I had the opportunity to attend a press screening for Godzilla Minus One at Japan Society, and I was blown away. I’ve been a fan of Godzilla for as long as I can remember, and as someone who has consumed so much Godzilla media, I can say that this film does not disappoint. I know this is early in the review, but this is the perfect Godzilla film. Yes, it was that good.
Godzilla Minus One is written and directed by award-winning director Takashi Yamazaki and produced by TOHO Studios. The film takes place just after the war when Japan has no self-defense force or no armaments. The starting point is what happens if Godzilla comes to Japan while it is completely disarmed.
I really loved this movie from beginning to end. What I appreciate about Godzilla Minus One is that it goes back to the roots of what makes Godzilla. The film was able to tell a classic tale while incorporating something new as well. And, the way the film made you feel fear of Godzilla every time he came on screen was amazing, especially when the humans fighting back are from WW2 and there’s not much defenses against the monster.
Godzilla Minus One has masterclass writing. This might be the best written I’ve seen for humans in any Godzilla film. I was really invested in the characters, especially Koichi Shikishima. Every time Godzilla appeared, I just felt bad, because you know things aren’t going to go well for Koichi, it was like he was cursed. This film set the bar high when it comes to writing human characters in a kaiju film.
Going back to Godzilla, the film doesn’t give you the full picture about Godzilla, and leaves some of the backstory a mystery. The movie doesn’t go into detail about Godzilla being made from nuclear radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima, where he comes from, etc. And, with this being the start of the new MonsterVerse from TOHO, I know we’re going to get a lot of mysteries unfold soon. Also, the regeneration abilities and the atomic breath being equivalent to nukes were so cool to see as a fan.
The cast in Godzilla Minus One was incredible. I thought the acting from everyone in this film was stellar overall. I felt like no matter what role someone played in this movie, you just felt the impact on them. Ryunosuke Kamik as Koichi was just so good from beginning to end. I also enjoyed his dynamic with Minami Hamabe (Noriko), they had such amazing chemistry together on screen.
Godzilla Minus One is very well produced. The set designs and practical effects looked amazing. Also, the VFX for Godzilla was top-notch! Godzilla’s new look by blending a classic with a more modern look just works, and it is probably my favorite design of Godzilla so far. The score was also beautifully well done, and I almost lost it hearing a variation of Akira Ifukube’s Godzilla main theme because it was perfectly used every time. I know TOHO is going to raise the bar with the production with a potential sequel in the future.
Godzilla Minus One is the complete package. This film has everything you could want from a Godzilla movie and an amazing start to something new. I have my Godzilla films ranked, so I can confidently say that Godzilla Minus One has dethroned both Shin Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah for me. This is THE best Godzilla film I’ve seen, and one of the best films I’ve seen in 2023.
I highly recommend watching Godzilla Minus One!