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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Got to see Godzilla Minus One last night

Many years ago an idea hit for a Godzilla movie.  There are strong doubts that I'll ever get to make it but the notion still occupies my mind whenever a film about kaiju is released.  My idea for a Godzilla film is to set it in Japan in 1954, the year the original film came out.  To treat Godzilla as a force of nature like an earthquake or tsunami.  Shoot the movie in black and white like Schindler's List.  And throughout the film it cuts to the modern day (or maybe it's the Nineties or Aughts) with survivors of the attack sharing their perspectives.  Just like the "witnesses" that were seen throughout Warren Beatty's Reds.  It would have been as close to a documentary-style film about a Godzilla attack as would be possible.

As I said, I don't expect that film to be made (or maybe someone at Toho will read this post and decide it's a good idea, in which case I will cheerfully say "Do it!").  But if that doesn't happen then I will be perfectly happy with Godzilla Minus One, which I was able to catch last night.


Godzilla Minus One is, absolutely, the Godzilla film that I have been hoping to see for a very long time now.  Yes, here is a movie that treats Godzilla as he should be: a natural disaster on ginormous legs and breathing atomic fire.  There is no bargaining with such a force of nature.  You can only do your best to brace for the destruction in its wake.  And maybe it's just me but I've long thought that Godzilla should not be endlessly fighting other kaiju.  The tendency there is that Godzilla becomes a nigh-unstoppable force for good... which runs fully counter to his character.

Let me be succinct: Godzilla Minus One is the Godzilla movie we didn't know we needed and thought we would never get.

The film begins in 1945, in the closing days of World War II.  Which I loved.  Setting the movie in postwar Japan is perfect for a Godzilla story and it immediately ups the stakes, what with the country just then beginning to recover from incendiary air raids and the two atomic blasts.  Just when the people of Japan think they might really be on the high road away from devastation, here comes Godzilla to make things even worse.

I'm stopping short of calling this post a proper "review".  It's more of just a blunt reaction piece.  Godzilla Minus One is a movie that you are going to want to go in cold when you watch it.  This movie was a sheer and quite moving delight that hearkens back and brings freshly to the fore all the qualities that one would expect from a serious Godzilla motion picture.  I had a blast (no pun intended) watching this movie and I think most of the people reading this will come away from seeing it feeling much the same.  WELL worth finding a good theater to see this movie in.

I'll close with this: No, I haven't seen Oppenheimer yet.  Real-life events have conspired me prevent me from seeing any movie this year up 'til now, with the exception of this past summer's Indiana Jones film.  But I could definitely see Godzilla Minus One being a serious awards contender.  It's a film as beautiful in its acting and cinematography as it is massive in scope.  In a perfect world this movie would be up for Best Picture at the Oscars in a few months.

If so, the gang at Toho Pictures will have well deserved it.


Anonymous said...

Got to see this a few nights ago. Great Godzilla movie. Best one since the original Gojira.