Star Cast: Ryonosuke Kamiki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Minami Hanabe, and Kuranosuke Sasaki.
Director: Takashi Yam
What’s Good: Godzilla Minus One brings the King of the Monsters back to its roots in a terrifying way.
What’s Bad: Some people might be repelled by the subtitles, but there’s really nothing bad in this amazing film.
Loo Break: There are no breaks. You will probably want to watch the human story just as much as watching Godzilla unleash chaos.
Watch or Not?: This is a must-watch and one of the best films of the year on every level.
Language: Japanese (with subtitles)
Available On: Cinemas
Runtime: 125 Minutes.
Godzilla is one of the most recognizable characters in cinema. The King of the Monsters stands head-to-head with the likes of King Kong, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, and Atticus Finch. The influence of The Creature cannot be overstated, as it basically established an entire genre on its own and also managed to maintain itself as one of the longest-running franchises in entertainment. Godzilla Minus One is just the latest installment in the series, but it is also a very special film that reminds us why this character is so important, not only for Japan but for the world.
Godzilla Minus One Movie Review: Script Analysis
Godzilla Minus One is the first Godzilla film, coming after the magnificent Shin Godzilla, which proved that Japan still knows best when it comes to using the famous kaiju on the big screen. That movie managed to be successful not only at the box office but also with critics. Shin Godzilla even won the equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar at the Japanese Film Academy Awards. So, Godzilla Minus One arrives with the task of stepping into very big shoes, but thanks to a solid story, memorable characters, and amazing visual effects, the goal has been achieved.
Godzilla Minus One is a big achievement in every sense of the word. The film is not only breaking records in America for foreign-language films at the box office, but it is also a success when it comes to the film itself and the story it wants to tell. Choosing to go back in time to the origins of the character was a bold move. However, in retrospect, it was the best possible choice, as Minus One can use the time period to differentiate itself from the Legendary series of movies, which use Godzilla and Kong in modern times.
The period choice of the piece allows the story to take on a more serious tone and take the character back to what it always was: a reflection of the ugliness of humanity and the chaos we can unleash. It is well known that Godzilla is basically a big metaphor for the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but this time, the creature not only carries the nuclear significance but also carries with itself the horror of the war and how that impacted the lives of the Japanese citizens.
The Godzilla that we see in Minus One is not the savior from the Legendary series of movies or the savior of the late Showa era films, no. This Godzilla is a monster that is chasing a country that has been beaten down by the defeat of war that went over their heads. The war might be over, but the consequences will change those who played a part in it forever. Minus One focuses its human story from this angle, and it makes for one of the most compelling human stories ever seen in a Godzilla film.
Godzilla Minus One Movie Review: Star Performance
It is well known that the Godzilla franchise is not the best when it comes to creating human characters. As the series progressed, the movie devolved into creating excuses to watch the monsters fight, and most of the human characters, with some exceptions, became quite an underwhelming element in the films. Shin Godzilla changed that in a more “big picture” kind of way, showing the importance of human collaboration and ingenuity when facing a crisis. Minus One does the same but from a different perspective.
The human story of the movie focuses on the character of Koichi, a young soldier being chased by the war that just ended. He and other characters will try to survive the rampage that Godzilla unleashed over the city of Tokyo, but more than in any other Godzilla movie, the main character feels like someone worth following and rooting for. The emotional core of the film is unexpected, but it clearly comes from the work that Kamiki and his colleague actors display throughout the movie. If only we could get something like this every single time.
Godzilla Minus One Movie Review: Direction, Music
It is unexpected to find a Godzilla film that is quite strong in the story and visual fronts, and while it is not entirely true, we could point out that Minus One’s director, Takashi Yamazaki, is responsible for focusing the efforts of all the departments and delivering such a strong result. Yamazaki just had the perfect background to handle a project such as this. He comes from the world of genre filmmaking, which includes works both in animation and live-action. Watching Godzilla Minus One and knowing the director’s past works feels like the culmination of a long journey for the filmmaker.
The fact that Godzilla Minus One was done with a budget of around $15 million puts to shame most of the recent Hollywood films, which result in the use of hundreds of millions of dollars only to look and feel empty of any soul or meaning. Yamazaki does an amazing job of squeezing all the resources at his disposal. Naoki Sato, who has worked many times with Yamazaki, also delivers a fantastic score that mixes both the old and the new to give the film just enough nostalgic feeling without ever using it as a crutch.
Godzilla Minus One Movie Review: The Last Word
Godzilla Minus One proves once again that big tent-pole filmmaking is not Hollywood’s playground. The release of films such as this and RRR from India keep establishing the fact that blockbusters can be done at a high level of quality in many other countries outside the Hollywood machine. Godzilla Minus One will surely become one of the most successful Japanese Godzilla films, and it will be well deserved. The final product is the result of passion and love for filmmaking. Godzilla could not be in better hands.
Godzilla Minus One Trailer
Godzilla Minus One releases on December 10, 2023.
Share with us your experience of watching Godzilla Minus One.
For more recommendations, read our Wonka Movie Review here