Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Godzilla Minus One

That was wicked man.

I'm kinda friggin' stunned, I mean what a time to be a Godzilla fan! We are two for two on japanese produced Godzilla films being released here in the States. Can you even believe it was 7 years ago when Shin Gojira came out? That is a luxury any veteran Godzilla fan in the US never had, and I really want to say thank you Toho for tapping the american market, because kaiju and tokusatsu films are niche even in Japan and are a hell of a lot more so here. If it's not transparently apparent I loved this film and there is a great deal I want to talk about and now it's a more of a task to remember everything I want to say rather than be in fear of spoilers. We set the wayback machine even before 1954, in the wake of the end of the second world war where we meet an air pilot named Koichi who when taking repairs on Odo island comes face to face with a dinosaur turned monster the islanders call Gojira. He thankfully survives and returns home dealing with the aftermath of such a sight, the defeat of Japan, and ghosts that he has to make peace with while slowly rebuilding his life, but oh dear atomic testing in the Bikini Atoll has scarred the creature and he's making a B-line straight to Tokyo Bay, leading to a non-military group to formulate a plan to stop the terrible giant. Pure distilled synopsis, but there is a lot going on in this movie. It easily is way more serious than Shin Gojira, maybe even more so than the 1954 film which may get me in trouble for saying so. It tackles a lot both from a character standpoint and a history standpoint, all of which feels organic to the setting and time period and is executed quite well. You don't need to be a history buff to understand all the inner workings of the landscape of Japan at this point (just go watch D Man1954's video on Minus One history) but it is fascinating stuff. I won't lie to you my jaw was on the floor almost the whole film, I'll say it cause I mean it that Godzilla has never been more terrifying. He was an undeniable force in the first film, he was effectively creepy in Shin Gojira, here he is uhhh...Jesus. The roars, the booming footsteps, the physique, the atomic breath, fear inducing. I'm not sure if it's pure CG or just suitmation digitally touched up or even both, but I like the design. Very 54' appearance with the Legendary type physique, and he moves with the ferocity of a wild animal when he wants to! I kinda like how they go one step beyond the american films and make the dorsal fins slowly light up but also jut out of his back when he does the atomic breath, and when it fires it's fucking doomsday. It damn near reaches Oppenheimer levels of apocalyptic despair but has great uplifting moments and messages that balance it out. Did catch a fair few references though and being the dork that I am I shall list some! To hear several tracks of Akira Ifukube's music in ground shaking surround sound was unreal, we hear the main theme, a track from Mothra Vs. Godzilla, what I like to call the Heisei march, I think you even hear a bit of the underwater music from the 54' movie which is so peaceful and yet so haunting at the same time so that was Kino. Love how after all this time Godzilla is still based on Odo island and we get a nod to the underwater flash you see from the original too. No doubt the film tipped it's hat to Jaws which already was scary as hell now replace Bruce with Godzilla and I was anxious to say the least. Now I would say I loved it more than Shin Gojira on first watch, but I've seen that movie many many times since and the love only increases so we'll have to see where this ends up. A really rock solid human plot that is there for a reason, devastating rampage scenes, very good effects, and another fine addition to the collection nearing 70 years in length. 4 stars, 9/10, go see it Friday when it's out nationwide. And if my calculations are correct we only have two movies left for the year, big time fingers crossed for those so stay tuned.

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