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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Godzilla Minus One': A Spectacle-Rich Japanese Reintroduction to the Iconic Kaiju Behemoth

Movie poster for Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One (2023) is a spectacle-rich Japanese monster movie that begins in 1945, in the days following the cessation of World War II. The film stars Ryunosuke Kamiki as Kōichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot haunted by memories of war while carrying the crushing weight of survivor's guilt. Shikishima's world crumbles further when Godzilla, a monstrous manifestation of the nation's collective trauma, rises from the ashes of war threatening to devour the remnants of Tokyo.

Shikishima finds himself aboard a minesweeper tasked with disposing of naval mines alongside a band of fellow war survivors. These men, burdened by the horrors they witnessed and the loved ones they lost, now face the seemingly impossible task of attempting to deter the unstoppable force of Godzilla. Former naval engineer Kenji Noda (Hidetaka Yoshioka), devises a daring plan to stop Godzilla through the detonation of freon tanks—his plan abetted by the heroic actions of Shikishima in a near-suicidal effort to save his people from the monstrous titan's wrath.

Written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Takashi Yamazaki (The Fighter Pilot, Stand by Me Doraemon), Godzilla Minus One is an adroit and well-crafted ode to the grand monster movies of yesteryear. Takashi balances immense spectacle with the nuanced inner lives of his human characters, delivering a rich exploration of trauma and human redemption. Featuring spectacular, Academy Award-winning visual effects created on a budget of just $15 million, Takashi's film is as much a thrilling adventure as it is a poignant depiction of the enduring fight for a future free from the shackles of the past.


Watch the trailer:


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