Six Things You Are Not Allowed To Say To Me About ‘Godzilla Minus One’
1:44 PM EST on December 10, 2023
Yesterday, I took my youngest son to see Godzilla Minus One. This is the 37th Godzilla movie and the 33rd made by Japanese movie studio Toho, which birthed the franchise in 1954 and made Shin Godzilla in 2016. Shin Godzilla kicked a whole lot of ass, and I expected this latest Godzilla effort to do likewise.
I was not disappointed. Godzilla Minus One was extraordinary, so much so that I have decided to become a Toho fanboy. This means that I will react with equal parts rage and condescension if you, a simple-minded freak, dare to criticize this masterwork. Here are some things I will not allow you to say about Godzilla Minus One, either online or to my gorgeous face.
“Ugh, another Godzilla movie?”
Yeah, another fucking Godzilla movie. Oh, do you live in a world where every studio movie is a 100 percent original idea and not a reheated IP casserole? I don’t expect any new ideas when I go to a movie theater anymore, but I do ask that old ideas be executed well. This one’s better executed than the majority of them.
“Ugh, it’s a foreign movie? I can’t read all those subtitles.”
Fucking racist. I just saw you turn on the subtitles when you were watching Emily in Paris, for shit’s sake. Are you only able to read subtitles when they’re a strategic redundancy? Asia rules the global film industry now. Get used to it.
“I’ll just wait to see it on demand.”
Fuck and no, you won’t. What’s the point of watching Godzilla fuck up a battleship on your pathetic, 65-inch Samsung? Godzilla Minus One borrows from the Jaws playbook and limits screen time for its title monster in order to achieve maximum terror, and it works. This is not one of those bullshit Godzilla movies where the humans are like, “Actually, Godzilla is our friend! He can help us kill Mothra!” No, this Godzilla is true to his original form. He is a terrifying manifestation of the dawn of the nuclear age, and more specifically a soulless, seemingly invincible kaiju interested only in destroying everything in his path. He is a 100-foot, city-wrecking ghost who haunts the nightmares of our main character, the disgraced kamikaze pilot Kōichi Shikishima (played by Ryunosuke Kamiki).
Also, if you REALLY piss this Godzilla off, his spine starts to glow and go POP POP POP before he unleashes a heat ray that will absolutely ruin your shit.
You need to see all of that on a fatass screen. In fact, I consider seeing this film in the theater a moral obligation on your part. We are so, so close to putting Marvel in the grave. The nerds who still like that shit are, at long last, finally nerds again. So it’s not enough for The Marvels to make less at the box office than the most recent Vincent Gallo movie. We, as a culture, need quality tentpole fare like Godzilla Minus One to make money, because that’ll raise the audience’s standards and show domestic studios that you don’t have to sacrifice good VFX, real emotional stakes, and a sane running time if you want to get paying customers into the local multiplex.
“It might be too much for my little ones.”
Oh really? That’s funny given that you drive a vanity pickup truck and own 57 different firearms. You live in a country that has a terminal addiction to mass shootings and now you’re scared that Little Johnny might have to watch a monster movie where the damage caused by an all-destroying force feels visceral for once? Your boy is gonna have to grow up one day, you know. He’s gonna have to learn what’s out there in the real world, and lemme tell you: that world ain’t sunshine and rainbows. It is war, it is trauma, and it is a giant lizard rising out of the sea to pick up a subway train that the woman you secretly love happens to be riding aboard. That’s reality, fucko. Your asshole snowflake kid better be ready for it. He can’t just expect his bros at Covington Catholic to protect him his whole life.
“lol that ending was corny!”
You’ve earned the right to stage a corny ending when you’ve put enough groundwork into the characters behind them. Kōichi Shikishima endures hell in this film, both during the war and inside his own mind. At certain points, Kōichi is so heavily traumatized by what he’s endured that he loses faith in reality itself. And there’s no Doctor Strange around to tell him, “Actually, your reality is one of just 72 other copyrighted realities that I can bring you to!” There is genuine pain and suffering in Ryunosuke Kamiki’s performance, and you want nothing more than for him to be happy in the end. You also want him to blow up Godzilla real good. I cried at the end of this movie. Only a prick wouldn’t.
Oh, get fucked. I hate you. I hope Godzilla kills your family.