 440 screens, in Japanese with English subtitles. Funimation hosted two North American premieres for the film, one premiere on October 3 in Los Angeles and the other on October 5 in New York. Due to popular demand, Funimation extended the film's North American theatrical run with encore screenings for October 22 and select theaters offering daily screenings thru October 27.
In Japan Shin Godzilla earned ￥625 million (US$6.1 million) on its opening weekend and was number one at the box office for that weekend, placing Finding Dory at second place and One Piece Film: Gold at third place, and earned 23% more than 2014's Godzilla when it opened in Japan. It was more than triple the first weekend's gross of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, the previous Toho film in the series, which in the end grossed US$12.3 million. The film remained at number one during its second weekend and was projected to finish at US$40 million domestically. The film dropped to second place during its third weekend, topped by The Secret Life of Pets, earning US$33.5 million after 17 days, topping the estimates for both 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars and 2014's Godzilla. The film reached ￥5.3 billion (US$51.63 million) a month after its release, topping the earnings for Anno's previous film Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, which earned ￥5,267,373,350.
On its sixth weekend, the film climbed back to number two, topped by Your Name, with an earning of US$3.2 million, bringing the film's total domestic gross to US$60 million from 4.1 million admissions. After exiting the top ten in late September, the film has grossed nearly US$77 million from 5.6 million admissions. Shin Godzilla became the highest grossing live-action Japanese film for 2016, and the second highest grossing film in Japan for the year. In the United States, the film grossed $1.9 million during its limited 20 day run. Outside of Japan and the United States, the film has been playing in a handful of International markets. It played in Taiwan, earning NTD $1.71 million (US$53,855) on its opening weekend and NTD $8.39 million (US$264,235) after 12 days, Australia (where it grossed $84,090), New Zealand (where it grossed $13,892) and Thailand (where it grossed $322,061).
Shin Godzilla received critical acclaim from Japanese critics but received mixed to positive reviews from Western critics. The special effects and new depiction of Godzilla were praised but the film was criticized for its long scenes and confusing dialogue between the politicians, military, and authorities, and introducing too many characters and subplots. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has a rating of 86% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's consensus reads, "Godzilla Resurgence offers a refreshingly low-fi – and altogether entertaining – return to the monster's classic creature-feature roots." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 68 out of 100 based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Japanese pop culture site RO65 called the film a "masterpiece of unprecedented filmmaking", feeling that the film retains a "strong respect for the fundamental message within Godzilla". Oricon Style praised directors Hideaki Anno's and Shinji Higuchi's realistic approach and the film's reality vs. idealism themes, calling the film a "world class" Godzilla film. Cinema Today called the film a "thrilling experience" and a "masterpiece", feeling that the film was a return to form similar to 2004's Dawn of the Dead. Kazuo Ozaki from Eiga.com praised the film as well, stating, "Hollywood, even with all its money, can’t approach this kind of perfection" while Koichi Irikura from Cinema Today called it a "birth of a masterpiece that boldly announces the revival of a Japanese Godzilla". Brian Ashcraft from Kotaku felt the film was a "letdown", though he praised the film's special effects and social reflection of Japan, he criticized the film's depiction of the human characters, stating, "I wish the movie explored the relationships between the politicians and the researchers more instead of glossing over it" and concluded that "This isn’t one of the best Godzilla films ever made, but it’s certainly not one of the worst by any stretch, either. Godzilla Resurgence is a series of compelling ideas in a so-so Godzilla movie."
Ollie Barder from Forbes was surprised at "how good" the film was, praising Anno's classic Gainax motifs, though he was not completely fond of Godzilla's new design, feeling that the "googly" eyes made Godzilla look silly but Barder did feel that the design was more "organic and menacing" than previous incarnations and praised the film's depiction of Godzilla, stating, "I really liked the way Godzilla is handled in this new movie, as it feels a lot more like the God Soldier short that both Anno and Higuchi worked on" and concluded by stating that he "really enjoyed" the film and that it had a "far more coherent plot" than 2014's Godzilla. Marcus Goh from Yahoo felt that the film was a better reimagining than 2014's Godzilla, though he criticized parts of Godzilla's design and the protagonists' plan to stop Godzilla, Goh regardless gave the film a 3.1 score out of 5 and concluded that the film "preserves the feel of Godzilla movies while updating it with modern responses."
Jay Hawkinson from Bloody Disgusting called the film a "very good Godzilla movie that teeters on greatness," however, he felt the film's drama "didn't always work" and some of the English delivery felt "canned and often corny", particularly Satomi Ishihara's character who he thought was "convincing" at times but a "hard sell in her role", but did praise the film's battle scenes, Shiro Sagisu's score, and the film's homages to the franchise, and concluded by stating that "Shin Godzilla may be a reboot sans the rubber suit we’ve grown to love but it’s unquestionably Godzilla." Elizabeth Kerr from the Hollywood Reporter felt that Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi did "the big guy justice", feeling that they "have created a Godzilla for this era" but felt that "all the telling (or reading) rather than showing reduces the story’s overall impact" but concluded by stating that "there’s an intangible quality to this Godzilla that Edwards (Emmerich doesn’t count) never quite captured, and which is always welcome". Matt Schley from Otaku USA called the film "A match made in kaiju heaven", praising Anno's directing stating, "It’s also a reminder, after years in the Evangelion reboot woods, that Anno is one of Japan’s most unique directorial voices in either animation or live-action filmmaking", though he felt the special effects weren't as impressive as 2014's Godzilla, Schley did feel that the film's CG "gets the job done, though there are a couple questionable shots" and concluded by stating that "Hideaki Anno has achieved a successful resurgence for both the Big G and himself."
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- Official website (Japanese)
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