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As seen at New York Toy Fair, here are high-quality images for two of NECA’s upcoming figures for their Godzilla: King of the Monsters toy line – Godzilla V2 (2019), and Rodan (2019)! The irradiated blue Godzilla comes with an attachable blast effect piece, while Rodan comes with a support rod and display base. Q3 2019 release for both figures.
Click the thumbnails to see the larger version images. Huge thanks to NECA for sending over these amazing images!
Likewise, NECA’s Godzilla (2019) and Mothra (2019) figures have been consolidated below. Both figures have a Q2 2019 release.
GODZILLA V2 (2019)
MOTHRA (2019)News // February 17, 2019
As shared in an article on Business Wire, the JAKKS Pacific’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) toy line is expected to make its full debut at New York Toy Fair. The event starts today and lasts until February 19th.
While the majority of toys have been previously revealed, price details are now available.
3.5-inch Monster Battlepacks – $9.99
There are three sets available featuring Godzilla and King Ghidorah, Godzilla and Rodan, and Godzilla and Mothra
6-inch Monster Figures – $14.99
Includes the monsters King Ghidorah (with destructible city and Argo Jet accessories) and Rodan (with destructible city and Osprey Helicopter accessories)
12-inch Godzilla Figure – $19.99
This articulated Godzilla figure stands 12 inches tall and is over 20 inches long
Godzilla Electronic Mask – $24.99
A mask that growls when the mouth is partially opened, or roars when fully opened with additional lights
24-inch Godzilla Figure – $59.99
The largest figure this line has to offer, this “giant size” Godzilla has numerous points of articulation and stands 24 inches tall with a length of over 36 inches
The line will be launching worldwide exclusively at Walmart in April 2019.News // February 16, 2019
Included below are several preview images of the box art for NECA’s upcoming Godzilla 1962 figure! The incredibly nostalgic front cover utilizes a modified Japanese poster from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), while the back and inside covers showcase even more artistic flair.
Godzilla 1962 is expected to be released within the first quarter of 2019. Click the images below to see their full resolution versions. High-resolution images courtesy of NECA.News // January 31, 2019
Jakks Pacific has revealed their, rather expansive, Godzilla King of the Monsters toy line to coincide with the upcoming movie from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. The toy line hits in April, in advance of the May release date of the movie in the United States. Items range from 6 inch figures, to giant 20 inch or 40 inch figures and even an electronic Godzilla mask. The 6 inch figures also come with a military vehicle, which are an Osprey Helicopter and an Argo Jet. The entire line will be a Walmart exclusive. More info to come.
Check out images of the line below. Click the thumbnails to see the larger version images. Huge thanks goes out to Jakks Pacific for sending over these great images!
The following toys are collection packs. Each contains a backdrop, a Godzilla figure and a figure of one of the other monsters from the film: Rodan, King Ghidorah or Mothra. Please note, though, that one of these sets contains, potentially, a large spoiler for the movie. As a result, please view the remaining toy images at your own risk.
Excited for the Jakks Pacific Godzilla King of the Monsters toy line? Have a favorite figure of them? Feel free to leave your comments below talking about the line. Also, note that due to the spoilerish nature of one of these toys, expect comments might similarly also spoil this and read at your own risk as well.News // January 10, 2019
A followup to the interview with Steven DeKnight (Pacific Rim Uprising, Daredevil, Spartacus) from March 2018, this interview covers not only Steven’s earliest Godzilla memories but he also gives a real in-depth look at creating Pacific Rim Uprising and big budget Hollywood films in general. This interview is a real must listen for aspiring film makers and those curious about the film making process.
The file is about 35MB with a length of 38 minutes.
Interview conducted November 14th, 2018 at Steven DeKnight’s office in Hollywood, California.
Special thanks to Brook Worley for securing the interview!
Original article image from Collider.Interviews // December 23, 2018
The panel for “Godzilla: Secrets of the MonsterVerse” and the graphic novel Godzilla: Aftershock at LA Comic Con in Los Angeles, California on 10/27/2018. The video runs for a little over 40 minutes.
*Notes: This footage was filmed on a Samsung Galaxy S9+. The gimbal used was doing some slight drifting out of frame so it had to be corrected during filming.
***Special thanks to Michal Shipman for his help in taking care of the audio sync issue!General // November 3, 2018
Normally whenever I do any filming for Toho Kingdom, I always have my handy audio recorder with me which I use as a backup. When I covered the Godzilla: King of the Monsters panel in Hall H at SDCC this year, I let it run during the trailer. I thought it might be cool to sync up the Hall H trailer reaction audio to the trailer so people can hear the crowd reaction-the guy next to me was really enjoying what he was seeing!
I will point out that there’s an abundance of bass in parts of the trailer. That’s actually how it was in the hall and it was LOUD.
I hope you enjoy this small, fun video which takes you into Hall H the moment the trailer made its debut!General // August 27, 2018
With San Diego Comic-Con underway, site director Chris Mirjahangir is currently attending the event and posting videos and images live! Toho Kingdom is in collaboration with Gormaru Island, who have kindly allowed Chris to share his findings on their page. Below is a compilation of his posts, and it will be updated periodically throughout the day. Check back every once in a while, or be notified instantly through Gormaru Island’s Facebook page! Note that only the monster- or Godzilla-centric posts will be featured here. Times reflect the Pacific Time Zone (PDT).
The Hall H presentation will be beginning shortly!
9:44 AM – Hall H ticket
9:58 AM – Awaiting the Hall H presentation
10:28 AM – While livestreaming is not allowed, live blogging is. Below is a recommended link (has since been updated to an English source).
11:33 AM – Confirmation of Akira Ifukube music in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
11:43 AM – Bear McCreary will be composing music for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
1:18 PM / 1:56 PM – San Diego Comic-Con 2018 exclusive poster preview, and numerous advertisements for the movie on various screens
7:19 PM – A closing message. From Toho Kingdom to the folks at Gormaru Island, thank you once again!
– End of Day 2 –General // July 21, 2018
With San Diego Comic-Con underway, site director Chris Mirjahangir is currently attending the event and posting videos and images live! Toho Kingdom is in collaboration with Gormaru Island, who have kindly allowed Chris to share his findings on their page. Below is a compilation of his posts, and it will be updated periodically throughout the day. Check back every once in a while, or be notified instantly through Gormaru Island’s Facebook page! Note that only the monster- or Godzilla-centric posts will be featured here. Times reflect the Pacific Time Zone (PDT).
10:11 AM – Brief NECA booth livestream
10:48 AM – NECA 1962 Godzilla from King Kong vs. Godzilla, and 1954 One Sheet Godzilla, a variant based off the “Godzilla: King of the Monsters!” one sheet poster from 1956
10:50 AM – Regarding NECA’s involvement with figures for 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters – “Every monster”
11:22 AM / 11:28 AM – S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla (1962) from King Kong vs. Godzilla, MFS-3 Type 3 Kiryu Mechagodzilla (2002) [Shinagawa Final Battle Ver.] from Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla Earth (2018) from Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
1:17 PM – Livestream of the Hall H line
6:16 PM – An encounter with Kong: Skull Island (2017) director Jordon Vogt-Roberts: “This guy says hi.”
– End of Day 1 –General // July 20, 2018
From the blockbuster 2016 movie that returned the classic Godzilla franchise to its roots! This version of the most famous kaiju in the world is based on Godzilla’s “Atomic Blast” attack in the movie. The figure measures 6″ tall and 12″ long from head to tail. It features Atomic Blast effects that attach to both mouth and tail, all new paint deco, new head sculpt, and over 30 points of articulation, including an articulated tail!
The figure is expected to see a release later this year and can be pre-ordered through online outlets such as BigBadToyStore: https://www.bigbadtoystore.com/Product/VariationDetails/76366General // June 27, 2018
In 1997, the domain GODZILLA.COM first launched to promote the very first American adaptation of the king of the monsters, GODZILLA (1998). In the months that followed, the site regularly saw updates, whether in the form of stills from the movie, audio clips of Godzilla’s roar, or even personalized videos and interviews featuring the cast and crew.
While the domain has since seen many changes over the years, several videos from the old website still remain, which are available for download below. As they were originally uploaded in .VIV format, the audio and especially video quality are less than stellar compared to modern media. Still, hopefully you will enjoy this blast from the past.
A very special thanks to the folks at Gormaru Island for sending in these converted clips!
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Fan Suit Compilation
– Fans show off custom suits for the Toho monsters Gigan and Mothra Larva.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Dean Devlin Message
– Producer Dean Devlin shares a message with the fans about what to expect from the new Godzilla. Warning, the audio has been adjusted but may still be loud!
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: What’s Your Favorite GODZILLA Movie?
– Fans name their favorite Godzilla movies.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Why Do You Love GODZILLA?
– A number of fans describe what they enjoy the most about Godzilla.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Roland Emmerich Interview
– A 2 minute interview with director Roland Emmerich, who describes his thought process behind the creation of the 1998 American Godzilla and his experience with Toho.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Dean Devlin Dispels Rumors
– Producer Dean Devlin puts an end to rumors of Godzilla being a “she” and denies Godzilla trekking across America, rumors that originated from a 1997 article published by Newsweek.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Dean Devlin Welcome
– Producer Dean Devlin welcomes fans to the new-and-improved “Phase III” version of GODZILLA.COM.
