Godzilla 2019 NECA: Long Live the King
Godzilla, Gojira, Goji, King of the Monsters, no matter how you choose to address the iconic Kaiju, one fact remains unchanged, he’s an immediately recognizable monster who broke free of any sense of cultural border and became a household name for those with an interest in monsters.
Not including the 1999 Roland Emmerich movie, which sought to alter the monster and make it more “believable,” the recent Godzilla films have been doing a pretty damn good job. In 2014, we had the first modern American Godzilla since the 1999 Emmerich flick, simply titled “Godzilla,” directed by Gareth Edwards, which was well received by fans. In 2016, we had the superb Shin Godzilla from Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, which won multiple awards and quickly became known as many people’s favorite modern Godzilla movie. In 2019, we got Godzilla: King of the Monsters, directed by Michael Dougherty, a divisive but enjoyable monster-mash.
I’ve loved my Shin Godzilla figure since day one.
With any good movie comes good merch! NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) managed to acquire the license to Godzilla for the production of merchandise in the form of collectible action figures from Warner Bros in 2014 to coincide with the launch of the Garerth Edwards directed movie. Since then, they have delved into the past and brought Goji to life in numerous figures based on his many on-screen appearances. Their 2014 Godzilla was good, a solid start for sure, but it could have been better. This was rectified with their Godzilla 2019 figure, their first King of the Monsters-related release.
The most noticeable thing is the figure’s paint job. Unlike the 2014 figure, which is often criticized for being a bit flat when it comes to the paint work, the 2019 figure has some real depth to it. Doing away with the almost entirely charcoal black body with a dusting of highlights, the KOTM Godzilla has a lighter shade of grey for the body, with darker recesses, and a more khaki-tan shade has been used to highlight the raised areas, bringing a more complex appearance to the fore. This immediately makes for a significant improvement from a visual perspective, and it seems as though many collectors are inclined to agree on the matter.
Not content to rest on the laurels of goodwill that a paint upgrade can bring, NECA went a step further updating the model itself, delivering an updated sculpt of the king to go along with the paint update. The changes addressed issues with Godzilla’s 2014 figure appearance. Surprisingly, one of the biggest original issues was the feet. The feet were quite narrow originally, lacking any sizable claws or structure, they just looked subtly wrong. But they have been altered to look less stubby and elephant like, instead taking on a more broad build and looking more like actual feet.
The most overtly noticeable alteration, however, is quite clearly the dorsal fins. The dorsal array on the 2014 Godzilla is noticeably more spikey, having the appearance of jagged rocks, which definitely cuts a fearsome silhouette, but the 2019 KOTM alterations bring a much more organic feel to the table. Gone are the jutting stone-like pillars, and in their place, the larger and more organic-looking dorsal crests that decorate the back of Godzilla in King of the Monsters. These new crests aren’t just a different shape; they’re also larger than the spikes which came before. This lends Godzilla a better sense of scale, making him appear larger despite the fact that there has been no alteration to the figures height or scale by NECA.
All that leaves us to talk about, then, is the articulation of the figure, which for some may be the most important part of all. For those of you who have never handled a NECA Godzilla figure, they are plastic figures that tend to come in at about 6-7 inches tall, depending on the sculpt in question. Each figure comes with a number of articulated joints, typically containing 25-30 points of articulation, be it ball joint, hinge joints, swivel joints, etc.
Godzilla 2019 holds up very well in regards to his articulation. He’s solidly built, that’s for sure, almost to a fault in some ways. We have a joint at the head and neck, which gives you full 360 rotation, but the dorsal fin at the top of his spine might get in the way of the turn. Luckily, it’s made of a soft rubber material, so you’ll be able to tuck it out of the way as you turn the head. Limited articulation at the torso gives you a slight abdominal crunch and some side to side movement.
His legs have a joint in the knee which will give you some forward and backward motion, but nothing insane, and the feet sit nicely on what seems to be a ball joint, while the shoulders allow for a full 360 turn, a bend at the elbow and a hinge joint on the wrist to move the hands back and forth.
His tail has a total of nine pieces in it to help with posing, letting you achieve some awesome organic shapes, and it even has a piece of bendable wire in the tip so you can bend it into the desired position. And considering that the tail makes up a lot of the 12 inches in length that this figure measures out to, those 9 pieces are essential.
The 2019 version of Godzilla took every problem in the 2014 release and threw them out the window. Iterative figure releases are typically frowned upon, being considered nothing more than a cynical cash grab. But in this instance, the revisions that were made to the figure are nothing but positive and definitely justify a re-release, and if anything, you can always take a picture of that excellent silhouette.