Courtesy of Toho
Godzilla Minus One is the new Godzilla movie from Toho, directed and written by Takashi Yamazaki. This movie is the thirty-third Godzilla movie produced by Toho and it stars Ryunosuke Kamiki and Minami Hamabe. This movie takes place in post-World War II Japan, where the country is still rebuilding from the war and Godzilla comes to cause havoc. A former kamikaze pilot, played by Kamiki, had a previous encounter with Godzilla and is worried that the family he unintentionally created will get destroyed by Godzilla.
It feels like a long time since we got a good Godzilla movie. The first Godzilla from 1954 has been the best Godzilla movie for nearly seventy years. Most Godzilla movies made by Hollywood studios never pan out well. The 2014 Godzilla movie directed by Gareth Edwards was fine but nothing special. It’s also rare for a Toho-produced Godzilla movie to come out in American theaters. I didn’t know until a month ago that Godzilla Minus One was coming out in theaters. While I’ve never been the biggest fan of Godzilla, the trailers for the new movie impressed me, and hearing the positive word of mouth, I went to see it. Coming out of the theater, I was in awe at how fantastic Godzilla Minus One was.
Godzilla Minus One is the best Godzilla movie I have ever seen. The movie, despite having a $15 million budget, managed to have some of the best visuals I have seen in a movie in the last few years. Movies that have come out this year with higher budgets pale in comparison to this movie’s visuals. Godzilla himself looks incredible and the best I have seen him. The action and destruction caused by Godzilla tops anything from any other Godzilla movie. The classic Godzilla theme when the humans confront Godzilla is still iconic and puts viewers on the edge of their seats.
The biggest surprise with Godzilla Minus One is the human characters. The performances of the actors were a lot more powerful than expected. Ryunosuke Kamiki plays Koichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot who comes back home from war to discover his family was killed when the atomic bomb dropped. He meets Noriko Oishi, played by Minami Hamabe, and lets her and the baby she takes in after the atomic bomb dropped stay with him. Shikishima carries a lot of guilt with him, especially because he encounters Godzilla on Odo Island and can’t do anything to stop him, and this guilt affects him throughout the movie. Unlike other Godzilla movies, the main human characters are easy to root for. There are no dumb comedic relief characters that ruin the movie. You care and worry about Godzilla killing these characters.
The movie picked post-World War II for Godzilla to attack, which adds a lot of conflict. Japan was still dealing with its defeat in World War II when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on them. Characters are still dealing with losing everything and rebuilding their lives. The Japanese people are not getting any help from their government or the United States, who are dealing with the Soviet Union in the early years of the Cold War. Godzilla Minus One depicts a post-World War II Japan well. The movie does a great job of building up this conflict.
Overall, Godzilla Minus One triumphs over any Godzilla movie that came before it. The performances are incredible and have given us the best human characters we have seen in a Godzilla movie. Godzilla is terrifying, and the action is great. Hollywood should take notes from this movie on how to make a good Godzilla movie. If you are a big Godzilla fan, you’ll love Godzilla Minus One.
My final grade for Godzilla Minus One is an A+. Not only is it the best Godzilla movie we have gotten, but one of the best movies of 2023. I highly recommend you check out Godzilla Minus One if it’s playing at a theater near you. What are your thoughts on Godzilla Minus One? Let us know in the comments below.