Shin Godzilla (Shin Gojira) (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 17-Jul-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-One TV spot and a trailer for the film
Trailer-US Trailer
Featurette-Pre-Visuals & Outtakes (20:17)
Featurette-Making VFX - Visual Effects Breakdown (17:59)
Featurette-Pre-Visual Reel (28:05)
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 119:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Hideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
Studio
Distributor
Toho
Madman Entertainment
Starring Hiroki Hasegawa
Yutaka Tamenouchi
Satomi Ishihara
Ren Osugi



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Shiro Sagisu


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 3.1 L-C-R-Sub
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When a seismic disturbance occurs in Tokyo Bay the authorities are unsure what is happening and are unprepared; they are even less prepared when a massive lizard like creature comes ashore and wreaks havoc over a wide area. Prime Minister Okochi (Ren Osugi) convenes an emergency cabinet meeting, then brings in a session of experts and meets with the city government, various agencies and the military to try to work out what the creature is, how to deal with it, the legal position of using the military on Japanese soil and just which agency has responsibility for action. Nothing is decided, or indeed achieved, before the creature fortunately retreats into Tokyo Bay and disappears.

     As a consequence of the confusion and lack of a coordinated response, a special task force is created under the control of Secretary Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa) who is able to bring together a group of individuals with a wide range of ideas and skills to formulate a response for when the creature, now named Godzilla (or Gojira in Japanese characters), re-emerges. Yaguchi is also able to share information with a team from the US led by part Japanese woman Kayoko Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara), but their studies have not advanced sufficiently when the creature reappears and comes ashore; more chilling is that the creature has evolved into a huge, upright standing radiation emitting monster (the familiar Godzilla). The Japanese military, using tanks, artillery, aircraft and helicopters are unable to stop Godzilla, nor are US bombers when called in to help; even worse, his defensive and offensive weapons, including purple atomic rays emitting from his mouth, have become much more effective and deadly. However, just when it seems that Tokyo will be destroyed Godzilla pauses and goes to sleep.

     With Japan and conventional weapons seemingly powerless against Godzilla the UN, with Japanese reluctant acceptance, authorise the US to destroy Godzilla, and thus Tokyo, with a nuclear missile. The Japanese have two weeks to evacuate the city before the strike, unless Godzilla awakes earlier. With the terrible possibility of another nuclear weapon being used on Japanese soil, Yaguchi’s team must work around the clock to try to find, and deploy, an alternative means of defeating or neutralising Godzilla. The clock is ticking.

     For Shin Godzilla (Shin Gojira, the Japanese character ‘shin’ can mean god or new) Toho turned to co-director / SFX director Shinji Higuchi, who had directed the live action Attack on Titan films (2015), and co-director / writer Hideaki Anno, creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion (1997), to come up with something new, but something that is true to the idea of Godzilla. Godzilla is, of course, the Toho icon that first burst from the sea to devastate Tokyo in 1954’s Godzilla before appearing in 30 Toho sequels and two American big budget films in 1998 and 2014. The response from Higuchi and Anno was a total reboot of the series, ignoring the lore of the previous films; indeed the only things this new Godzilla takes from the earlier films is the iconic Godzilla March composed by Akira Ifukube, which is heard when Godzilla mutates into his more familiar form and over the end credits, and the fact that nuclear waste is the catalyst for the creature’s existence. In 1954 it was atom bomb testing, now it is nuclear waste on the sea bed.

     Shin Godzilla brings the action into the present day; there are echoes of the Tokoku earthquake, the tsunami which followed, the pollution caused by the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the government’s ineffective response which followed that disaster. The sequences of bureaucratic meetings achieving little are filmed like a documentary; there are small sound bites, captions on the screen with the title and name of the person speaking, a panel of named experts and even a blank screen with the caption that the footage from the meeting has been abbreviated, all of which provides a humorous background to the creature action. But, other than Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara, characters come and go in rapid succession; the film has 328 credited actors, with perhaps only the two mentioned above plus Yutaka Tamenouchi, as Cabinet Secretary and politician Hideki Akasaka, making any impact.

     However this is not a problem for Shin Godzilla, in the best tradition of the Toho Godzilla films, places the humans as subordinate to the creature action. This Godzilla is all CGI and the biggest monster yet, and perhaps the best equipped with various weapons when he goes on his path of destruction. Again, like all good Godzilla films, this film is replete with mayhem as buildings, cars, boats, trains and bridges are trashed, helicopters and aircraft destroyed in mid-air, tanks and trucks squashed and shells, rockets, missiles and bombs explode on and around the creature. These sequences look pretty good, and although they may not be up to the best Hollywood big budget CGI films, they are still exciting and, indeed, how can it be a Godzilla film without some cheesy special effects?

     Shin Godzilla is very much a traditional Godzilla film; and hurrah for that. It is funny, exciting, and Tokyo gets destroyed; what more could fans want?

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Shin Godzilla is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot using are variety of digital cameras, Shin Godzilla has flattish looking colours except for some vibrant red showing Godzilla’s internal fusion or the purple of his death ray like breath. Other detail is firm, blacks and shadow detail are solid, skin tones fine and brightness and contrast consistent.

     I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

     The white English subtitles are error free. They also subtitle the sections of English dialogue; in the case of Satomi Ishihara, who played an American but does not speak English so had to learn it phonetically, this is perhaps just as well.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Shin Godzilla was made with the unusual 3.1 audio mix and this Blu-ray is faithful to that with a Japanese DTS-HD MA 3.1 audio, with r-c-l front speakers and the sub.

     This gives an unusual feel to the film. Dialogue is clear, and the creature action, Godzilla screams, destruction, engines, rockets and the like are loud and clear from the front. The subwoofer is in constant action with Godzilla’s thumping feet, the crashing of buildings, explosions, and the music.

     The score by Shiro Sagisu was good, but fans will thrill to hear the iconic Godzilla themes by Akira Ifukube.

     I saw no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Japanese Trailers (2:00)

     One TV spot and a trailer for the film.

US Trailer (1:32)

Pre-Visuals & Outtakes (20:17)

     A large number of early virtual camera tests, sections of pre-visuals and tests with models by various effects studios which play with film music and some sound effects. There is no informational text or other information.

Making VFX - Shin Godzilla Visual Effects Breakdown (17:59)

     These are more towards the final versions of the film but also show the performance motion capture of the actor and a split screen Godzilla, a range of pre-vis shown with final sequences, and the compositing and layering of various elements. Music but no effects or informational text, although with the comparisons this breakdown is quite interesting.

Pre-Visual Reel (28:05)

     The construction of various sequences in finished film order using a combination of basic storyboards, with a read through of the dialogue (only in Japanese, there are no subs), and pre-vis sections, a number of which are also in the previous extras. Music and some effects; watch this and I guess you get Shin Godzilla in 30 minutes!!

Eastern Eye Trailers (6:07)

     Trailers for The Monkey King 2, Godzilla Final Wars, Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo and Garm Wars: The Last Druid.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Shin Godzilla has not yet been released in the US. The Region Free Japanese release, titled Godzilla: Resurgence is not English friendly. Buy local.

Summary

     Fans of Godzilla, especially Toho traditional Godzilla, should love Shin Godzilla. It has the humour, action and mayhem one expects in a Godzilla film, but Shin Godzilla takes it back to a new beginning. This is not Godzilla fighting an array of other creatures, or saving the world, but a hostile and genuine threat to humanity, spawned by the nuclear age. Shin Godzilla brings the story into the present, but remains an absolute joy and great fun.

     The video is excellent, the audio an interesting 3.1 mix. Extras are a bit repetitive, but interesting in parts.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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