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Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla reclaims his throne as the king of monsters in an absolutely stunning blockbuster film.

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Shin Godzilla from 2016 stunned fans and followers alike with its fresh reinterpretation of good old Gojira, focusing on social criticism and clearly taking inspiration from the devastating Fukushima disaster. Personally, I loved the film, but I can also understand the disappointed fans who expected more monster destruction and less corridor politics. To those fans, I can only say this: your prayers have finally been answered in the form of Godzilla Minus One, Toho's most effective Godzilla film to date.

The plot revolves around a deserting kamikaze pilot trying to find his way back into society after the end of World War II, but whose honour won't allow him to live the life he doesn't think he deserves. A certain monster refuses to leave him alone: a several-metre-long monster tormentor who sprays radioactive fire and crushes warships with its bare teeth. So, like Shin Godzilla, this reincarnation is not to be trifled with and returns to the darker roots of the 1954 film series.

Nor is this the anti-hero we've come to expect from Hollywood's bland outings, or the kindergarten dinosaur that for a time was mostly associated with childish demographics; this is a destructive force of nature that steamrolls everything and everyone in its path, without cause, without motive, without regard. Not even five minutes pass before we are introduced to the horror lizard in all its glory and every second with this iconic film reptile is a hair-raising and beautifully brutal experience. I'm not kidding when I say the occasional tear managed to escape from the corner of my eye as Godzilla just does what it does best: destroy, crush, pulverise. Just the combination of Akira Ifukube's powerful music and Naoki Sato's terrifying strings makes you shiver with pleasure when it's time to stomp and obliterate.

Godzilla Minus One
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There may be a nostalgic factor at work here, but it's mainly director Takashi Yamazaki's palpable passion that warms this Godzilla fan's heart, like a radioactive laser beam through the chest. It's old school, it's cool and it's furiously entertaining. I was especially surprised by how much the character-driven core touched me in the end, despite occasionally falling into TV-like melodramatic pitfalls and despite some minor pacing concerns towards the second half of the film.

There's so much thoughtfulness, effective humour and genuine heart in the script that you quickly forget its clumsy shortcomings when the film finally culminates in the most nail-biting climax sequence in the show's history. In fact, I probably haven't been this glued to a climax since Kenobi whispered "Use the force" in A New Hope. The characters' survivalist fervour and shared trauma is the one foundation Godzilla can't melt, where for a moment you forget the B-movie vibe of the series and become fully immersed in the powerful jaws of cinematic storytelling.

Minus One is incomparable, monstrous, muscular, human, masterful...? a Godzilla fan's wet dream, pure and simple. It's spectacular film magic that I, at the time of writing, want to watch again immediately. The beloved kaiju has had a bumpy road through its uneven film series but now both Yamazaki and Godzilla have stamped out a fantastic direction for the world's best radioactive lizard and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a monster-packed sequel is already in development.

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09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

Godzilla reclaims his throne as the king of monsters in an absolutely stunning blockbuster film.



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