Godzilla Minus One Review
Godzilla Minus One (2023) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki and starring Minami Hanabe, Sakura Ando, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Munetaka Aoki, Kuranosuke Sasaki, Michael Arias, Yuya Endo and Kisuke Iida.
There is a defining moment of the type of movie Godzilla Minus One is. It comes late in the film when there is great dramatic tension regarding whether or not Godzilla will finally be killed. Director Takashi Yamazaki shows us a key character named Kenji Noda (Hidetaka Yoshioka)’s hair blowing in the wind as the fate of the monster hangs in the balance. It is overly dramatic moments like this that define the picture’s tone and its willingness to always try to keep the audience in suspense as to whether or not our heroes in the movie will save the day. There’s only two possible outcomes to the plot here: Godzilla either lives or he dies by film’s end.
Yamazaki keeps the cheesiness from the old films intact while also generating some emotional moments that are also heavy on dramatics but are still satisfying from a cinematic standpoint. This feels like the Titanic of monster movies, only the characters aren’t as perfectly defined as they could have been. Still, creature feature fans will enjoy seeing Godzilla wreck havoc on post war 1940’s Japan.
The central star of the show is a pilot named Koichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki). His character meets a woman called Noriko (Minami Hamabe) in the early stages of the movie. Noriko is on the run and hands him a baby. When the coast clears, Koichi and Noriko reunite and he discovers that Noriko is not the mother of the child. This couple forms a bond that becomes very moving and a family unit is soon formed by the couple and the baby. Leave it to Godzilla to get in the way as he stomps through the streets killing anyone who gets in his way with those over-sized feet of his. He’s got spikes coming out of his back and takes no prisoners.
Of course, when Noriko saves Koichi by pushing him to the side in the wake of Godzilla’s wrath, the poor Noriko seems to sacrifice her life for the love of her life. Later on, the little girl the couple was taking care of cries as it is said that mommy has had to go away for “work.” This movie soon becomes about the attempts to take down Godzilla which will ultimately lead to a pièce de résistance set at sea as the men in the film try to take Godzilla out once and for all with their detailed strategic planning.
Many audiences will appreciate the very heavy music which is surprisingly dramatically satisfying though it could have provoked laughter if the movie wasn’t taking itself so seriously. This musical tension perfectly complements the scenes of a radioactively affected Godzilla stomping and chomping. Godzilla comes into the movie pretty quickly. This is not the original Jurassic Park where you have to wait forty-five minutes to see a dinosaur. The new picture follows Koichi’s attempts to get revenge on the monster for destroying his family and killing the love of his life.
Kamiki is perfectly cast as Koichi, giving his character rebellious characteristics that make him feel like a genuine movie hero. Though her role is cut short early on, Minami Hamabe is a fine Noriko who has a heart of gold and loves her family. Sakura Ando also shines in a supporting role as Sumika Ota, a family friend.
This movie isn’t about the acting, though. It’s about the special effects. Godzilla takes center stage and he has been crafted with tremendous attention to detail. His scaly body and beady eyes help create the definitive monster that we can’t wait to see get his just desserts for causing so many untimely deaths. The last twenty-five minutes of the movie are simply phenomenal, including that heavy dramatic moment where a key character’s hair blows away as we all wonder who will survive the wrath of Godzilla and whether or not the monster can be brought down to the bottom of the sea to never surface above water again.
Godzilla Minus One is really good but won’t necessarily appeal to people who aren’t fans of the old classic movies. There are too many inside jokes even though, for the most part, the movie takes itself deadly seriously. Fans of the prior Godzilla films will recognize the homages that are being paid to the other movies throughout the duration of this new picture. This is one entertaining Godzilla picture, though. It doesn’t skimp out on creature effects and has a well developed plot even though its a bit threadbare in terms of its general structure. Who goes to a movie like this for the structure of the plot development, though? We just want to see Godzilla fall down to the ground and stop his nonsense already. Godzilla Minus One offers some genuine thrills along the way as our heroes try to put an end to his horrific attacks. Old creature feature fans will enjoy it more than folks new to Godzilla movies, though.
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