December 2, 2023

Godzilla Minus One - The Big Nuclear Lizard Dominates

The reviews are in and Godzilla Minus One is being hailed as the one of the best, if not THE best, and I have to agree. 

I've been on a Godzilla kick lately as I've been revisiting the older movies and the new Apple TV+ Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. If you haven't seen Monarch, do yourself a favor and do.

But about Minus One. I really went in thinking this was going to be a typical Godzilla movie with tons of carnage and miles of city skyline flattened, but it turns out that Godzilla is not the central character. And that's what makes this movie work.

If you're totally unfamiliar with the premise, basically Godzilla is kicking Japan when it's down right after WWII and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's it in nutshell.

The movie tells the story of a "failed" kamikaze pilot, Koichi, who is one of two survivors of an attack by Godzilla at the end of the war. His cowardice is blamed for the deaths of his comrades and he returns home in shame. There he meets a young woman, Noriko, who is in charge of a baby whose dying mother begged her to save.

The first half of the movie focuses on the relationship these two develop along with the state of Japan after the war. Topics of Japan's government and how the military played upon the soldier's sense of honor in self-sacrifice are backdrops to the characters and action on screen. You have Koichi's shame because he didn't die honorably which in turn makes him feel worthless to those around him. In the end, he finds a way to redeem that honor and it works wonderfully on screen.

It truly is a movie about shame, loss, revenge, and redemption and there is a big nuclear lizard in the movie, too.

Speaking of Godzilla, he doesn't get much screen time in the first part of the movie, but he makes up for it on the second half and when he is on screen he rules the land. It's hard to believe that this movie had a budget of only $15 million. Hollywood needs to take note of this movie for that and the overall way it was written.

There are no end credits, though the end of the movie does leave room for something else to come afterwards, but to me, it's perfect right where it is.

Check it out, if you haven't already, and if you have seen it, let me know what you thought!

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