Shin Godzilla, previously known to some in the United States as Godzilla: Resurgence, was quite the success in 2016. The Toho Pictures film was met with its share of critical acclaim and became the highest-grossing live-action Japanese movie of 2016. The film also took the crown of the highest grossing Japanese-produced Godzilla film in the ongoing franchise. With a story that reintroduced the King of the Monsters into modern Japan, Shin Godzilla both entertains and tackles relevant issues, much like the original Godzilla did.
As a result, Shin Godzilla was able to build plenty of high esteem among critics and fans of the franchise. With awards season underway, it may not be much of a surprise to see Shin Godzilla hardly making an impact in America, but it did work incredibly well for Japanese audiences. In fact, the film was such a resounding success, that Shin Godzilla may now be able to take home a number of Japanese Academy Awards, including a possible Best Picture award.
The nominations for the 40th Japan Academy Prize were recently announced and it is great to see that Shin Godzilla has picked up 11 nominations. It will be competing with mystery-dramas Rage and 64: Part 1, films much more grounded, compared to this giant monster movie. Regardless, Shin Godzilla's nominations include Best Picture, Best Director (Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi), Best Actor (Hiroki Hasegawa), Best Supporting Actress (Satomi Ishihara and Mikako Ichikawa), Best Music (Shirou Sagisu), Best Cinematography (Kousuke Yamada), Best Art Direction (Yuji Hayashida and Eri Sakushima), Best Lighting Direction (Takayuki Kawabe), Best Sound Recording (Jun Nakamura and Haru Yamada) and Best Film Editing (Hideaki Anno and Atsuki Sato).
This is quite the accomplishment for the franchise. With the last Japanese-produced Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars having come out back in 2004, it's quite amazing to see this series not only get a stellar revival, but pull off getting multiple Japanese Academy Award nominations. Clearly the film won critics and fans over, which is in no doubt due to the work put in by writer and directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. Having worked largely in animation (Evangelion, Attack on Titan), their experience may have somewhat set them up for a film like this, but it paid off in terms of creating a great, new giant monster movie and one that tackles some relevant issues.
While America's Godzilla films have more or less been mainly about having fun with the character on U.S. soil, the original Godzilla was rooted in the Nuclear Age. That somewhat went away over the past 60 years, but Shin Godzilla was one of the entries far more devoted to balancing its giant monster with social commentary. More specifically, this film addresses the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It manages to do so, while having a fun monster movie play out, but that doesn't make the issues being targeted lest prescient.
While the film was only able to receive a limited release in America, during this past summer, hopefully more of an audience will have a chance to catch up on it in the months to come. This will especially be the case, if the is able to actually score some big wins during the Japane Academy Prize ceremony, which is held in early March.
Shin Godzilla is scheduled to be released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan on March 22, 2017. No current word on a U.S. release.
Source: Japan Academy Film Prize