Godzilla Minus One

I’m just going to go ahead and say it.  Godzilla Minus One is the best Godzilla movie that’s ever been put out.  They are fighting words for sure, but I am not kidding.  This film is GLORIOUS as a new metaphor is created from the ashes of the old films. Fans of the original series of Toho films will love every minute of this film as Kōichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki) finds himself a reason to continue living after he abandons his kamikaze duties and then, quite unexpectedly, survives the initial Godzilla attack . . . in which he freezes again. 

And that reason has everything to do with the king of the monsters.

"this perfect entry in the entertaining (yet wildly wacky and uneven) Godzilla franchise tops all the other efforts from Toho"

Shikishima’s redemption is long fought . . . and truly a most human experience as time itself has its way with the poor soul who feels disappointment for not slamming his plane into an American ship.  From an unexpected family to a post-war job of collecting mines from the ocean, Shikishima is in for one wild post-war bump when Godzilla makes his second appearance. 

Our atomic meddling has created a living and breathing and regenerating monster!

Written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki (Parasite), this perfect entry in the entertaining (yet wildly wacky and uneven) Godzilla franchise tops all the other efforts from Toho because it goes back to the beginning and spends its time telling a very human story - as no nation’s army can be involved in this post-war narrative for fear of breaking treatise and further complicating messes already made - as the prehistoric mutated monster we all know and love makes its first appearance on land.

It might be sacrilege and it might be impossible to quantify the statement of it being the very best Godzilla film, but the joy and the tension felt throughout this film is damned impressive.  The artistry on display - from the homages to the original film from 1954 straight on up to the bombastic use of Akira Ifukube’s classic Godzilla theme - are on point and, so too, is the reimagining of this walking and stomping monster as metaphor thanks to some awesome effects, some in-camera tricks, and a whole lot of emotional hand-wringing. 

And don’t even get me started on how much this film didn’t cost to make.  Hollywood ought to be ashamed of itself.  Honestly.  This film, as my son says, is sick.  It downright slays as a very emotional story takes center stage and then has to combat the three or four attacks from this radiation-bathing beast.  That’s right, Toho’s 33rd Godzilla film cost less than $15 million to make.  Damn.  And it’s cleaning up at the box office, too. Godzilla Minus One

And, seriously, the story told here as one failed kamikaze pilot tries to redeem himself in the face of Godzilla’s arrival is worthy of every ounce of fear, tension, and emotion that it brings forth.  There’s a makeshift family involved, thanks to the presence of Noriko (Minami Hamabe) and the orphaned little girl she brings along with her.  And then there’s Shikishima’s team on the mine removal job.

And then there’s Godzilla itself.  The design here is in keeping with the spirit of the original and it works to carry both a nationalistic and an emotional sentiment as that roar - you know the one - carries us into yet another adventure full of bombed-out locales and a regenerating monster full of atomic fury.

Godzilla Minus One is now stomping its massive thighs through your city.  Go catch it.

5/5 stars

Film Details

Godzilla Minus One

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
124 mins
: Takashi Yamazaki
Takashi Yamazaki
Minami Hamabe; Ryunosuke Kamiki; Sakura Ando
: Action | Drama | Adventure

Memorable Movie Quote: "is your war finally over"
Theatrical Distributor:
Toho International
Official Site: https://tickets.godzilla.com/
Release Date:
December 1, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Godzilla Minus One presents a new focus for the saga and is set in a devastated post-war Japan. It follows the country still recovering from the scars of the past as a new threat appears, and it asks the question of what happens when a disarmed and defenseless Japan encounters Godzilla.


Godzilla Minus One