Thursday 21 December 2023

REVIEW: Godzilla Minus One (2023 Film) - Starring Ryunosuke Kamiki

Review by Jon Donnis
Godzilla Minus One, directed, written, and visually crafted by Takashi Yamazaki, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Godzilla franchise. This 2023 Japanese epic kaiju film marks the 37th installment in the series and the fifth film in the Reiwa era, delivering a unique blend of gripping human drama and awe-inspiring kaiju spectacle.

At its core, Godzilla Minus One distinguishes itself by placing the spotlight on human resilience and sacrifice, a departure from the typical Hollywood CGI-driven Godzilla adaptations. The film delves into the emotional aftermath of World War II, crafting a narrative that explores the impact of tragedy, survivor's guilt, and the unwavering human spirit.

With Japan already devastated by World War 2 a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, you know the story by now I am sure. Godzilla is mutated and empowered by the United States' nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and then attacks Japan. In this version of the Godzilla story, Godzilla is just a cold blooded monster. Can he be stopped?

Despite a presumably limited budget, the visual effects in Godzilla Minus One are commendable, harking back to the traditional Japanese Godzilla films that captivated audiences for decades. The filmmakers' emphasis on practical effects adds an authentic touch, making it a refreshing departure from the reliance on computer-generated imagery seen in many contemporary blockbusters.

The engaging human stories seamlessly anchor the film's spectacular kaiju action, resulting in a truly compelling cinematic experience from start to finish. Godzilla Minus One manages to strike a delicate balance between sweeping spectacle and tense action while delving into the nuanced themes of war and loss.

Ryunosuke Kamiki delivers a poignant performance as Kōichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot haunted by his past. The ensemble cast, including Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, and others, contributes significantly to the film's emotional depth.

The film's portrayal of Godzilla as the scariest yet adds a layer of intensity to the narrative, enhancing the stakes and making each encounter with the iconic monster a nerve-wracking experience. Godzilla Minus One effectively evokes emotion from a vulnerable period in Japan's history, creating a connection between the audience and the characters on screen.

The film's score, composed by Naoki Satō, complements the narrative impeccably, heightening tension and emotion at crucial moments. The meticulous attention to detail in the film's effects, screenplay, set and sound design, cinematography, and character development collectively contribute to its excellence.

While Godzilla Minus One impressively manages to deliver a compelling story with its modest $15 million budget, one cannot help but wonder if a larger budget would have allowed for even more ambitious visuals. However, it's equally plausible that a bigger budget might have compromised the intimate human emotion and storytelling that sets this film apart.

In conclusion, Godzilla Minus One earns a well-deserved 9 out of 10. It not only stands as the best Godzilla film ever made, in my opinion, but also exemplifies the power of storytelling and human resilience in the face of unimaginable challenges. Takashi Yamazaki's masterful direction, coupled with the stellar cast and a well-crafted narrative, cements this film as a kaiju masterpiece.

Out Now in UK Cinemas.
You can also buy the films official soundtrack at