“Godzilla Minus One” has heart and humanity

Fleeing from the brutal conflict of World War II, young Kamikaze pilot Koichi Shikishima lands on an island. While his plane is set to be repaired, he comes face to face with something far worse: a massive creature the Islanders call “Godzilla.”

Released last year on Dec.1 and directed by Takashi Yamazaki, “Godzilla Minus One” has smashed box office reviews, and received multiple awards and near-global acclaim. To put it simply, it’s a Godzilla movie that’s praised for its humanity and heart.  

Koichi, a “coward” in the eyes of his neighbors and country, takes his first steps into his own agency. His world at that point is harsh, only death has been his defining factor. It was his only duty, and he failed. He starts the end of the war with nothing, not even a home. Slowly, as he pulls himself out of that dark place, he finds he is not so alone after all. He finds a job, new companions that encourage him, and for a moment, he looks back at the little family he has and wonders if he can finally be happy if the war is over for him.  

Unfortunately for him, it’s still a Godzilla movie, so the destruction on the island was only the beginning. Now, it’s only a matter of time before everything he’s come to love is at risk of annihilation. Not just his family, but the same country that has judged him to be a deserter. If he cannot learn to stand on his own, there will be nothing left. In his journey of learning to live again, he must put it all on the line this time. Failure is not an option. 

For the first Godzilla movie I’ve seen in years, it was interesting to see it return to its roots, to have a dark, dramatic feeling that the first one had. 

I was so invested in this budding family and their struggles in a post-war society, when Godzilla did show up, it felt more impactful. The destruction carried so much more weight. You feel the fear the people feel when they see him, how strong that influence is. Seeing from the eyes of people who just want to learn to live again after everything they’ve gone through, I found myself rooting for them all. 

Part war drama, part found family, and part monster movie, I think “Godzilla Minus One” brings together the best of all three to create a strong viewing experience. It was the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time.

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