An unmissable monster film

An unmissable monster film

Review: Godzilla Minus One

Fresh from its cinematic run in Japan, the acclaimed latest Godzilla movie quietly dropped on Netflix earlier in June. A bold rebuilding of the franchise from the beginning, Godzilla Minus One is a thoughtful monster flick that returns the series to its practical FX roots. 
Set shortly after Japan’s crushing defeat in World War Two, Godzilla Minus One centres on a former fighter pilot, Kōichi Shikishima. Instead of dying in battle, he instead falsely claims that his engine has a fault. Before his lie can be confronted, Godzilla arrives and destroys everything. Returning to his hometown to find his family have been lost to the war, Kōichi meets Noriko, a young woman who has taken in Akiko, her adopted daughter. Together, they form a supportive, if unconventional family, putting their lives back together alongside one another.  
As Japan rebuilds, and with it, people put their lives back together, Godzilla remains a threat, lurking on the horizon with the potential to set everything back and destroy it all.  
Godzilla Minus One nicely combines the practical effects from the series’ past with CGI generated special effects. There are some spectacular set pieces showing Tokyo rebuilding, only to be torn apart again. The film’s visuals alone make it worth watching, and the film received Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards.  

This is far from a mindless monster film, however, and the film explores the theme of sacrifice, whether it is called for, and the ability of people to pull together to face great odds. Director Takashi Yamazaki previously suggested that his intention for the film was to capture a sense of horror and foreboding in how he presented the kaiju:  

Postwar Japan has lost everything. The film depicts an existence that gives unprecedented despair. The title Godzilla Minus One was created with this in mind. In order to depict this, the staff and I have worked together to create a setting where Godzilla looks as if ‘fear’ itself is walking toward us, and where despair is piled on top of despair. I think this is the culmination of all the films I have made to date, and one that deserves to be ‘experienced’ rather than ‘watched’ in the theater. 

Beginning at a time when the Japanese could not depict nuclear weapons on screen, the Godzilla franchise has always sought to explore the horrors of mass destruction within a monster movie setting. Perhaps more so than any other film in the franchise, Godzilla Minus One showcases trauma and bravery in the wake of destruction. With the film now conveniently available to all Netflix subscribers, it deserves a wide audience to experience its beautifully rendered carnage. 

Godzilla Minus One is streaming now on Netflix 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top