As a result of the writers and actors strikes that dominated headlines for so much of this year, Dune 2, the hotly anticipated sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movie, was pushed from 2023 into the 2024 release calendar. As a result, this fall was pretty light on big-spectacle action blockbusters. Thankfully, Godzilla Minus One has arrived to save the day.
Godzilla Minus One is a Japanese production from writer/director Takashi Yamazaki that has nothing to do with the ongoing Warner Brothers monster movies. Yes, that means this movie has subtitles, but it’s also an absolute must-see for people seeking thrilling action movies. Whereas the American franchises have typically been treating Godzilla as some misunderstood lizard that doesn’t mean to wreck your city, Godzilla Minus One goes back to the character’s roots. That is to say.. Godzilla is terrifying in this movie. There are sequences that are legitimately scary and intimidating, where audiences are made to look up at a vicious monster here to kill and destroy. And that’s because Godzilla Minus One brings the character back to its roots in post-World War II Japan, where trauma and fear from the two nuclear bombs being dropped were dominating the public psyche.
Godzilla Minus One is a real, tactile movie that never looks like a CGI mess. It’s scary and genuinely moving, with long stretches dedicated to the moral ambiguity of war, the mental toll of being a kamikaze pilot, and what it means to be a family. With setpieces that seem to be inspired by Christopher Nolan films like Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg films like Jaws, it’s a monster movie with humanity and heart at its center.
Godzilla Minus One is now playing in theaters.