GODZILLA (1998) Website Video: Staff Welcome
– Harry Shearer, Matthew Broderick, Arabella Field, Hank Azaria, Maria Pitillo, and producer Dean Devlin welcome visitors to GODZILLA.COM.General // May 20, 2018
Ever since Godzilla was released in 1954, the influence it has had on the SFx/Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre has been massive. With the recent resurgence in giant monster films, due in large part to the success of and inspiration from (in the case of 2016’s Shin Godzilla) Godzilla 2014, I decided to cover the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rimtitled “Pacific Rim Uprising”. The original film was Guillermo Del Toro’s homage to not only Godzilla but among other things, the Tokusatusu genre. Because of this, I felt that the film deserved a little bit of coverage on the site.
Pacific Rim Uprising takes the world from the first film and expands on it and it’s quite entertaining. It’s a huge task for DeKnight to be basically given this world by Del Toro and be told “make it yours” and for the most part, he does a great job. The writing was done in a very short amount of time and I’d love to see DeKnight come back and make part 3 with more writing time allowed. The film runs at a brisk pace and visually it’s awesome. There are a few parts of the film that I felt needed tweaking and I do wish the end battle was a little more full but those are just tiny nitpicks to a very entertaining movie. Given the fact that this article goes up before the film’s release, I feel that going into the film with the freshest mind possible is the way to go. I feel confident in saying that many will leave the film feeling quite satisfied!
These exclusive interviews with Steven DeKnight, Burn Gorman, and Cailee Spaeny which are presented here were recorded on Monday, March 5th at the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles, California. Be warned, slight spoilers. I’ve also included photos from the press screening on March 1st along with shots of the press area with suits from the movie and the common area where in between interviews, members of the press can work on their articles while grabbing a bite to eat.
Interview: Steven S. DeKnight
The file is about 9MB with a length of 10 minutes. Click to download.
Interview: Burn Gorman
The file is about 8MB with a length of 9 minutes. Click to download.
Interview: Cailee Spaeny
The file is 9MB with a length of almost 10 minutes. Click to download.
***I had to do a little bit of EQ work on the interviews and in the interview with Steven DeKnight, there’s some air conditioner noise going on. It’s noticeable but doesn’t detract. The figure pictured in each interviewee’s photo is of the kaiju Raijin, which can be purchased here.***
These photos are from the March 1st press screening.
Additionally, the photos below are from the March 5th junket in Los Angeles, California.General // March 20, 2018
Hey everyone! For many of you, summer is now at its end, and to help soften this rather depressing blow, we here at Toho Kingdom figured we’d close out the season with the biggest contest the site has ever held! Check out the prizes below!
The prizes, which are valued at over $400, are:
- Kong: Skull Island Blu-Ray SIGNED by Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts
- The Art of Kong: Skull Island book
- Kong: Skull Island – The Official Movie Novelization book by Tim Lebbon
- Kong: Skull Island poster by Yuji Kaida
- Shin Godzilla Blu-Ray/DVD combo
- Extremely limited edition Matt Frank Shin Godzilla poster
- NECA Loot Crate Reactor Glow Godzilla figure (pictures supplied below courtesy of NECA)
- NECA 2001 Atomic Blast Godzilla figure
- S.H.MonsterArts Super Mechagodzilla figure
- S.H.MonsterArts Destoroyah Special Color Version figure
Quite the prize bundle for one lucky winner, isn’t it? Like the other contests on the site, to enter all you have to do is send an email with your name and address to: [the contest is now over]
The contest ends September 12th. Enter today!
Thanks goes to Warner Bros., Titan Books, Funimation, NECA, Bluefin Distribution and Tamashii Nations for the many gracious prizes offered in this contest.
ONE entry per person only. Due to shipping this contest is only for North America entrants. Winner will be randomly selected using an automated process by e-mails received. Date of entry has no bearing on probability of winning. No requests for bundles as winners will be chosen at random. The winner will be announced by September 19th, 2017. Contest ends September 12th, 2017. Toho Kingdom staff (forum and main site) are not eligible to compete. The site is not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail when prizes are sent out. Toho Kingdom reserves the right to change these rules at any time.General // August 29, 2017
We’re back with another exclusive look at the prototype of the Special Color Version of the Battra adult and larva set. This is the first time that both versions of Battra have been packaged together, and now there’s a beam accessory included for the larva form, which was absent from the larva’s original release.
For this look, Michal Shipman (Naruto65) did the photos of the prototypes for Toho Kingdom. Check out his own exclusive look at the set in the gallery and bonus video provided.
The pre-order window for this release closes next month on July 20th. It is available for pre-order here: http://us.p-bandai.asia/tamashiiwebshop/item-1000000818/News // June 12, 2017
On May 15th, 2017, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Bandai Tamashii Nations America’s office in Los Angeles, California to check out and take exclusive photos of the Special Color version Mothra set (adult and larva), which is being sold exclusively on the Tamashii Webshop.
While it’s the same as the previous release, the coloring on Mothra’s “fur” has been darkened. It’s almost like a “nighttime” version of the previous release and it looks really cool. All the articulation is the same as well. Mothra comes with a beam effect that when you put it on, goes over her antennae when you put them on. I didn’t put them on for these photos, but you can see what they look like in the promotional shots. They do look pretty cool with the mix of yellow with a white center.
The larva form also has the same articulation as the previous release, but the material used is a little different. It’s smoother this time around and has a nice glossy sheen to emulate the part of the film when the larva first hatched from it’s egg. The paint is a little lighter this time around in some areas but it still looks pretty nice.
The pre-order window for this release is closing fast, so act now! Supplied below is a link to pre-order the set, as well as some exclusive photos of the two figures and the beam effect accessories.News // May 16, 2017
Naturally when a film of this type hits theaters, novelizations and “Making of” books follow suit and for fans of the films, they are a welcome addition to the experience as they “fill in the gaps” so to speak. Here are two quick reviews for books centered around Kong: Skull Island (2017).
The Art of Kong: Skull Island
The Art of and Making of Kong: Skull Island is covers the film from pre-production to the finished product and even includes a few deleted scenes (which is something that the “Art of Destruction” book for 2014’s “Godzilla” sorely needed), which are cool to see. There’s a lot of really cool concept art with all the designs of Kong, the other creatures and info on the film from those involved, and it’s a real journey for the reader.
Something interesting that I noticed is that there are quite a few pages spent on the IWI natives yet their screentime in the film is very limited in the final product. This section gives you some extra background and it helps fill in the gaps while watching the film. There’s such a huge level of passion not only from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, but from producer Thomas Tull who sums it all up the best with his quote: “Godzilla, King Kong, these aren’t pieces of business for me. This is a childhood dream come true. I’m thrilled to be doing it”.
If you’re a Kong fan or a fan of the the “Making Of” books, this one is a must own.
Kong: Skull Island – The Official Movie Novelization
Next up is the novelization of the film. I’m not going to get into too much here (because it’s almost 400 pages and it’s really something you should read for yourself), but I will say that there’s a lot more to the story than what’s in the film which is in this book. It being a book, there’s more room to flesh out each character and it’s more descriptive and it really draws you in.
I do have my nitpicks such as the author, in the post credits sequence, refers to Mothra as a dragonfly. Also, since the author, Tim Lebbon, is British, some of the descriptive words he chooses might not make much sense to someone outside of the region right away and it’ll probably take you a second to figure it out.
Nitpicks aside, it’s a great read and well worth checking out!General // April 24, 2017
Funimation Films was gracious enough to allow Toho Kingdom to attend some of the US premieres for Godzilla Resurgence (2016), released as Shin Godzilla in the United States. This also gave the site’s staff an opportunity to send along some fans as well, with a chance for them to weigh in on the latest Godzilla movie. This includes the for the premieres in both Los Angeles and New York.
Below are those fan reactions, both for the film and also the premieres themselves. Right now that includes reflections from Aaron Torres, Evan Baker, Matthew Webber and Tim Schiefer. Since these reactions are quite long, quick access links are found below. Expect more content to be added very soon.
I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I could be a part of something as special as when I attended this premiere. Since a very young age, I have been a fan of Godzilla. It all started one Christmas when I received a gift from my late Grandmother. It was a walking, roaring dinosaur. It wasn’t an officially licensed Godzilla product however it did have those signature dorsal plates. It could have been a cheap knock-off for all I care but I was a kid. It was the coolest toy I had and I played with it until it started to fall apart. My parents were aware of The King of the Monsters as they grew up during the glory days of the Showa era. They named the toy dinosaur the closest thing it looked like to them, Godzilla. And that is where it really began. Everyone in my family saw me with that toy, it was Godzilla. Then one day I was channel surfing on my parent’s television set and caught a glimpse of Godzilla in action. It wasn’t the most flattering of moments, watching Godzilla getting overwhelmed by two silk spewing caterpillars and tumbling into the ocean. I was a little confused as to how these bugs were able to defeat this awesome fire breathing dinosaur but despite my disappointment, I wanted to see more. So I continued to watch out for Godzilla movie marathons on the sci-fi channel and the rest is history. Fast forward twenty plus years later and here I was being told of a potential opportunity of a lifetime by my good friend Chris Mirjahangir. When it was brought to my attention that I may possibly do coverage for Toho Kingdom, a website I visit frequently for years on the New York premiere for Shin Godzilla, I jumped at the opportunity.
