Godzilla Minus One, when announced, interested many fans with the involvement of Toho, the Japanese animation production company that created Godzilla. Furthermore, the movie was going to be set after World War II, differing from the first Godzilla movie (1954) which was originally influenced by the Nuclear Holocaust of Hiroshima. Therefore, many fans saw this new movie taking influence from real-world events, and a serious tone that the first movie was able to capture through the mood, atmosphere, and Godzilla himself causing chaos in Japan.
Godzilla, through Legendary Pictures, was seen as an anti-villain in the first movie, where he caused mass destruction in San Francisco but ultimately helped defeat the other monsters who were the true villains. However, in recent installments, Godzilla has been seen as a superhero and the protector of humanity. In Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the most recent movie aside from Godzilla Minus One, Godzilla is seen facing off against other monsters along with King Kong, another misunderstood monster.
There are fans of Legendary Pictures’ depiction of Godzilla, however, some miss the seriousness of other Godzilla movies. When the new film was announced as a more serious version of Godzilla with Toho being involved, it gave fans something to look forward to, myself included. When the first trailer was released for the new film, it made fans even more excited and increased anticipation for the movie’s new design and bleak tone, taking influence from its original design.
After the movie was released on December 1, 2023, in English subtitles, it received an immense amount of praise from both the general public and superfans of Godzilla. The biggest praise about this film was the human characters. Godzilla movies usually have uninteresting human characters, which makes watching the film boring for the majority of the runtime for the average viewer. However, after the release of Godzilla: Minus One, the human characters made every scene interesting, even without Godzilla.
After I watched the film over Christmas break with my family, I left the theater satisfied with my time spent, and so did my family. The film follows Koichi (Kamiki Ryunosuke), a former pilot traumatized by the past events transpired by Godzilla, seeking to defeat Godzilla and rid himself of his demons. I enjoyed Koichi and his struggle throughout the film and was able to sympathize with him as he struggled with the guilt of raising a family in a life-threatening environment.
The actors did a great job and made me care for their characters, even through smaller roles. I also enjoyed the set design which aided in creating a realistic depiction of the mid-1900s. The special effects were impressive and thrilling, with filmmakers making good use of their 15-million-dollar budget. I specifically liked the design of Godzilla–whether watching him in the ocean or walking in the city, he was truly brought to life.
Godzilla Minus One is a must-watch whether you’re a Godzilla fan or not. It’s a great action-packed movie with intentional characters and a smooth storyline sure to be worth your while. So make sure to go check it out!
Photo by Anika De Klerk on Unsplash