‘Godzilla: Minus One’ takes the franchise to a new level

Believe it or not, “Godzilla: Minus One” does not contain a single shot with its titular giant monster in frame during its entire length. However, I was far from disappointed. Everyone in that packed opening night theater was crying and applauding when the credits rolled, and one fact stood out — this is one of the best movies of the year. 

The movie is packed with stunning and heartbreaking scenes. My favorite was when the lead character, Kōichi, cries in the arms of his partner due to his recurring nightmares and severe PTSD from being a failed kamikaze pilot during the second world war. It rips you apart and as I sat there trying to catch my breath, I realized that this movie was something far more than what it seemed on the surface. 

This is the first Godzilla movie to ever make me cry. That’s how special and emotional this film is. I am going to see it as many times as I can and I encourage any fan of cinema to go in with an open mind.

I’m serious. Don’t let the big lizard fool you. This film is more than that. If you were to take him out of the movie, you are left with an incredibly well-written story about one man’s struggle to keep everything he has left due to his own PTSD. Kōichi’s personal journey is reflected in a perfectly made period piece about a post-WWII Japan recovering from the aftermath of the atom bomb.

In the 70-year history of Godzilla, there has never been a movie like this. I’ve never been emotionally attached to its human characters, nor have I ever rooted harder for them. 

The acting is phenomenal, and there are at least three performances worthy of Oscar attention. Writer and director Takashi Yamazaki treated this movie as a love letter to what Godzilla initially symbolized: nuclear war and devastation. “Minus One” is essentially a remake of the original “Godzilla” from 1954, although I would argue that this movie supersedes it by offering superior writing and characters. The films share the same release date to pay tribute to the origin of this franchise. 

I have avoided discussing Godzilla in detail because I do not want to spoil his impact on the movie. All I will say is that he is the most terrifying he has ever been. He is mean, he is horrific and he is the most unlikeable Godzilla since the original — in a good way, of course. No longer an antihero who keeps mankind in check while also defending them from total destruction, this Godzilla takes us back to the indestructible force of nature he was first introduced as, and all of his screen time is glorious. 

My favorite scene involved him chasing a small fisher boat and it had my heart racing. They also, for the first time in a long time, gave us an origin story for Godzilla. His first appearance in the movie threw me off due to its timing and unique nature.

I also want to praise the marketing team for their hard work in advertising the movie. The entire second half of the film was kept out of trailers. It made me very anxious realizing everything we were about to see going forward had not been teased yet. I also cannot leave this review without noting that I very much appreciate the beautiful score. Bringing back Akira Ifukube’s iconic theme was a delightful crowd-pleasing moment. 

This is the first Godzilla movie to ever make me cry. That’s how special and emotional this film is. I am going to see it as many times as I can and I encourage any fan of cinema to go in with an open mind. I really hope that this film is recognized as an achievement like “Parasite” or “Roma” and actually gets Oscar attention. It deserves it.

I’m not just saying this because I’ve been obsessed with Godzilla since I was five-years-old. This movie is so much more than that. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cheer, it made me scream in fright. It is special. The praise it is getting across the world isn’t just there for marketing. It is quite simply a true modern day masterpiece. Go see it. 


5/5 Stars




Featured photo courtesy of @Godzilla_Toho, X