This wasn’t my first time seeing Godzilla in theaters, I did see Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) when it released here sixteen years ago along with Legendary’s Godzilla two years ago. I appreciated Legendary’s attempt to revive the franchise from it’s painful hiatus. It managed to reintroduce Godzilla to an American audience while doing the King of the Monsters justice after the 1998 travesty, however something about it left me with a feeling of emptiness. Either it was the early death of human character I was emotionally investing in or the lack of screen time for Godzilla. I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that my craving was not satisfied like I was hoping for. After all it had only been a decade since the last Toho Godzilla movie. It placed me back in the mindset that I’m sure many hardcore fans share. The mindset that Godzilla isn’t truly Godzilla unless it comes from the original creators themselves, Toho.
I was cautiously optimistic when the rumors started swirling around the internet that Toho would be bringing the Big G back to the big screen. How long would it take? How would the special effects top Legendary’s? What would Godzilla look like? Is it a reboot? And will it come to America? If it did, how would the American audience receive it in comparison to Godzilla 2014? Some of these questions wouldn’t be answered until the release of the first poster which included the haunting face of the new Shin Godzilla. My initial reaction was that of shock and awe. I am a firm believer that Godzilla should look as menacing as possible, especially if he was to be portrayed as a nuclear threat to humanity rather than a hero. As the months leading up to it’s Japanese release the trailers started to roll out and I fell in love instantly with the new look for Godzilla. I was like my very own Shin Godzilla PR machine as I shared the pictures with family and friends who probably couldn’t care less, however that didn’t matter because it was the return to form for a icon that I had been waiting for.
It wasn’t long after the Japanese release that Funimation stepped up to the plate and secured the rights to release the film in the States. I figured they would treat it as they did the Attack on Titans movie and make it a limited showing so once tickets were available I made sure to order them immediately. A ticket for myself as well as my fiance, while not a huge fan she can definitely get into the movies and appreciate their entertainment value, bless her. Soon after I ordered my ticket I was asked by my good friend Chris Mirjahangir if I would be interested in attending the premiere in New York City. Like any fan would, I jumped at the opportunity to not only attend it, but to write this article for Toho Kingdom.
After exchanging emails with Alex and Ian from Funimation and confirming my RSVP, the tickets were sent to me and I was good to go. I was able to bring my good friend, Danny Chen along for the ride which was a cool bonus. The day started off like any other Wednesday, I woke up and took care of my dog before heading to Times Square. With time to spare I stopped by Midtown Comics mostly to check on which S.H. MonsterArts figures(my latest obsession) they had in stock as I waited for Danny to arrive. Once he arrived I made my way to the AMC Empire 25 theater to meet him there. I got to the theater at exactly 5:20 p.m. to see three lines already forming. I wasn’t aware that they were for separate movies until I took a closer look. Luckily the Shin Godzilla line had just started forming and wasn’t more than maybe twelve people long. As time passed, my anticipation grew more intense and I started to get restless, I couldn’t simply wait to see this movie anymore. While waiting on line I managed to meet fellow Youtube star, Heisenberg and had a brief but fun conversation about the upcoming movie. While waiting Chris suggested that I say hello to his friends who were ahead in line, and so I did and got to meet Tim, Greg, and Scrooge. They were all very friendly and outgoing and we all connected very well. I managed to stick to them and we dubbed ourselves, “The Chris Group.” Good call Chris, these guys are awesome!
About the time 6:30 p.m. arrived, the doors opened up to us and we all piled into the theater to be greeted by the Funimation booth. There were tickets, posters, and t-shirts being passed out once your ticket was confirmed. There was even a voucher for a free popcorn and drink which was an excellent bonus, thank you Funimation! Once we grabbed our swag we made our way up to the fourth floor, stopping at the third floor first to raid the concession stand. I don’t usually splurge because let’s face it, their prices are ridiculous however if I am really looking to a certain movie then I’m more inclined to buy more food. This was one of those cases, so I bought what I felt would be enough to hold me until the after-party.
Upon arriving at the fourth floor, the Shin Godzilla theater had its own venue complete with the red carpet treatment, background and even someone dressed in one of those hilarious Godzilla 2014 Halloween costumes to pose for photos. It wasn’t accurate by any stretch of the imagination but it was a gesture most if not all of us appreciated. I myself could not wait to get a couple of photos with Godzilla. Once the pictures were taken, Danny and I made our way inside and found a decent number of seat options but in the end we decided to stick with “The Chris Group”. It is always more fun when you can react to a movie as a group. It wasn’t long until someone from Funimation got on the microphone and presented to us the movie we were anxiously awaiting for. I couldn’t contain my excitement and did yell a loud “Thank You” to them for bringing Shin Godzilla to the US and once the speech was over, the movie began. As soon as the Toho logo appeared on the screen, everyone in the theater started to cheer and so Shin Godzilla began.
Review: I’m in no way shape or form an experienced journalistic reviewer so please bear with me as I share what I liked and didn’t like about the movie. I thought the movie started out strong and moved at a good pace in the beginning. It doesn’t take long before the early form of Shin Godzilla makes an appearance. The banter between the Japanese government as they tried to figure out what to do during the arising crisis that was entertaining and drew some laughs from the audience. This was obviously the much talked about satire about the Japanese government’s failures in response to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. It certainly felt that the filmmakers were taking potshots at their own government. While it may have seemed comical to most of us, I’m sure it resonated within the hearts of its Japanese audience. Following the scenes of devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami back in 2011, you can definitely see the similarities with the destruction that Shin Godzilla causes throughout the movie. The theme focused mainly on how the Japanese government has to react and adapt to the nuclear threat that Godzilla posed. Their failures to take action at the appropriate time causes the problem to escalate at an alarming rate which in effect, forces the United Nation’s hand. The events that unfold as Godzilla continues to be a harbinger of death and destruction is exciting. I do agree with many that the meetings between government officials dragged on but the camera angles used during these events were keeping me engaged and glued to the screen as the characters figured out a way to stop this beast when the use of conventional weapons have failed. The cinematography by Kosuke Yamada was the best I’ve ever seen used in a Godzilla movie before. The action scenes where the self-defense force were giving Godzilla everything they could had me on the edge of my seat. The close-ups of the tanks and attack helicopters were great and I hope to see it in future Godzilla movies going forward. Godzilla movies have never really been known for deep character development outside of a few exceptions. Shin Godzilla does have a good cast that brings it’s characters to life however only a handful stood out to me. Hiroki Hasegawa played Rando Yaguchi, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary stood out to me the most, being that he was the main human character who had the most development. Being the one who gathered a team together to piece together the puzzle of Godzilla’s genetic structure, he could be compared to Doctor Serizawa in some ways. Satomi Ishihara played Kayoko Ann Patterson, the special envoy of the US president came off as a bit too nonchalant as to what was going on. While her use of English wasn’t as bad as I heard I also didn’t find her convincing enough in the role she was given. I do have to give her props though for trying her best, and I did enjoy her presence in the film. It was also great to see Akira Emoto who played Akira Yuki from Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) in a Godzilla movie again, as he is one of my favorite actors from Japan.
The sound in the movie was a mix of old and new. Many sound effects used throughout the film were taken from the classic movies. It was great to hear that classic atomic breath sound effect being put to use here with Shin Godzilla’s deadly new purple radioactive cloud. The evolution of Godzilla’s roars used throughout the film which I’ll get to later was a nice touch. I did feel that using the classic sound effects for the explosions and artillery made the weapons feel less impactful than I would have liked. The explosions just didn’t have the right boom and bass that I was looking for to match how they looked on the screen. Shiro Sagisu’s score was one of my favorite aspects of this film, while I felt the main theme Persecution of the Masses should have been used more than once in the film, but the score held up throughout. It was chilling and daunting, very gothic and unlike anything I’ve heard in a Godzilla movie before. It certainly matched the tone of the film and did not disappoint, I hope more Godzilla movies in the future follow suit if they choose to continue this series. The use of the classic Akira Ifukube tracks through the movie were appropriately placed and felt amazing to hear again as Godzilla resurfaced and started his trek through Japan.
