“GODZILLA MINUS ONE” (2023) | Film Review

“GODZILLA MINUS ONE” (2023) | Film Review

8. July 2024 Off By Thorsten Boose

Reference to Jackie Chan: none available

“Anyone who has survived a war should be allowed to live their life.”

Godzilla turns 70 and to celebrate the popular film monster, Japan is releasing this blockbuster with ‘GODZILLA MINUS ONE’ (2023), which keeps viewers entertained with both successful CGI and an emotional story.

Let’s start at the beginning: After the Great War ends in 1945, Japan finds itself in ruins. The deserted kamikaze pilot KOICHI returns home to find that his family has not survived. Remorse and nightmares punish the young man.

He finds solace in a strange young woman who picked up and cared for an abandoned infant during the war. She also transfers the love of the young mother of choice to her new husband, who has bitter survivor’s guilt.

“You’re alive, Koichi. You must feel that,’ is the sentence that stays in the viewer’s heart and memory. ‘GODZILLA MINUS ONE’ not only tells a story about an angry monster, but above all many stories of many Japanese who, after surrendering in the Second World War, are immediately faced with the next most important decision in their lives, namely to fight monsters of unknown origin.

Godzilla destroys Japan

This is where the plot gets a little tricky. Because according to the remaining ex-military personnel, Japan no longer has the capacity to fight. And the Americans would not intervene so as not to provoke a Soviet counterattack. Understandable. But why doesn’t anyone ask where Godzilla actually comes from or what it is?

In this Godzilla film, too, the radioactive primeval monster symbolises the dangerous atomic age, the start of which is often attributed in retrospect to the invention and dropping of bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. So it’s no wonder that Godzilla in Japanese pop culture grew out of Japan’s guilt for surviving and coming to terms with its own atrocities in the past, and is now directed against its own population.

A romantic, macabre metaphor for how a nation defines itself, scourges itself and tries to deal with the demons of the past. This becomes particularly clear in the scene when soldiers and civilians salute the fallen enemy together at sea – it is also a salute to all those who died in the Great War.

‘GODZILLA MINUS ONE’ is a good film, a film about human destructiveness, healing love, strangeness and tradition, and it tries to bring a little healing to the soul of the Japanese. ‘Is your personal war over now, Koichi?’ Is it? Unfortunately, there are deductions for the monster’s badly animated staring eyeballs.

A whopping 7 out of 10 stars

Original trailer | “GODZILLA MINUS ONE” (2023)

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