#ShinGodzilla: 8 Random Things That Made 'Evangelion' Creator's New 'Godzilla' Movie Awesome

Godzilla is up to his old tricks in the first trailer for 'Godzilla: Resurgence.' Toho Studios

The new Godzilla movie, from Attack on Titan live action movie director Shinji Higuchi and Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno , is a lot more fun -- and funny, and thought-provoking -- than I anticipated. Here’s the eight parts of the movie that I felt were the most unexpected, exciting, hilarious, and moving, quite apart from our Godzilla review. Spoiler alert ahoy!

Tadpole Zilla

Godzilla’s first form is soooo goofy-looking. It’s not about whether or not the CGI is good (it’s not); the design is just straight-up funky. As Godzilla emerges from the sea, it’s purposely malformed and fetal-looking. Because Godzilla is adapting and growing as it tromps around, it makes sense for Godzilla to look unfinished at first.

But Tadpole Zilla looks so goofy, so ugly, it… it almost crosses over to cute. If you can ignore the jowls shaking like a nutsack, and the unblinking perfectly round eyes, and the massive swaths of destruction left in its wake, which I can.

You’ll miss Tadpole Zilla when it’s gone.


Bureaucracy is never a highlight of anything. But Shin Godzilla throws an unflinching light on the farcical nature of advanced bureaucracy. The same people shift from one room to the next to have the same meeting over and over again. More meetings are called as a result of the first meetings, with no results from any of them.

It’s not because any of these people are intrinsically bad or evil: it’s because they’re frozen in the glacial embrace of hierarchy. But there is a fine line between being comforted in the face of the unknown and being smothered by redundancy. No one makes plans or direct calls for action that don’t consider ranks before results, so even the noblest and most well-meaning public servant struggles to push through.

But the useless meetings are presented so bluntly that it’s funny. Everyone can relate to endless, pointless meetings, even if the stakes aren’t usually Godzilla-high. Watching the same people move from one generically-appointed meeting room to the next, with the increasingly more grandiose names of each special session flashing on the screen, was Office -level shenanigans.

Moments of Nobility

There were two that stood out for me, both from the putative leaders of the very bureaucracy that seems to be the enemy: the Prime Ministers.

First, there’s PM #1 (I told you there would be spoilers), aborting an attack on Godzilla because two civilians are fleeing across a nearby train track. The planes are ready, the guns are primed, the PM has the final word -- and he says no.

It’s a brave, bold decision. Yes, it saves “only” two lives, lives that might have been snuffed out in the next attack anyway. Yes, it comes at the very high cost of allowing Godzilla to recover and evolve into a stronger form. But that choice took guts and moral fiber. And it’s the right one. Don’t fire on your own people.

The second moment is PM #2, some poor schmuck in the Ministry of Agriculture, the only guy who’d take the job. He seems incompetent at first, just some old sop they shoved into the PM seat so they could say the government was still intact. But then the movie shows him bowing to the French ambassador in order to convince him to act on Japan’s behalf, bowing and not moving from that stance as the ambassador sits sprawled in his seat.

That old white head bowing so deeply, in such eloquent silence, in such an urgent plea was a moving, critical point in the film. Without the Prime Minister’s still bow, France would not have helped Japan delay the UN response to Godzilla, and there would have been nukes over Tokyo. The stakes could not have been higher, and the old man came through hard.

Tough Secretary of Defense Lady

In rooms full of stodgy old dudes in suits, Tough Secretary of Defense Lady shone. Every time she spoke, smirked faintly or otherwise did anything, I was just so pumped that she was there. I don’t have a long screed about this one. Just -- thanks, Tough Secretary of Defense Lady.

The pets in the shelter

There are just one or two quick shots during scenes of the Tokyo evacuation -- blink and you’ll miss them -- of pets. One is a cat looking up through the bars of her carrier. Another is a small lap dog, prettily groomed.

For some reason, these two animals made me feel the human impact of Tokyo’s evacuation a million times more than any hackneyed subplot about Little Susie Grabbing Her Doll would have. Because of course in a major evacuation you grab what you treasure the most: your pets, your loyal and loving companions whose innocent lives you are responsible for. Of course there’s dogs and cats there, representing the humans who love them, who chose to save them over anything else they might have carried on their backs as they fled from Godzilla’s inscrutable rage. The presence of those animals is authentic. It made the Tokyo evacuations feel incredibly real.

Plus, there is something about the innocence in those animals’ eyes that is just devastating, especially when contrasted with Godzilla’s cold, dead eyes.

The Neon Genesis Evangelion music

Not for nothing, but almost every single jazzy, up-tempo number sounded like it was straight outta NGE. Did they just file the serial numbers off the anime soundtrack and drop it into Shin Godzilla? If so, I’m not complaining. Neon Genesis Evangelion has some great tracks.

When Godzilla pukes fire and then lasers


But for real, though, the orchestral score, the slow and devastating spread of the flames, the horrifying moment you realize just how powered-up Godzilla has truly become, the screen flashing with images of Tokyo’s iconic neighborhoods as they’re lost in Godzilla’s rage… It’s a sincerely chilling moment, one that hangs in the air, breathless, for the whole duration of the scene. A major world city like Tokyo can’t be destroyed in one fell swoop, not even by Godzilla. But each neighborhood has history, personality, irreplaceable uniqueness… all gone to flames.

It’s even more painful when you contextualize Godzilla in Japan’s history, as a response to the nation’s post-war traumas. After all, Tokyo burned in real life, too.

Godzilla gets a root canal

The final image of Godzilla with all the blood coagulator trucks jammed into its mouth reminded me of getting a root canal. Japan’s last-ditch plan isn’t as glamorous and Michael Bay-tastic as dropping nukes on everything, despite the narrative satisfaction of Japan doing what it needs to do for itself successfully. It’s especially unglamorous when you can’t help but think of the dentist. Poor Godzilla and its crooked teeth.

Shin Godzilla screens October 11 through 18 in theatres nationwide and is certainly worth the watch . You can learn more and pick up tickets here .

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