Now Shin Godzilla himself is unlike any other that have preceded him, it is a complete re-imagining of the nuclear beast. There were plenty of liberties and changes with this Godzilla from his evolution through the early half of the film to the way he uses his atomic breath. While his first appearance in the film as “Eelzilla” drew in a few chuckles from the audience, I was extremely excited to see this form in action. It did not disappoint and had more screen time than I originally thought it would. It’s eyes while big and a tad bit silly, I still found this form of Godzilla to be creepy and disturbing as he pushed himself through Japan with wreck less abandon. Even better was when he started to transform and grew a deeper red and stood up on his hind legs, the classic 1954 roar has never sounded better and was worked in perfectly. I was hoping before the film was released that Shin Godzilla would have a much deeper, menacing roar to match his look and I still feel that way. The use of the Showa roar through most of the film was fine though, and at the very end Godzilla uses the deeper 1984 roar which made me happy. The use of CGI for Godzilla was an interesting choice and fans will certainly either dislike it in favor of a suit or fans will embrace it. The special effects and CGI throughout the film looked impressive especially on Shin Godzilla, the transformation sequence wasn’t as convincing and definitely could have used more work. Many fans have complained about the final form of Godzilla, mentioning how they feel that it strays too far from his roots. I couldn’t disagree with them more. If the changes made to this Godzilla “harm” his character, then exactly how is Godzilla doing the Ali Shuffle, jumping up and dancing, or flying using his breath not harming his character? This is a new Godzilla, one that looks how a creature mutated and warped by nuclear radiation should. I’ve always wanted a creepy and menacing Godzilla and while GMK came close, this one really fired on all cylinders. Shin Godzilla just looks like he’s in pain and agony and wants to make everyone in his path feel the same way. I did feel that they should had Godzilla react and move more during the military attack scenes rather than remain stiff however it plays off the idea that nothing is affecting him. I did find the small arms to be weird at first, they grew on me once I realized that Godzilla really has no use for them in this film. The length of his tail while off-putting at first, looked great in the movie despite its massive length.
Overall I really enjoyed the themes and symbolism used in this film. I felt that Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi set out what they intended to do by giving us a fresh take on Godzilla while keeping with the original concept behind the King of the Monsters being a nuclear threat rather than a hero for humankind. The people who are going to get the most from this film are the Godzilla fans who loved the original Godzilla (1954) and The Return of Godzilla (1984) as it has the most in common with those films than any other Godzilla film in the franchise. And while I did feel the ending of how Godzilla was defeated seemed a bit rushed and anti-climatic, the ending had us all clapping for Japan’s triumph not just over Godzilla, but the pressure of the USA’s threat of another nuclear bomb. I feel the movie definitely represents Japan as the underdog, especially when compared to the rest of the world and you can’t help but root for them to succeed in saving their country before history repeats itself. It was definitely a feel-good ending that toyed with the idea that while Godzilla may have been defeated, it was probably only a temporary victory for now. Yet with the restructuring of the Japanese government perhaps next time the solution to their problems will come sooner rather than later. The movie did leave me with some lingering questions. What became of Goro Maki? And what were those humanoid creatures growing from Godzilla’s tail at the end? Despite these questions I was satisfied and very happy with how it turned out. It is a true Godzilla movie through and through so don’t expect a Godzilla versus style movie or you’ll disappoint yourself.
Once the premiere was over I was interviewed by Nicholas from G-Fan magazine and Chris Oglio from Sci-Fi Japan which was fantastic. Afterwards we made our way to the Hilton hotel next door for the after-party. Funimation was kind enough to give us two vouchers each for a free drink was the icing on the cake. They know how to treat their fans right! I got to meet Paul from the Funimation staff and talked with him about what we thought of the movie. I couldn’t stop thanking him and Funimation for bringing this movie to the US so soon. During the after-party I got to meet some more awesome people and talked all things Godzilla. It felt great to be a part of this experience and it is one that I will never forget, I only wished it could have lasted longer. Moments like these don’t come very often and I am blessed to have been a part of it thanks to Chris Mirjahangir, Funimation, and of course Toho Kingdom.
A different Godzilla film in both good and bad ways:
When Toho Studios, the owner of the Godzilla series, released Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995) it announced that it would put the series on hiatus for about 10 years. This was due to clearing the way for the American Godzilla movie in production by Tristar. However, after the disaster of GODZILLA (1998), Toho reversed course and began production of a new wave of Godzilla movies a year later. The Millennium series would air from 1999 to 2004 and overall though, would contribute to the malaise that would affect the Godzilla series on both sides of the Pacific, particularly in its own home country of Japan. Even before the release of the financially disastrous Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Toho had already announced plans to retire the series for at least ten years.
It would not be until the release of Godzilla(2014), on the 60th anniversary of the series as a whole that Toho would decide to begin production of another Godzilla movie, particularly after how surprisingly well Godzilla (2014) did. In order to up the ante particularly after Godzilla (2014) showed the monster with Hollywood special effects, Toho would attempt to do the same with exceptionally heavy use of CGI. To direct the movie, Toho Studios approached Hideki Anno, of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame, and Shinji Higuchi, who had directed several big Japanese SFX films in the past for the positions of co-writers and director with Anno handling the human scenes and Higuchi handling the special effects scenes. The movie would premiere on July 29th, 2016 and become one of the most financially successful Godzilla movies of all time as well as one of the most well received in a long time amongst its home market. Shortly afterwards at San Diego Comic-Con, Funimation Pictures announced that they had secured the license for Shin Godzilla and that the film would have a limited theatrical engagement from Oct 11-19. Before that, the film would have its American premieres on Oct. 3rd in Los Angeles and October 5th in New York.
For the opening of the movie in LA, Funimation would screen Shin Godzilla at LA regal cinemas with doors opening at 6:30pm and the movie starting at 8:00pm. Those that attended the screening would get a poster of the movie along with vouchers for free popcorn and drink and for the first 150 people, Funimation would hand out T-shirts of the movie. Amongst those guests were people that I had the honor of working with and knowing for the last six years as well as several guests from Hollywood that worked on entertainment properties that were in the public eye. As the audience headed to Theater 8 on the fourth floor, the theater set aside a small section where Funimation laid out the red carpet where cameras and a person dressed up in a Godzilla costume from the 2014 movie would welcome the guests.
As the final minutes ticked close to the start of the movie, most of the middle and upper levels were filled while a few sat in the lower levels of the theater. After a final few words from Funimation representatives, the film got underway.
While the original Godzilla dealt with the issue of nuclear weapons and the legacy of devastation that Japan endured in World War II, Shin Godzilla deals with the legacy of Fukushima. Even though it has been several years, those memories remain fresh in the minds of everyone whether they lived through that hell or witnessed it on news networks all over the world. This is particularly noticeable when the monster first attacks and the manner in which it attacks and the destruction he leaves behind can definitely bring to mind the images of the tsunami that devastated Japan. Other reminders of the earthquake and tsunami are the scenes of the government, particularly in clothes and suits that draw a direct comparison to how the Japanese government performed in the aftermath of 3/11.
For the musical score, it felt a mismatch of music with Akira Ifukube’s clashing with that of the Evangelion composer. It feels like the producers jammed the music into there in a way that it feels jarring to the story itself. There are a few original pieces in between which do well in conveying the emotions of the scene that they plain but they are rare.
The battle scenes were good although the first major fight scene with Godzilla was far more impressive than the second one. While some segments of the special effects for Godzilla himself were good, others though were almost straight out of a Syfy TV movie. I sometimes wondered about the time and money invested on the special effects for the movie and the balance needed in comparison to other areas, particularly in the case of the number of actors, which advertisements for the movie stressed in the run up to the movie’s release in Japan.
As for Godzilla’s overall performance, it was definitely an interesting portrayal although not without its weaknesses. For the first two forms, there is not much that to discuss although they did miss a big opportunity with the blood spilling out from Godzilla’s gills during his first form. While the new atomic breath was an interesting change that could be useful in any future films, the energy beam that Godzilla uses from either his mouth or his dorsal fins was a bit off putting. In addition, the fact that Godzilla is continuously leaking radiation from his body, particularly when he uses his long-range atomic weapons is also potentially a new additional that can prove useful in future films. Finally, the fact that Godzilla often returns to the ocean or slows to a halt when he uses up his atomic energy is at odds with the consensus that when Godzilla emerges and attacks, it is an inevitable avalanche or tidal wave and that the human foes that face him have very little chance to catch their breath.
Throughout the movie, I felt at times that I was watching a propaganda movie by the government. While the government does play a role in most Godzilla movies, they often operated in the background or at times acted incompetently, leaving the civilians and scientists who operated some distance away from the corridors of power to save the day. The satire of the government and bureaucracy was a bit off putting at times although it did prove enlightening in other instances. Also what it along with the dialogue overall implies is enough to worry me considering what is going on in present day Japan and that it is at odds with the overall legacy of the Godzilla films, particularly the ones that operate in a serious tone. For in attempting to discuss Japan’s international relations and how to handle the crisis with Godzilla as well as the world response the movie often one-step forward, followed by multiple steps backward. I am all for conference scenes as I have learned major conference scenes can often make history but this was way too much even for me. On a dark hilarious note, the situation the government has to deal with sometimes feels like the Japan version of Operation Rolling Thunder (an air operation waged by the United States during the Vietnam War) with all of the restraints that they had to operate under when combating Godzilla.
I was definitely impressed with all of the military hardware present for this film although I sometimes wonder if it is worth it for obtaining all that access, as undoubtedly the studios had to make compromises to secure the equipment and personnel. I was also impressed with the planning for the attacks and the set-piece style of the military engagements against Godzilla.
