The caption on the poster in the lobby - 'A god incarnate. A city doomed.' - suggested a return of Gozilla the villain, rather than the hero of the multitudinous Godzilla vs. Evil Monster type of movie. The name of Hideoaki Anno with the title of director hinted that we might see a blend of action and drama to match his previous creation of television's finest series. The bold design prepared us for something devestating.
Once seated, the film lauched into action immediately, an explosion in Tokyo Bay. The first appearance of the god incarnate is less than godly - this new Godzilla starts as a weird salamander-like creature, and evolves throughout. The tactic is intially jarring but puts the audience firmly in the same position as patrons must have been in 1954 when they first saw Godzilla: expecting a giant monster romp, predicting what is to happen next, only to be shocked a new ability to push the devestation forward.
The film does, however, take some getting used to, particularly for those who don't speak or read Japanese. Like Anno's Evangelion, scenes, titles, tactics, timeframes, vehicles and almost everything else are labelled largely on-screen. For Shin Godzilla, he has surpassed the number of labels in Eva, plastering almost everything other than our antihero. For the western audience following the dialogue via subtitles, it took a while to realise where we needed to look, but once we could, we could sit back and enjoy watching the futility of the military efforts.
It was strange to go back to the beginning, to a present where Godzilla has never been known, but also an amazing experience, with the monster looking better than ever, reviving the ominous tone of the original film and playing the terror of the creature - even in its early, ridiculous forms - completely straight, whilst not being without the humour of the human condition. Evangelion met Godzilla, and it really worked.