Godzilla Minus One: best Godzilla movie yet – Review | Films | Entertainment

December 15, 2023
57 Views


Cert 12A

In cinemas now

This isn’t one of Hollywood’s ‘Monsterverse’ flicks where a murkily shot giant lizard gets bogged down in fussy plotting and dreary franchise building.

It’s a standalone and surprisingly low-budget Japanese blockbuster which sees the scaly icon go back to his roots. It’s also the best Godzilla movie I’ve seen.

Made to celebrate the 70th anniversary of his movie debut, the film swaps the bloke in the lizard suit for cutting-edge special effects which look at least $100million pricier than its rumoured $15m budget.

Director and effects wizard Takashi Yamazaki plays to the big fella’s strengths. The trick is to make him utterly terrifying. But a rampaging, radioactive monster with killer breath isn’t enough to hold anyone’s attention for two hours. And Yamazaki stirs in rousing human drama and chewy post-war politics.

Our hero is Koichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a disgraced – in other words, still alive – kamikaze pilot. He ducked out of a suicide mission at the end of the Second World War and, afterwards, returns to a bombed-out Tokyo where he is spat at by one of his neighbours.

His road to redemption begins when he forms a makeshift family with a big-hearted survivor (Minami Hamabe) and an orphaned child. But Koichi is not only haunted by his refusal to die for his emperor but by a previous run-in with the monster at the end of the war.

After he’d sabotaged his engine, he landed at an island fighter plane repair facility. As a then medium-sized Godzilla came ashore, Koichi had him in his machine gun’s sights but didn’t shoot. The beast went on to wipe out scores of engineers with a blast of his red-hot breath.

So, after a now beefed-up Godzilla flattens a Tokyo neighbourhood, Koichi volunteers for a citizen-led defence force. The plan to defeat the ever-growing beast is ingenious and, according to the ex-military scientist in charge, doesn’t rely on unthinking self-sacrifice.

But Koichi, tasked with luring Godzilla into a maritime trap, seems to have developed a death wish.

The action scenes are tense and thrillingly orchestrated and the characters refreshingly three-dimensional.

This Japanese Godzilla tramples its American rivals into the dust.



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