I cringed at Satomi Ishihara’s character of Kyoko Ann Paterson when she spoke in English particularly in the beginning. The fact that she supposed to be a Japanese American also added to this annoyance when she spoke in English. However, her personality was also a large grating factor to me as well and it doesn’t help that it reminded me of a similar incident in a Japanese anime show many years ago where they developed a very beautiful character who is exceptionally arrogant and who the Japanese director thought that Westerners would like. In reality, it turned out quite the opposite. Most of the other actors do fine for their roles although there isn’t much chance for exposition and elaboration on the characters due to the large cast and the nature of the film. Honestly, I think it would have been good to show the cost of obtaining such a high-level position. Of the main leads, Yutaka Takenouchi as the aide to the Prime Minster was the one that I liked the most out of the leads as I can imagine having to deal with a crisis that the movie portrayed can leave anyone in an infinitely dour mood. Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi also does all right as well with one standout scene being where he witnesses Godzilla’s nighttime attack on Tokyo and the aftermath. However, in later scenes he acts in a manner that adds to the concerns about what the film is trying to represent in several scenes. There were also performances amongst the secondary cast that were notable although unfortunately they don’t have much chance to make an impact in the overall story.
I wondered at times whether I was watching an Evangelion movie or a Godzilla due to three factors. The musical score was one of them as the same composer who worked on Evangelion scored Shin Godzilla and in fact copied the scores from Evangelion. Furthermore, the conference scenes, particularly where the human characters discuss strategy felt like they came straight from Evangelion. This came into stark focus when the Japanese government was planning new means to dealing with Godzilla in the lead up to the final battle and that they would have two weeks. While they were working under pressure, it did not feel as heavily intense as it was as in other movies. It would have been nice to have Godzilla inadvertently continue to cause damage or even show changes within Godzilla’s body that are noticeable to cameras and people observing him on the outside. Finally, the capabilities of Godzilla this time around, mainly shape shifting and the ability to fire thin energy beams from his spines reminded me of the Angels, the nominal antagonists in Evangelion. I know that Godzilla was supposed to be a creature unlike any other but still this was a bit too much. Instead, couldn’t they use weapons and ideas similar to what Godzilla used in the Heisei series?
All I can say that it is up to each individual to decide whether they want to watch and be prepared to have varied opinions on this. I know I did with several others that emerged from the theater. Some loved it while others did not like it and others had similar concerns to mine.
Looking at the financial results of the film and the varying opinions, I would have to say that Shin Godzilla is a controversial success but still a success. Hopefully this style of Godzilla film will only be a one shot affair and that particularly Anno may stay away from Godzilla. Now let hope that the animated version will succeed and then of course depending on how things go in the next few years it will be America’s turn again. Already, there are somethings that Legendary Pictures can do with Godzilla better than the main Japanese creators can do in the first place.
The Shin Godzilla New York Premiere was held in Times Square at the AMC Empire 25 on October 5, 2016. New York is one of the most popular and dense cities around in the world known for finance, media, art, fashion, and full of international culture. It is a perfect city to host Shin Godzilla.
While waiting for the premiere to start, I met up with my fellow friend who helps me with my GForever site. We took the opportunity to check out the two remaining local Japanese Collectible stores, ImageAnime and Toytokyo. There we splurged on some Shin Godzilla merchandise and Hazawa Gumi Figures!
As we arrived to the theater, no poster for the movie was in sight. There was just a small sign with the movie title, Shin Godzilla written in plain text. This movie was paired up with Birth of a Nation and no one was in line as of 4pm EST. It is clear that this was not a big red carpet event and casual clothing with Godzilla Themed T-Shirts were the appropriate attire. We then met up with another group of G-Fans and grabbed some pizza before heading back to the AMC theater.
As we got closer to the arrival time of 6:30pm, a line has formed. There we met other familiar G-Fans from G-FEST and SciFi Japan. About an hour into the wait, we start to see some Funimation staff wearing Shin Godzilla badges or a red Shin Godzilla T-Shirt. A red haired female photographer loved my Godzilla T-Shirt and kept took several photos of me.
As the lines began to move, the AMC staff didn’t want their doors to be blocked and asked people to wait outside. Once we reached the Funimation table, we were given a red VIP ticket, a red voucher for popcorn and drinks, a red T-shirt, and an 11 x 17 poster. It is really nice of Funimation to make this a special event.
As we took the escalator up to the fourth floor and walked towards theater 13, a mini red carpet display was in sight with an energetic guy in a blow up Legendary Godzilla costume. The crowds had a lot of fun taking photos with Godzilla. The child actors Caleb McLaughlin and Finn Wolfhard from the Netflix series Stranger Things were amongst the crowd and entered to see the movie. Most of the audience were film critics, press, and journalists as this was not open to the public until 7:45pm to fill remaining seats.
Unlike what most theaters showing this movie during its 1 week showings, this theater was a true full scale theater. Funimation staff walked across the stage and introduced the movie. It was unfortunate that there were no special guests from Toho. The lights went out and the show began at 8pm.
Shin Godzilla Movie Review (Contains spoilers)
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, be warned that it’s quite different. I applaud Toho for taking the risk on allowing so many changes and I do want to say that the acting is great, the CGI is mostly superb, and it is great to hear familiar Akira Ifukube ques again from classic Godzilla films.
The movie is mainly a satire film about the Japanese government and the many formal steps before action can be taken. It shows how troublesome and comedic it is as well as being pressured by the US. It shows the audience where Japan stands in the world and promotes the need to build a stronger and independent army for Japan. The film also celebrates different people even countries such as France working together towards a single goal, stopping Godzilla avoiding a third nuclear bomb.
Being a serious solo movie in a real life scenario situation, this one nails it. The imagery of destruction in this movies were heavily influenced by the tsunamis and the government’s response to the reactor meltdowns in Fukushima. There were no super weapons. Instead our human characters were looking for a way to freeze Godzilla’s blood by injecting chemicals and by knocking him down with train bombs which was quite clever. It was all from humanity’s fight to save their country using their minds and determination. I have to give credit to Anno and Higuchi keeping this as close to reality.
While there is lots of dialogue in this movie, it is quite intense and fast paced throughout. For non-native Japanese speakers, you will need to keep up with the subtitles which does a good job filling up the black margins of the screen. I can see some folks might get bored if they aren’t able to catch up with the subtitles.
Godzilla receives several new looks, new powers, his origin changes slightly, and this time, he is completely CGI. As a diehard G-Fan who loves the style of suitmation, it saddens me to see this tradition being replaced by CGI. However the CGI in this movie is quite good and does replicate the style of man in suit for the most part. There were some scenes where the CGI looked like it was from a videogame or some jerky movements, but scenes like Godzilla’s face appearing from the black smoke after being bombarded by missiles was amazing.
The early forms of Godzilla, however, looked too silly with the googly eyes. The first form was never shown on the screen that I can recall. I did not understand why the second form was spewing blood like fluids from the gills. It could have had potential if the blood was for the monster to absorb other lifeforms to evolve but was never explained. The third form didn’t have much screentime after evolving but didn’t need to. The fourth form of Godzilla is what we see in the posters and advertisements. It’s the most gruesome design yet with sharp crooked teeth, lava like flesh, and an extra-long tail with a mutilated tip. I was hoping that Shin Goji would evolve one more time to a more normal looking Godzilla similar to the one seen in the Evagelion crossover art but unfortunately he was stopped before the fifth form which seemed to hint that Godzilla could fly and propagate. The very last scene is quite interesting with a zoomup of the humanoid skeletons coming out of the tail which I feel might be the offspring.
Although I love hearing Ifukube’s themes, it’s odd to hear stock music, the roars, and sound effects from the ’50 – 70s used. If they had updated the scores, an updated roar, it would have added more to the film but I’m guessing the music and sound department suffered due to the budget.
The new score especially “Persecution of the Masses” by Shiro Sano sends chills down my back and fits this Godzilla. The other intense scores during the meetings and army attacks seemed overuse though. Again most likely due to the budget.
What I didn’t like:
Shin Goji didn’t have much of a personality, soul, or intelligence. Shin Goji just walks ashore but doesn’t seem to have a goal or does much. The only movement he made was retaliate with his rays when getting bombed. Once pinned down, he doesn’t seem to struggle to get away. In The Return of Godzilla (1984), his goal was to feed on nuclear reactors. He picked up a train cause he was curious, he got pissed at the tanks firing at him and clears them with his fire breath. When the Super-X attacks, he gets angry and advances towards the machine. I feel a lot of the personality is lost due to the face and eye design where he doesn’t blink as he doesn’t have full eyelids. It seems he has a nictitating membrane similar to a frog to protect his eyes when getting bombed in the face or when he shoots out his nuclear ray.
Also, when Shin Goji was hit by B2 bombers and bled, I feel Godzilla shouldn’t bleed from mere bombs.
His ability to sense drones or missiles seemed over the top. I would have loved to see Godzilla attack with his long tail swiping away tanks and jets.
The arms on this design are too small. He can’t do anything with those arms in the movie. I would have liked the design better if the arms were bigger and he could have used them to smash some buildings.
The scene where he uses up his radiation, shutdowns like a robot, and turns to a dirt color. I felt this scene could have improved if he moved slowly instead of jerking, and rested against a building like in The Return of Godzilla (1984) or slouch over like Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996) to rest, perhaps use that membrane to cover his eyes, and maybe let his tail down in a rested pose.
