Godzilla Minus One:
After World War II, Japan is at its lowest point and the people affected by the war are trying to rebuild. Just as things couldn't get any worse, a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster baptized in the horrific power of the atom bomb.
At the time of writing this review, I would already have seen Godzilla Minus One on IMAX. Considering the time this review has released, it would have been almost a week since then. So what you are about to read are my pure thoughts on the movie right after coming out seeing it. My overall thought on the movie is this. Godzilla Minus One is the second best Godzilla movie of all time. I say second best because no matter what people say you can't top the original. The original is where the franchise originated and the number one spot is where the original will always stay. However, this movie was very close.
The story centers around Koichi Shikishima, a disgraced kamikaze pilot who abandoned his post at the end of World War II. When he went home, he found his village in total ruin due to the bombings and the people that once cared about him now see him as a disgrace for not sacrificing his life for their country. He meets Noriko carrying a baby girl that wasn't hers and allows both of them a place to stay. A year later, the bomb was dropped on the Bikini Atoll, which created Godzilla. With Godzilla terrorizing the Pacific and rampaging through Japan, Shikishima goes out to stop Godzilla along side with other veterans in his own community.
One of the hardest parts to tackle in a monster movie is making the human characters interesting enough to carry a story. Most times, the human characters are boring and we usually say the monster parts are more important. Now, if anyone says the human characters are not important I can point to this movie as one example as to why the human characters are important. Godzilla Minus One was able to achieve an almost impossible task of making the human characters actually interesting and likable. The story goes heavy on the human drama that deals with very real issues. Through out the movie, Shikishima has to deal with PTSD from the war and his first hand experience with Godzilla and he has an illegitimate family to take care of. On top of that, the very Japanese government that has asked pilots to sacrifice their lives at the end of the war are no longer getting involved. They can't get involved because the United States has occupied the country and disbanded Japan's military. The US are unable to get involved because of the Cold War with Soviet Russia. So it was up to the civilians to stop Godzilla's rampage.
There were no instances that seemed boring like a bunch of cabinet member meetings nor explanation of some over the top junk science being hammered into my head and expecting me to understand any of it. The movie didn't even try to spout any anti-American rhetoric. Any mention of America was explained that America cannot simply assist because they're afraid of any activity may trigger a war with Russia. That is about it. So the story had kept my attention the whole time and it really did a great job holding it for two hours. If you ever wanted a Godzilla horror movie, this is it. This is as close to getting Godzilla as a horror film as it is ever going to get.
When it comes to performance, if these actors were going for an Oscar for best performance then I say give them a nomination because this is some of the best performances I have seen in a Godzilla film. The performances from these actors were outstanding and were able to carry such expressive emotion when delivering their lines. This helped connect with the characters on an emotional level. The movie is putting these characters in the worst conditions imaginable during a post-war era and forcing them to suffer even more. Furthermore, without government support these characters are scraping the bottom of the barrel for any ideas to stop Godzilla. The movie had me rooting for the human characters more than Godzilla. The characters now have something to fight for and it makes you want to see them succeed even if they know that the chances of success could be slim.
The music for the film was mostly pretty good. It brought a lot of the mood into the movie and it was one of the things that I asked for. I wanted to see the music to affect the movie's mood more often and this worked well for the most part. The only time I was sort of turned off by the music was when Godzilla's theme song started playing when Godzilla first started rampaging through Ginza. It sort of didn't really fit with this dark scene that was playing out. The use of Godzilla's theme song was better during the climax and that was about it. Overall, the music was all around pretty good.
I was not a big fan of Godzilla's new design ever since it was revealed. I didn't hate it by any means. I thought it played a little too safe. To me, he looked like a blend of the 90's Godzilla and the Monsterverse Godzilla and with overly large dorsal plates. How Godzilla is portrayed, however, is a whole other ball park because this is the angriest Godzilla ever put to screen. Godzilla has a pure, unmitigated hatred for humans and his aim is to get a high body count. He is like Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th or Michael Myers from Halloween. Kill as many people as he can and leaves without elaboration. You could argue that he is angry because of how the bomb mutated him, but even before he mutated we see Godzilla very early in the movie killing the plane mechanics on Odo Island. Godzilla would grab people with his mouth and tossing them into the air or he would stomp on people like bugs. He is a horror movie villain and there is nothing more horrifying than a monster that wants to kill you just for existing. Even when you think Godzilla must be dead, he is not really dead and the characters still lose.
If you are a long time Godzilla fan, there are a lot of moments with Godzilla that has a lot of call backs to previous movies. There were scenes that looked similar to the original Godzilla (54), Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack, Godzilla (2014), Godzilla vs Kong, and even the Tristar GODZILLA. If you are not a long time fan, you may notice one scene in particular that may make you think of JAWS. We see Godzilla with a bomb in his mouth and Shikishima shoots the bomb to make it explode is like the final moments of JAWS when Chief Brody shoots the compressed tank in the sharks mouth to make it explode. That was a really cool reference until Godzilla heals himself and wakes back up even more ticked off.
