Godzilla Minus OneGodzilla Minus One
Year: 2023
Rating: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes / 2.07 hours

While the original Godzilla franchise has been around for 70 years, I must admit that I’ve only ever seen the American versions of this Japanese monster. This includes the travesty that was Godzilla (1998), as well as the much better Monsterverse iterations like Godzilla (2012). Having never seen a Godzilla film in its original Japanese context, I was curious to try Godzilla Minus One (2023) for my first foray into the “official” Godzilla franchise. What I found here was better than I could have ever imagined—and for multiple reasons.

Coming from decades-old movies that used people in rubber suits fighting among miniatures, Godzilla Minus One uses just enough special effects to make the scale of the monster believable. However, this version of Godzilla still looks a bit like the version that had a guy inside a rubber suit. Plot-wise, there are a few great sequences that make this an incredibly solid movie. From the boat chase inspired by Jaws (1975) to Godzilla’s trademark destruction of a major city to the quite intelligent plan to take down the nuclear monster, there is never a dull moment in this film. Underpinning it all is the human element, which is as uplifting as it is (at times) heartbreaking.

Contextually, Godzilla has always been about the nuclear fear that came from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. In this “prequel” to the core Godzilla franchise, Godzilla Minus One follows Kōichi (Ryunosuke Kamiki)—a former kamikaze pilot—after his country was defeated during World War II. Not only did the appearance of Godzilla come at a devastating time for Japan, but it gave them a chance to fight and reclaim their damaged national honor. Ultimately, this film was perhaps the best place for me to come in and experience a true Godzilla movie.

The best Godzilla film I’ve ever seen, I give Godzilla Minus One 5.0 stars out of 5.

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