I prefer the classic blue nuclear breathe but I am fine having it purple. Having a three stage breathe attack is cool but a laser beam I feel is too plain. Godzilla’s new ability with the spine lasers: while I like the idea of the nuclear pulse reimagined, it just seems weird he would shoot lasers from his back. He uses this attack more than his breath due to the drone attack but I would rather see Godzilla taking constant hits and using his fire breath to take them down. It would have given Godzilla more movements rather than swinging his back. The tail laser, I am guessing this might have been influenced by the Super Godzilla design of a tail power up attack. But a laser beam shooting from the tail is too much for me personally.
I wasn’t too keen of having Godzilla being discovered and being named by the US. Although I’m American, I would have preferred the name Gojira to be discovered by Japan first and then translated as Godzilla for America as it has been.
The movie ended around 10pm and the after party began at the Hilton hotel next door. The VIP wristbands allow you to receive two alcoholic drink vouchers. This allowed the press, fans, and Funimation staff to mingle. Unlike the LA event, no TVs were in sight showing clips from the movie.
A huge thank you goes out to Chris Mirjahangir and Toho Kingdom as well as everyone at Funimation for making this event possible.
Following a festival screening in Austin on August 27th, distributer Funimation hosted Shin Godzilla’s US theatrical premiere at Regal Cinemas LA Live on October 3rd, 2016.
Sadly, none of the film’s cast or production team were available to attend. However, the guests did include a number of prominent figures in the Godzilla fan press, such as Monster Attack Team’s Edward Holland and Sci-Fi Japan’s Keith Aiken, as well as Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth writer Chris Mowry (pictured to the right). Some less Godzilla-related celebrities in attendance included actor Jon Donahue, of the upcoming film Inferno (2016, not to be confused with the 1980 classic of the same name directed by Dario Argento), and Dave Filoni, who oversees LucasFilm Animation. They also had the 2014 incarnation of Godzilla – or at least a suitable approximation – make an appearance for photographers.
Guests were well-treated by Funimation, who provided free posters for all attendees, as well as t-shirts for the first 150 admissions. Plus, there were free sodas and popcorn, and drink tickets were handed out quite liberally at the after party, which was held at the nearby Lucky Strike Lanes. During said after party, a screener of the movie played silently on the TV behind the bar, which allowed for a chance to re-examine and discuss particular moments.
Response to the movie from the audience was mixed, skewing toward the positive. It is a movie that rapidly fires a lot of information and ideas at its audience, and the general sense was that everyone had a lot to chew on, and couldn’t express too much of an immediate reaction. In the lobby post-screening, there was a lot of discussion of the film’s themes and politics, changes made to the design and powers of Godzilla, and some bold stylistic choices, such as the distinctive cinematography, and the heavy use of Akira Ifukube’s music from earlier Godzilla movies (not new orchestrations of Ifukube’s themes, but actual recordings from the early films used over new footage).
Overall, there was an air of excitement about the event, both for the movie itself, and for the opportunity for so many Southern California fans to get together in one place and share their passion for the King of the Monsters.
Chris Mowry and Edward Holland
Evan A Baker
It has been two years since the last Godzilla film was presented by Legendary Pictures. It has been 12 years since Toho’s last Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Both movies from an eye glance have their share of differences from what we would call the, “traditional Godzilla mold”. This was even more apparent in Shin Godzilla ever since the first images were published onto the internet. From his irregular needle like teeth to his beady eyes casting a unyielding gaze. It was long speculated that this film was going to be a return to the darker roots of Godzilla, more in line with the original classic Godzilla (1954) or The Return of Godzilla (1984).
Naturally, expectations for this film were set high, mine included. Without a doubt a lot seemed to be riding on this film in Japan for Toho. With the attachment of Hideaki Anno to the film my interests were peaked heavily. While having only the basic understanding of Hideaki Anno’s work Neon Genesis Evangelion, I was excited to see how Anno would treat the beloved Godzilla franchise and most curious to see any changes made to the character itself. As the release date for Shin Godzilla began to approach the much anticipated trailer was released to the public. Even since then, I was sold on Shin Godzilla. It would appear that Anno brought Godzilla back to his darker roots inline with the original film and gave him an overhauled nightmarish look rendered in CGI. Time ticked away until the long awaited release date, as I waited with held breath for news on the public opinion on the movie. Overwhelmingly positive reviews poured in from across Japan cheering the successful return of Godzilla to the Japanese silver screens.
It wasn’t long until fellow Godzilla fans from across the world who made the trek to Japan for the Shin Godzilla premiere began giving their thoughts on the film. To my surprise, they seemed to be mixed. A recurring trend was the heavy focus on politics and it would seem that Shin Godzilla followed intoe with Legendary’s film as they reported that Godzilla had minimal screen time. Without spoiling details, another complaint was how Anno strayed too far from the time tested Godzilla roots. Much debate followed amongst fans about the ever growing box office success of Shin Godzilla and the comparison of reviews. It wasn’t long until it was announced that Funimation would be distributing Shin Godzilla in a limited theatrical run across the United States. I was overcome with excitement as finally I, and many others can see what the commotion was all about.
Shin Godzilla, what a film indeed.. I was graciously invited to the Los Angeles premiere of Shin Godzilla and even after a couple of days from the premiere I still find it hard to express and put in words how I feel. Though I feel mainly positive about the film, I am still mixed on a few aspects. The film is a crafted piece of suspenseful camera angles, gripping music and an ever increasing sense of tension as the film progresses. The film is heavy in political undertones that even as a western viewer going in, I was able to at least identify. With a bit of black comedy thrown in here and there while still poking fun at the rather slow and careful government. However, I feel that this film will still remain controversial within the eyes of the fandom for several reasons. Without spoiling much, one of which is the deviation from the time tested “standard Godzilla formula” and the heavy focus on political meetings and the boring world of politics. An example of which is recurring theme is the heavy focus on the state post-war Japan. Godzilla is no stranger to having politics within the film, though as previously mentioned, Shin Godzilla’s is extremely heavy with it. I wouldn’t say oversaturated down with, but I can understand how and why some people will be frustrated with it. I found it a refreshing change of pace from previous Godzilla films within the franchise, though it would become boring and stale across multiple films – for within Shin Godzilla, I believe it felt right at home.
Moving on to Godzilla himself, again while not to try and spoil to much, Godzilla has returned to his darker roots. He is not the hero the world looks up in their darkest hours and I feel he is not the wrathful destroyer god either. Though a few mentions to Godzilla’s title of “God” are made throughout the film, I feel that Godzilla is a more chaotic neutral entity. His hideous appearance however would have you believe he was sent straight from the darkest pit of the nightmarish dark beyond. While trying to be as spoiler-free as possible – the changes to Godzilla’s character and powers might push away fans of the “traditional Godzilla”. Some may even call this Godzilla as “going to far” or “outlandish”. Godzilla is also no stranger to the wacky powers over the years such as atomic powered flight, though one might chalk that up as a product of the time and the target demographic. We live in an era where it would seem that realism and the dark atmosphere takes precedence over something new and creative. An excerpt from the films tagline is “Reality vs Fiction” and while stated in an interview that Japan is the reality and Godzilla is fiction. It still is completely understandable though for some fans to dislike the Godzilla within the film though I feel the riskful leap from the mold felt right at home within the films universe.
I’m going to try and keep this part brief, as I am still trying to struggle with words on how to best describe my experience. As I may have mentioned above, I remain very positive about the film with some mixed feeling strung within.
Starting off is the main, what I would call the most controversial topic about the film is the use of an all CGI Godzilla and the use of CGI within the film. The special effects are rather well done all things considered with a few scenes pushing into the down right gorgeous spectrum. Then there are a few scenes which I think fail to impress and leave me scratching my head, though these are far and few inbetween. The camera angles work extremely well for the most part which really make you feel the imposing size of Godzilla but also the gravity and rather heavy situation within the film. As mentioned previously, the Godzilla scenes are strung and woven in the middle of political action, debates or otherwise attack plans. Just as you think a scene is starting to wear down we get a nice refreshing scene of Godzilla. Some will argue the film needs more Godzilla, which I can see as to why.
The cast I believe did a fantastic job of conveying their respective roles and respective status. Not all characters may act how you may think as mentioned above, the film does like to throw a bit of black comedy as well as political satire your way a few times. Arguably the best represented character within the film is the male protagonist lead, Rando Yaguchi. Rando is a young government official who plays the more renegade role. He is visibly fed up with the government’s slow reaction time and the careful image of Japan to the outside world, especially within the films time of crisis. He is however kept in line by the Prime Minister’s (abbreviated as PM a few times within the film Aide and who is another personal favorite character of mine, Hideki Akasaka. Hideki agrees with Rando’s accusations and frustration towards the state of government but is far more level headed and willing to abide by the rules.