The special effects are certainly top notch and Toho Co. has shown tremendous improvement since Shin Godzilla. I really like how he charges up before he fires his heat ray. His dorsals would pop out as he is charging up and then the spikes shoot back down into his back as the beam is shot out. How he uses it also damages him. His skin would be covered in burns, but they would heal up moments after. At least he doesn't have to take a week long nap just to recharge like Shin Godzilla. After this Godzilla is done using it, he still has to wait for it to recharge for only a few minutes and is still able to keep moving around at his leisure. He can still go on the offense.
There are times where a certain scene could have used more work. One example of such is the explosion that happens after Godzilla used his heat ray on Ginza. We see the heat ray passing through these buildings, debris is flying all over the place, but I can't put my finger on it exactly what it is that is throwing me off. It is just one segment of the scene that happens quickly and yet it looked off. Another example of weird visuals is at the climax when Godzilla makes his second landfall and the mountainside in the background along with the sky. It all makes Godzilla look like he is on a stage set and it is a weird effect that didn't look quite as nice as the rest of the film. Otherwise, the special effects looks great especially with the low budget of an estimated $15 million that had to be worked with. If Toho Co. can work with that kind of budget, then what is Hollywood doing with budgets for movies ranging between $300 million - $400 million?
Godzilla Minus One is one of the best Godzilla movies I have ever watched. Easily my number 2 all time favorite. While a piece of music and a couple of visual effects were a little off with the rest of the movie, I still had the best time of my life watching this movie. If you have been waiting for a Godzilla horror movie, this is it. This is as close to a horror film as it is going to get. This has a really good story with characters you can cheer for, great performances by the actors, great music, and one angry Godzilla that I think will be remembered for years to come. This definitely a must see film and movie of the year contender.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Episode 4:
In episode 3, we learned more about how the US military tried to kill Godzilla and our protagonists in the present day traveled to Alaska to find out what happened to Hiroshi, Cate's and Kentaro's father. In this latest episode, Cate, May, Kentaro, and Old Lee are stranded in Alaska's frozen tundra while being hunted down by the Frost Vark. Kentaro goes off on his own to search for a settlement on his own and is forced to confront illusions from his past. Meanwhile in Utah, Monarch researcher Barnes from outpost 47 has picked up some strange activity in her area that seemed to be similar signals that showed up before G-Day happened.
First, I want to say that I liked that this episode took a break from flip-flopping between the past and present and took time to focus more on the present. While I never minded the back and forth between the two timelines as the transitioning between the two looked fluid and I was never lost, it gave us more time to learn about our characters in the present, more importantly Kentaro and May. We did not get to learn so much about May, but we did get to learn how Kentaro and May first met and how they became a couple.
Kentaro and May are not exactly in good terms ever since their break up and even more so after May got dragged into Cate's and Kentaro's family affairs. She never wanted to be in the position of being chased by Monarch and hunted by monsters in the first place. She just wanted to be left alone. So that side of her frustration is understood. However, Kentaro does feel responsible for dragging May into this situation and he takes it upon himself to look for help, but this was due to his curiosity about a strange light he saw earlier. What he doesn't expect is the tundra making him see things that aren't there. He is forced to confront memories from his past and trying to find some closure for his father's passing. All the while he looking for help, the Frost Vark is chasing Cate, Old Lee, and May. Since the Frost Vark is attracted to heat, the gang hatches a plan to make a large bonfire to lure out the monster. Kentaro was able to radio for help, but upon his call for help he discovered pencil shavings. A clue that tells him his father was recently present at this outpost springing the possibility that Hiroshi is still alive.
Overall, this was an alright episode. This felt more like a filler episode that is just trying to get to the next big event in the show. We got to learn more about Kentaro's and May's past, but we didn't quite see how they broke up, which could be in a later episode. I don't want to come to conclusions just yet, but the show may be suggesting that Cate and May is about to form a lesbian relationship. However, girls are more emotional and more touchy-feely than guys are. Otherwise, we may as well say two guys hugging are gay lovers. So I don't want to consider this to be the case just yet. Kentaro has stepped up this episode and was able to call for help and we did see in the previews seeing Kentaro saving May from the avalanche of sand and an incoming car as Godzilla rose up from the ground. So I am hoping that their relationship does improve throughout the show.
That is all I have for these reviews. Now, I want to hear what your thoughts are on Godzilla Minus One and the latest episode of Monarch? Did you like the movie and this episode? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on Godzilla Minus One and Monarch episode 4. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.