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Godzilla -1: A Return To Form

by Juan-Pablo Pina

“Godzilla Minus One,” written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki. (Toho/TNS)

Ever since emerging from his primal lair in 1954, Godzilla has been a staple of modern media.

Originally the embodiment of the horrors the Japanese witnessed during the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings, the atomic dinosaur has taken many forms like the giant glob of meat that was Shin Godzilla (2016) and the newest version that can be seen in the Monsterverse (2014-now). However, it has been a long time since Godzilla went back to his horrifying roots. But Godzilla’s original creators, TOHO, have decided to fuse modern CGI with the simple terror of the OG. The result? Godzilla: Minus One.

The beginning of the film really is something straight out of something like The Lost World: Jurassic Park or even Jurassic Park 3. And being a huge dinosaur fan, I really liked the vibe. Afterward, the film takes its time in setting up our main character, Kōichi, and the setting: post-WWII Japan. The scars of war are clear and even our lead suffers with a genuinely tragic and even terrifying guilt that is common among war survivors. And unlike many new films, it really makes you root for the characters and feel for them, setting up a very emotional story. All while the audience is just waiting for their favorite nuclear lizard to appear. And when he does, he does not disappoint!

Although smaller than most Godzillas (MO Goji is only 164 ft. tall, Monsterverse Goji is almost 393), this version of the king of the monsters is arguably even more terrifying than the bigger versions. And he immediately makes it very clear that he is unstoppable.

Afterward, he heads for Tokyo, truly paying homage to the 1954 film. It's a scene that does not discriminate in being (very) loud, brash, and terrifying. The VFX is next level and his new design makes the scene something straight out of a nightmare. And when he fires his heat ray, it’s not a “The hero's going to do his special move!” type of scene. Instead, it’s an “Oh no, the villain’s about to use their new attack!” type scene. Following the attack, the movie follows very much in the footsteps of the 1954 film, with the Japanese constructing a plan to defeat Godzilla. And the final confrontation is just *insert chef’s kiss* amazing.

They started playing a redone version of the original theme and, as a Godzilla fan, it made me very happy and hyped. Matter of fact, the entire soundtrack is just incredible, being a conglomeration of both original themes that have been redone and new tracks. Now, some might call this scene anticlimactic although I would say the suspense makes up for it. And it does use a good deal of real science which is something to appreciate. However, being who he is, Godzilla isn’t taken down by science. Instead, the main character finally gets to end his internal war and, subsequently, defeat the king of the monsters.

To summarize, Godzilla: Minus One is a movie that truly lives up to the standards of terror and awe set by the 1954 original. The soundtrack and VFX are simply amazing and the story is something that is both gut-wrenching and amazing. If you like monsters, go watch it. If you like history, go watch it. If you’re even thinking of just watching a movie, go watch it. It’s a masterclass in terror, emotion, and pure epicness.

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Daniel Zukovski
Daniel Zukovski
Dec 20, 2023

Keep up the good work JP! Loving your writing man!

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