As for female characters, the first that comes to mind is Kayoko Ann Patterson who plays the a Special Presidential Envoy. While I did enjoy Kayoko’s character and her actress portrayal, there are a few scenes that she spoke English. While you can tell she was definitely trying to speak English, it was masked regularly at times – with a thick Japanese accent. While hearing English spoken was refreshing, I was having a hard time understanding her and sadly, believing her role as a US Presidential Envoy. Thankfully the subtitles managed to fill in the gaps that I may have missed though several people will become confused and distracted from the spoken English scenes. Her character does carry a small side story that I felt that was unneeded and during the final act of the film, distracted. However, I did find the attitude and portrayal of the character very refreshing from the rather cut and stiff world of politics, despite herself being in a political position. The other female character would be Hiromi Ogashira, Deputy Director of the Nature Conservation Bureau and friend of Rando. Her roles are short but her contributions to the story is momentous, which I think can be interpreted as – Every person, no matter how small in the world can make a difference. The character herself comes off as downright creepy and awkward at times, though i’m not saying it as a bad thing. Once again, another bright light to complement Rando and his team of “Political Standouts”
While I know I am missing a few other key characters, such as the Prime Minister of Japan along with the other High Ranking Cabinet Members, I can briefly go over the message I mentioned above. Each character, no matter how small or short of a role, tends to have a role that pushes the plot forward which is to be expected of a character but it is easy to have throw away characters who just pad out the scenes.
All in all, I easily got my times worth out of Shin Godzilla. To me it is a solid addition to the franchise along with bringing some new things to the table. This film will not be for everyone however I strongly urge you to see it at least once to judge for yourself. For me, the film was a great experience that I plan on experiencing again. I hope you all can enjoy Shin Godzilla.
So let’s talk Shin Godzilla.
There have been many reviews before mine, so I’m gonna give you a different type of review. We’ll start with the trip from Batavia, NY. We departed at 8:30 AM, and arrived in Newark, NJ at around 3:30 PM, and took a hair raising cab ride from Jersey into the city via the Lincoln Tunnel, arrived promptly in Times Square at the Port Authority Building.
We crossed the street, and found AMC Theater 25 on 42nd Street. There were only 2 people in line ahead of us, so we found ourselves enjoying our wait in line for a few hours. At 7:30, they started letting us in. Upon entering, we were greeted by Funimation representatives whom gave us our tickets, our food and drink vouchers, our posters and t-shirts. We loaded up on our drinks and food, rode the escalator up to the theaters floor, and we encountered a photo pit with… Godzilla!
It was a great gift to the fans lucky enough to be invited to the premiere by the wonderful staff at Funimation. Greg Graves and I were lucky enough to be invited through the always charitable Chris Mirjanhangir of Toho Kingdom and Godzilla: Total Destruction.
After meeting two of the cast members from Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, we took our seats, and within 20 minutes… the show began.
With a double Toho Logo, we were treated to a shaky cam opening onboard a pleasure vessel adrift in Tokyo Bay. As some harbor patrol men film the interior of the vessel, an all too familiar occurrence… occurs. The vessel takes a jarring hit, and the camera looks out into the bay, and we see a misty water spout, and some red viscous fluid can be spotted spreading from where the spout is. The occurrence causes an underwater tunnel to collapse partially, where the red viscous fluid begins flooding into it.
I loved this quick opening. It’s self sufficient, it was very interesting, no underwater shots giving us a glimpse of Godzilla or anything, just a nice realistic view of how sudden and unprecedented his coming was.
Okay, from there, we are introduced to the Japanese government. They meet. They talk. They plan. They plan on meeting. They meet to plan.
There you have it. Love it or hate it. It’s exactly how it would play out. Their confusion, the organized chaos amongst themselves. It’s very true to life, as seen by their governments lack of preparedness for the Fukushima disaster. You may be of the mindset that it was dull and uninteresting, but I found it incredibly refreshing. I’ve seen complaints that the brunt of the characters have no back stories or lack of characterization… again, I’ll heartily disagree. What back story do you need for these people? What’s on their Pinterest? Their high school achievements? They are government officials. This story is about what they’re doing in this situation.
As the Prime Minister is informed of the situation, and the government officials squabble over what to do, a large tail bursts out of the water with a spiked end to it. Something living is clearly causing this commotion. Reports continue to filter in as the cabinet continues to be confused. The Prime Minister goes onto television to calm the people’s fears of this waterborne threat. And in one of the funniest moments in the film, just as the PM is saying there is zero chance of the creature making landfall… he is informed of the creature making landfall.
This is truly where my interest was piqued. The roving 1st form of Godzilla was truly a unique sight to see. As this serpentine form uses his back legs to shove himself through the streets, you can get a real sense of what the Tohoku tsunami must have been like, and, in another sense, it’s not truly as terrifying as the tsunami surge was. But this is in line with the original 1954 Godzilla. While both the 1954 Godzilla and the 2016 Godzilla represent different disasters, they both are clear representations of them.
The first form of Godzilla begins cutting a terrible swath through the streets, causing terrible destruction throughout. We are again treated to more bureaucracy as the creature continues to push forward. The Prime Minister is advised to activate the Japanese Self Defense Forces.
This may not be interesting to most US viewers, but for the Japanese, this is a huge, major event. As stated in the film, this is the first combat activation of the JSDF ever.
Apache helicopters are dispatched. At that same moment, Godzilla suddenly stops. A strange tremor
begins to vibrate Godzilla’s skin. The creature stands upright, and arms form on him. He let’s out a roar for the first time.
This scene was one of the most unique and thought provoking in not just this film, but in the entire series. Again, like I said before, incredibly refreshing.
Godzilla, in his new form is approached by the Apaches, and as they are authorized to fire, citizens making a hasty get away wind up in the line of fire and prevent the Apaches from firing. As the attack helicopters stand down, Godzilla realizes that it’s foray onto land and it’s mutation have taxed his body, and he begins to overheat. He returns to the harbor.
We are shown the aftermath of his attack, and we meet a new character, a Japanese/American woman who has some pull in the US government, and brings new information shared by the US DOE. A new team is put together to deal with the threat posed by Godzilla.
This team includes outsiders, nerds, biologists, engineers and other parties. They work tirelessly, and are presented with theory that Godzilla is radioactive, which is dismissed as impossible, until the person is proven correct by a trail of radiation left by the creature. They are presented with an indiscernible blueprint of Godzilla’s DNA that they cannot crack as it is missing a key component. As they study it, Godzilla appears again. He has doubled in size, and has mutated further. The JSDF is mobilized again and the US Government is brought on to help. The Apaches approach again, and fire upon Godzilla with miniguns, high caliber guns, and missiles. They have no effect. Fighter planes fly in and launch higher yield bombs against Godzilla. Tanks begin firing on Godzilla as well. Realizing Godzilla is in the vicinity of the PM’s house, two choppers are dispatched to evacuate him and other top members. The rest leave to safety by car. US B2 bombers swoop in and drop bunker buster bombs on Godzilla, which breaches his flesh and damage him greatly.
Not willing to stand for this, Godzilla fights back. His spines begin to glow, and his jaw splits in two, and black smoke streams out of his mouth, which gives way to a terrible fire stream, which fine tunes into a purple super beam of destruction. A concentrated stream of pure energy and annihilation. He downs one of the B2’s. The other two head in to continue the onslaught on Godzilla. At this point, Godzilla surges purple beams out of his spines, cutting down the other two bombers, and… the Prime Minister’s choppers. Godzilla powers down, and becomes dormant. He has successfully used a lot of the built up heat and power inside of him.
Wow. Talk about an intense sequence. Seeing Godzilla properly utilized like a nuclear power plant was incredibly awesome to see. I enjoyed the unique take on how he uses his beam and of coarse the all new spine lasers. Very well done.
A large portion of Tokyo is now a patch of hell on Earth. Scorched ground still molten from the intensity of his onslaught. The PM is dead. What’s left of the cabinet select a new acting Prime Minister. This man is obviously reticent at his new found position. He is also being pressured by the United States to turn over responsibility of the destruction of the creature to them, and the UN. We all know what that means… nuclear weapons. However, our crack team of nerds and biologists feel they can coagulate his blood, effectively freezing his biological functions. They just need to figure out the proper concoction. A break through in the ‘unsolvable’ blueprint of Godzilla’s DNA proves to be just as helpful, but also damaging, as it is revealed that Godzilla’s mutative properties suggest he will soon begin to give off progeny, smaller and far more mobile, which, shockingly enough, presents far more danger than a single, gigantic target. The US does not like the sounds of that, and begin a two week long snap countdown to the delivery of a low yield nuclear weapon from a submarine to annihilate Godzilla and… more of Tokyo.
Our core group of characters cannot stand to see a 3rd nuclear weapon used on their country, so they go all in on the efforts to make the coagulant viable. With time running out, and fears barely being suppressed, our Japanese American subject suggests that the PM request France to delay the American’s snap count a day, so they can attempt their plan. America obliges, and the plan us set into motion.
They reveal that Godzilla has an internal radar, and even while dormant, can defend himself when he senses a probe drone incoming. The only proper way to administer the coagulant is orally, and the only way to reach his mouth is to trip up the behemoth. For that… he has to be awake.
