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Godzilla Minus One Review


Toho Studios, creators of Godzilla, have crushed, demolished, and set ablaze all expectations with their new film, Godzilla Minus One.

This new kaiju film is the first by Toho since 2016’s Shin Godzilla and like Shin Godzilla, acts as a sort of reboot of Godzilla’s story. 

Godzilla Minus One is a kaiju film set in the 1940s, in the shadow of the Second World War. The movie follows Koichi Shikishima, a kamikaze pilot who defected and fled from duty. 

Soon after landing on Odo Island, he witnesses a giant monster start to destroy the outpost. When ordered to shoot at the monster, he freezes up and witnesses what the locals have named “Godzilla” kill almost everybody on the island. 

He returns home to find his home destroyed and his parents dead from American air raids. Shikishima runs into a woman named Noriko, also orphaned from the attacks, taking care of a baby that she found in the destruction.

Over time they start a life together raising this child, and Shikishima finds work for the government where he has to disarm mines in the ocean left behind by the war. It is here that he finds that Godzilla has not only returned but has grown bigger since their last encounter.

With Godzilla’s sights now set on destroying Tokyo, the veterans left behind from the war must form a plan to stop the king of the monsters.

While both Godzilla Minus One and Shin Godzilla are reboots of the original Godzilla story, Minus One takes a more straightforward and classic approach while Shin Godzilla is set in modern times and is more of an artsy horror film.

Godzilla Minus One is an incredible look at Japan’s fall after the second world war. Godzilla himself is a well-written metaphor for Shikishima’s guilt as well as a warning against the use of nuclear weapons, much like the first film in 1954. The film shows how desolate and hopeless but also how resilient and strong the Japanese people were after the events of World War II. This movie accomplishes what seems impossible with kaiju movies in that the human plot is just as entertaining as the scenes with the big scary monster destroying buildings. Both parts of the story seem equally important to each other and can’t exist without the other. As a long-time Godzilla fan, I cannot recommend this film enough. Godzilla Minus One is a tragic, but epic tale of guilt, loss, and strength that snuck in at the very last minute to be my personal movie of the year for 2023.

Godzilla Minus One is out now in theaters worldwide.v

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