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December 08, 2023

Godzilla Minus One: This Is Something!

Big recommendation.

The movie is a big hit so it's being added to more theaters and will have a longer US run.

Godzilla Minus One is extending its U.S. theatrical run, giving people more time to schedule a date to see the legendary kaiju on the big screen.

The official X/Twitter account for Toho's Godzilla Minus One announced that the King of Monsters would be running rampant in select theaters for a little longer, with the film's limited run now being extended to include over 2,500 locations in the U.S. and Canada starting December 8 through to (at least) December 14.

There are three audiences here: Godzilla fans, and those who watch a lot of sci-fi and genre content, and those who don't.

I don't have to mention the film to Godzilla fans. It's the best Godzilla movie, I hear. I'm sure they've already seen it.

For those who do watch of lot of sci-fi, superhero, action, heroic fiction genre movies -- this should be an automatic watch. Go see it. This has been a bad year for all movies and there haven't been many good genre movies. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is the only good one I can remember off the top of my head. So definitely, if you like that type of blockbuster popcorn-chomper, see this movie. It's very good.

The story is good, the characters are good, the special effects are shockingly good (this movie allegedly cost... $15 million), the destruction is not just spectacular but visceral and impactful -- Godzilla is not a clown, he is a terrifying force of nature.

The other possible audience is those who don't usually watch a lot of genre content and who wouldn't usually even think of watching a Godzilla movie.

Would I recommend it to them, too?

Yeah, I think I would.

First of all, I'm not a Godzilla fan myself. I the Toho (Japanese studio) sixties and seventies movies when I was a kid and all but I don't bother with the eighties and more recent Toho stuff. I've heard that Shin Godzilla was really good, for example, but I never bothered to watch it, because, like, who cares? I'm not a Godzilla guy.

I only half-watched some of the Legendary (American studio) ones. Like, I skipped the Legendary Godzilla, fast-fowarded to the fights in the King of the Monsters one. I did watch Skull Island (didn't like it) and Kong vs. Godzilla (did kind of like it, despite its goofiness).

Anyway, my qualifications as a non-Godzilla fan established, it's a good movie and most non-Godzilla fans will like it. Think of it as a disaster survival movie, where the disaster that must be survived just happens to take the form of Godzilla. If you'd watch a disaster survival movie, then you should consider watching this.

As many have said, it's a very emotional and human movie. The heart of the movie is are a man and a woman who've both lost their families to the American bombing of Tokyo. The woman had a baby pushed into her arms by a dying woman, and has been running around bombed-out Tokyo ever since, stealing powered milk to keep the baby alive. Against the wishes of the male hero, they form an artificial family. It's one you root for and worry for when the destruction comes. I confess that even though I was very aware on an intellectual level that I was being manipulated, I was misty-eyed throughout about half of the movie.

The male hero, Koicho, is a kamikaze pilot first seen landing his Zero on a dirtstrip runway on a jungle island. A caption tells us: The Final Days of the War. He tells the mechanics on the island that he had to abandon his mission due to mechanical problems, but his plane is in perfect condition: He lost his nerve and refused to kill himself for Japan. He loathes himself and thinks he has nothing to offer the world. He has a very bad case of survivor's guilt and thinks he should be dead. And that belief is reinforced when he gets back to Tokyo, where he's told by one woman, "My children died because of your cowardice."

Along with the woman Noriko and the baby Akiko, they get by scavaging in a bombed-out Tokyo.

And then come reports from the American occupying force of a gargantuan sea creature which has sunk a battleship. The movie offers a not-very-convincing reason why the American occupying force won't be handling the sea creature -- "the Soviets will object if they see the Americans making any maneuvers" -- meaning it's up to the disarmed Japanese to handle it themselves.

That explanation isn't very strong, but, shrug, obviously a Japanese movie is going to feature Japanese characters as its main heroes, not American occupiers.

The subtitles are a non-issue; they're on the screen long enough that you can read them easily, then get your eyes back on to the screen. Also, their are barely any subtitles at all in the big spectacular parts where you want to just be looking at the visuals. The subtitles come during the human interaction moments.

The movie takes the human relationships seriously, so when their lives are threatened -- and they are seriously threatened -- it's genuine drama. Much more drama that you'd imagine a Godzilla movie would deliver.

The movie looks pretty realistic. Godzilla is CGI, but I think what they did is film a guy in the classic rubber suit, then put a CGI skin over him and incorporate him into CGI sets of the city and the ocean. It looks good. Even though he moves like the classic rubber-suit monster, that's not a fault of the special effects, that's a choice -- they want to make him look like the classic monster. Just a more realistic version of that.

Sometimes he moves more like a real giant lizard with motion blur, when they want to show his speed.

They also use the very classic Godzilla roar and the very classic Godzilla music.

I do think that people who never, ever thought they would like a Godzilla movie will like this. I can't tell you what a joy it is to see a movie that doesn't undermine every single moment of human emotion with a trash quip. It's not afraid to make you feel.

It's also nice to not see any trash leftwing American Twitter politics in a movie. Oh, I think there's a little politics in it. But they're Japanese politics -- the director seems to distrust the Japanese government -- but I don't care about Japanese politics so this doesn't bother me. And it's not central in the story.

A Note on the Title: They do not explain the title in the movie. I think a commenter explained that there had been prequel to the 1954 original called Godzilla Zero, and this proceeds that, so this is Godzilla Minus One. But it really doesn't mean anything. Because this is supposed to be the first of all Godzilla movies, there is no prior lore. This is his "first appearance," as it were.

I'd like to see the movie do even better than it's doing just to teach Hollywood a lesson. It's doing well, but only well when compared to foreign language releases.

I am sure Hollywood executives are wondering right now about budget, and how they spend $270 million to produce movies that look like hot garbage and the Japanese spend $15 million to make a Godzilla movie where it really looks like Godzilla is stomping through the Ginza district.

I don't know if they'll learn. I'm not sure they're capable of self-criticism or introspection or learning.

One thing I'm thinking: I used to reflexively pass on foreign movies. I was very chauvanistic about not watching foreign films.

But American movies are really just absolute trash. Just terrible. Just absolute brain-dead childish nonsense, and leftwing immoral garbage as well.

Maybe I'll watch more foreign stuff. As well as older American movies, of course.

Maybe even a John Wayne one.

Hollywood won't have many new films to offer in 2024, thanks to their strikes*, so theaters will be hungry for alternative fare. They'll be showing older movies and probably some foreign imports as well. I hope it works out for them better than Hollywood wants it to work out for them.

I didn't want to mention it in the review, but as he mentions, Godzilla's "atomic breath" now really earns its name. It's now a force of nature in itself.

* There's another strike coming up in 2024, too! I didn't catch the details of it. The Film Threat guys mentioned the possibility of another Hollywood guild striking. I don't know which one.

A commenter, Vrag Naroda, says:

*IATSE may be striking next year. We've already had negotiations for the other big 3 (directors, writers, and actors) so the behind the scenes guys would be the next big hit if it occurs.

I think that's hair, make-up, and other services.

digg this
posted by Disinformation Expert Ace at 04:47 PM

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