Loading up all the public transit trains with explosives, they set them off at high speed towards Godzilla. A litany of trains barrel towards him, hit barriers, go airborne, and explode around him. The King awakens. He doesn’t seem too phased, so they send in unmanned drones to irritate him, causing him to use his beam and spine lasers again. This causes him to lose power quickly again, and they send two more waves of drones at him. They detonate explosives in the skyscrapers around him, causing a cascade of debris to knock Godzilla over. Crane dispensers move in and begin pI ping the coagulant into his mouth. They administer about 30% before he recovers and beams the line of cranes. He stands up and now, uses a new weapons, a beam shot from a mutated mouth on his tail. He takes out more of the skyscrapers around him. The team launches a new attack through more trains, blowing up around him and taking him to the ground. A new set of cranes move in and administer the rest of the coagulant. He stands up again, and is about to cause more destruction, however, the coagulant takes effect. He freezes in place, and shows no more signs of life. The team, and all of Japan celebrate the hard fought victory against the God that made landfall and threatened to destroy the world, starting with Japan. They also discover that Godzilla’s unique radioactive isotope has a half life of 22 days, meaning within 2 years, all of the radiation spread by Godzilla will have disappeared completely. Standing like a monumentally large statue in Tokyo, Godzilla’s body remains, silhouetted by the setting sun. And we see on his tail, frozen in a last ditch effort to overcome, Godzilla’s last resort to continue surviving; human-esque skeletal creatures with Godzilla’s spines, about 10 meters tall, peeling themselves away from the tip of his tail, solidified in their first moments of life before death. A threat narrowly escaped.
A lot of fans hate it. Immediate, knee jerk reactions of hatred. They find nothing viable about the film, and are mostly wishing it away.
Other aren’t sure how to feel. Some don’t want to be seen as having much of an opinion on it. They want to just quietly blend in. 50/50.
And the rest feel they’ve witnessed a very well done, unique entry into Godzilla’s lore.
I am of the latter. I wholly enjoyed it. And I’ll use the rest of this review to invite you to see things from my perspective. If you hated it, I challenge to ask yourself truthfully why.
Answers I’ve heard most often:
1. It was boring.
– Okay. Valid point. Yes, the brunt of the film deals with bureaucracy in action. If you aren’t engaged by dialogue, I don’t know what to tell ya. It’s story telling. I found all of it enticing and interesting.
2. It wasn’t Godzilla.
– Yes. Yes it was. I’m honestly still shocked that fans have the audacity to say what is and isn’t Godzilla. This trend of fan entitlement (yes, fan entitlement) has been festering since GODZILLA (1998). “If they called it something else, I’d love it.” “It doesn’t look like Godzilla. It isn’t Godzilla.”
I’m not a fan of Godzilla (2014), at all. But I would never presume to say it wasn’t Godzilla, or that the movie itself is bad, just because I didn’t like it. I may also be biased, being a major factor in Godzilla: Heritage, I have a unique view on how much hard work goes into these things, and how unreasonable fans can be. Often.
3. The CGI was bad.
In some parts. Yeah. I won’t disagree. Not enough to make me not enjoy the movie.
4. I just hated it.
So… realistically, whether you loved it or hated it, it all boils down to the maturity level of your approach to the film. If you don’t like, thats fine. If you loved it, awesome. Bottom line… it’s what you got. And for those wishing other monsters appeared… you had 12 years apart from Godzilla. Spend a movie enjoying just the king of the monsters.
Overall, I enjoyed the usage of themes, I enjoyed the political satire, the frightening imagery brought about by Godzilla himself.
Things I found lacking… there still seems to be a severe shortage of human suffering in this movies. That’s one thing we intend to bring to you with Godzilla: Heritage. I feel the best dynamic of Godzilla is his destructive potential. And from that… you will see casualties. So… there’s that.
I hope this been a good read, and I hope you give the film a chance! Thanks again to Funimation for bringing it stateside.
Funmation Films CrewGeneral // October 13, 2016
Well, its summer again and with it came a new Godzilla 2015 contest in celebration of the new video game! Originally I was going to do a giveaway for just the game, but I thought this would be better as a follow up to our Summer 2014 Contest. So I reached out to our friends at NECA and Legendary Pictures and they jumped on board to help make winning a little more special! Since I’m giving out two copies of the game, I split it up into two bundles.
The prizes are valued at over $80-$175 (depending on the bundle), although no price can be attached to the rare shirts being offered since they were never sold for retail. The bundles are:
- Godzilla Video Game (Playstation 4)
- 1 Legendary Godzilla 2014 shirt (men’s size XL)
- 1 NECA 18 inch Striker Eureka figure with light up LED lights
- Godzilla Video Game (Playstation 4)
- 1 Legendary Godzilla 2014 shirt (men’s size XL)
- Set of Pacific Rim Series 6 figures
Due to shipping, this contest is open to North America entrants only.
This is a contest with a level playing field. The winning applicant will be selected at random. To enter just send an e-mail with your name and address to: Toho_Kingdom_Summer_Contest_2015@Hotmail.com
Contest ends August 8th, 2015
Thanks goes to Bandai Namco, Legendary Pictures and NECA for the gracious prizes offered in this contest.
ONE entry per person only. Due to shipping this contest is only for North America entrants. Winner will be randomly selected using an automated process by e-mails received. Date of entry has no bearing on probability of winning. No requests for bundles as winners will be chosen at random. The winner will be announced by August 25th, 2015 Contest ends August 8th, 2015 Toho Kingdom staff (forum and main site) are not eligible to compete. The site is not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail when prizes are sent out. Toho Kingdom reserves the right to change these rules at any time.General // July 24, 2015
Over the years you’ve seen Godzilla suit actors Haruo Nakajima (Showa series), Ken Satsuma (Heisei series), and Tsutomu Kitagawa (Millennium series) numerous times inside the US. They have appeared together in the excellent documentary “Bringing Godzilla Down to Size” on the Rodan and War of the Gargantuas DVD. For the convention scene, the suit actors have done solo appearances, in pairs or, for the first time, all at once at the Chiller 2014 event.
However, one meeting happened in 2011 that very few know. The original Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima, met the only American Godzilla film suit actor, Kurt Carley from GODZILLA (1998). This historic meeting between Haruo Nakajima and Kurt Carley is being shown here for the first time courtesy of the Brad Thompson collection.
Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author and film historian August Ragone graciously introduces the two men and it’s a very pleasant meeting. You MIGHT have to turn up the audio a little to catch it all but it’s well worth it!
I hope you all enjoy this historical event being shown here for the first time anywhere!
About Kurt Carley
Kurt Carley is a suitmation actor who had an uncredited role of playing Godzilla in GODZILLA (1998). He has also portrayed werewolves in the Underworld series, in particular Underworld and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. All three films were done by Tatopoulos Studios. Carley isn’t tied to the special effects house, though, and has done work for other studios and projects, including a performance in 2009’s Land of the Lost. The actor continues to be active in the profession today, having a role in this year’s A Haunted House 2. In addition, the actor has done numerous stints in “fan projects”, including Batman: Dead End and Starship Farragut.
Kurt Carley’s website can be found here, complete with a demo reel of some of his suit performances.General // November 7, 2014
Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph such Godzilla film legends such as Haruo Nakajima, Akira Takarada, and Kenji Sahara. The photographs in this album range from 2011, from when I was handpicked by film historian August Ragone to document his historic trip to Los Angeles, to Akira Takarada’s Los Angeles visit in 2013, and in 2014 when Haruo Nakajima returned to Los Angeles along with actor Kenji Sahara.
My published Haruo Nakajima’s 2011 photographs, I’m told, have reached iconic status when they were printed in the extremely popular issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine issue #256 in 2011 and in the magazine “Monster Attack Team” issue #8. The photos present here are either seldom seen or never before shown and I’m very proud of my work here. There is a shot of Haruo Nakajima in FM #256 where he is looking at the original King Kong armature. The photo was quickly shot with only 2 photographs taken. One, the alternate, was printed 3 years later and signed by Nakajima and was given to director Gareth Edwards. That photograph now hangs on a wall in his home.
One of the shots here that shows Nakajima with the Kong armature has never been seen before and I’m proud to present it here for the first time. The original Godzilla along side the original King Kong. An event that will never happen again.
Photographing each of these icons has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and in the case of the 2011 visit, one that gave me new lifelong friends. I’m proud to call Haruo Nakajima my friend and what were once polite bows and smiles upon first meeting have turned into hugs and laughter.
I hope Godzilla fans enjoy these photos of these cinematic icons for years to come.
Haruo Nakajima and the 1998 American Godzilla
Actor Kenji Sahara gets a look at the new American Godzilla for the first time
Haruo Nakajima, Kenji Sahara, and Mr. Sahara’s translator check out the new American Godzilla design
Kenji Sahara and the new American Godzilla 2014
The War of the Gargantuas (1966) stars Russ Tamblyn, Haruo Nakajima, and Kenji Sahara
Haruo Nakajima signing an alternate photo print I took of him and the original King Kong armature at MonsterPalooza in 2011. The other photo (close in identity) was published in Famous Monsters of Filmland #256. This signed print is the only one in existence and now belongs to Godzilla 2014 director Gareth Edwards.
Akira Takarada clowns for my camera
Akira Takarada at MonsterPalooza
Haruo Nakajima and the Hollywood sign
Los Angeles, California
David Chapple, Haruo Nakajima, Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster from TV’s “The Munsters”) and Brad Thompson
Haruo Nakajima and artist William Stout
Haruo Nakajima with Tom and Diane from Clawmark Toys
Haruo Nakajima with Godzilla 2014
3-30-2014General // November 5, 2014