The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘Godzilla Minus One’ contains awesome carnage, humanizes characters well

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Godzilla in 2023 film “Godzilla Minus One.”

“Godzilla Minus One” is the newest Japanese-produced Godzilla film since 2016’s “Shin Godzilla” and the latest entry in Toho Company’s “Reiwa” era of the Godzilla franchise.

The movie acts as a fresh start for the series, taking place in post-World War II Japan, where kamikaze pilot Kōichi Shikishima (Kamiki Ryunosuke) is shaken by both the war and survivor’s guilt brought on by an attack by Godzilla.

As years pass by since Godzilla’s last appearance, the people of Japan slowly begin to return to how things were before the war. 

However, the return of Godzilla caused the people of Japan, including Shikishima, to band together to defeat the creature without the help of the Japanese and American governments. 

The movie excels at telling this story that not only shows off the power and might of Godzilla but also demonstrates how when united toward a greater cause, people can do anything. 

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Alongside this is an overarching theme of survival and fighting for a purpose greater than one’s self: the well-being of others.  

“Godzilla Minus One” also takes its time introducing its human counterparts and fleshing out and developing its characters. 

When the time finally arrives for a battle with the monster, the viewer becomes invested in what the outcome may be for these characters and hopes for nothing but their survival and success.

With Shikishima’s character, he is not only terrorized by visions of Godzilla and the people murdered by the monster but also by the fact that he did nothing to save them. Because of this, he states throughout the film that his “war isn’t finished yet.” 

These visions cause him to question whether or not he is even alive and if he is worth living due to his choices. This moral dilemma makes Shikishima a compelling character and viewers can understand the position he is in and why he is divided on the decisions he has to take.

As for the kaiju himself, Godzilla’s new design looks amazing and amalgamates the best parts of previous movies’ designs. 

Where Godzilla’s design in “Shin Godzilla” is a grotesque and horrifying victim of the hydrogen bomb, Godzilla’s new design in “Godzilla Minus One” is a return to basics with a design that is visually simpler in comparison and reminiscent of the early designs of Godzilla.

There are no stages of evolution involved with this Godzilla; instead, this iteration has a similar stance and build to the designs found in the “Heisei” period of Godzilla. His dorsal fins are also larger and sharper just like the designs found in 2000’s “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” and 2002’s “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.”

The sound design of Godzilla is also a great addition to the movie, as it adds a layer of eeriness to the movements and actions Godzilla takes. 

For example, when Godzilla performs his classic roar, the noise is loud enough to cause viewers to tremble in their seats. 

The movie would have benefited from more scenes of Godzilla causing more havoc, but for what it’s worth, the scenes viewers do get with the monster are fun and impressive when they see his path of destruction throughout Japan.

In one particular scene, Godzilla reemerges and begins to attack Ginza, and the path of destruction he leaves is astonishing as he leaves nothing behind. Each step he takes either leaves an enormous dent or leaves the ground up as a whole. Godzilla then uses his atomic breath and, in an instant, everything in the vicinity of the creature is blown away instantly.

“Godzilla Minus One” is a viciously fun movie that also manages to be inspiring enough to make viewers care for the fate of the characters. 

The movie also sets the bar high for future entries of the long-running franchise for the “King of the Monsters.” Should you get the chance to watch “Godzilla Minus One” in theaters, watch it on the biggest screen with the most powerful speakers, because this is one kaiju of a movie.


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