We love the US-made Godzilla movies. (Well, most of them. The '90s one is, uh, certainly a movie.) And we're eager for the next installment of the Monsterverse series which will explore the continuing power balance between King Kong and Godzilla. But Godzilla originated in Japan — he's one of the most Japanese characters in popular culture — and the lizard's true home will always be Japan.
GODZILLA MINUS ONE brings the icon back to his original island home, and also takes the audience back in time. The trailers for the new movie suggest that it is set at the end of World War II, which despite Godzilla's post-war roots is a surprising story development. Check out that footage and learn everything we know about GODZILLA MINUS ONE.
When Does Godzilla Minus One Come Out?
Update: After a regular run that surpassed all expectations, and even led to Godzilla's first Oscar nomination(!!!) Toho is releasing a slightly different cut of the movie for a limited time. GODZILLA MINUS ONE MINUS COLOR, a black and white presentation of the movie, opens on January 26. The regular color version of the movie is still in theatres, too!.
Watch the New Godzilla Minus One Trailer
The first short teaser for GODZILLA MINUS ONE set up the basic scenario. A longer trailer, seen above, gives us a better look at this new rendition of Godzilla. We also get to see more of the human cast, and there are some pretty big looks at the heavy city-stomping action in this new chapter.
What's the Story in Godzilla Minus One?
The trailers for GODZILLA MINUS ONE don't tell us much about the movie's plot. But thanks to the film's spot in the Tokyo Film Festival and its Japanese wide release, there are a few English-language reviews. One notes that with the setting placed immediately after World War II, "writer-director Takashi Yamazaki imagines how a Japan with no military, no economy, and no international support would respond to Godzilla’s first attack." In other words, when Godzilla attacks, how do people fight back? They have very little to muster by way of defense. Certainly there are no friendly monsters to call in, nor mechs to launch. "Postwar, Japan had lost everything," the trailer says. So how does a country go from zero to "minus"? That would be thanks to Godzilla.
"Godzilla Minus One will once again show us a Godzilla that is a terrifying and overwhelming force," said Koji Ueda, President of Toho International. Indeed, that is how initial reviews of the movie describe this incarnation of the lizard.
Godzilla Minus One Comes From an Award-Winning Director
GODZILLA MINUS ONE is written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki, who has been working in visual effects since the 1980s. One of his earliest movies was SWEET HOME, directed by Koiyoshi Kurosawa. Gamers might know of SWEET HOME because it was released with a companion video game, which eventually became one of the main inspirations for the "Resident Evil" game series.
Yamazaki is also a director, and his second movie, ALWAYS: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET, won the Japanese equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar in 2006. He's made many more films, including two sequels to that early success, a live-action movie based on the "Space Battleship Yamato" anime series (called "Star Blazers" in the US), and the recent CG-animated version of LUPIN III. That last movie was successful in reviving and recontextualizing a well-loved property, which leads us to hope that he can do the same with Godzilla
After the bizarre and great SHIN GODZILLA it is exciting that Toho and Yamazaki have come up with a new Godzilla tale that has thrilled long-time fans of the monster while earning many new admirers.
GODZILLA MINUS ONE is in theatres now.
All images courtesy of Toho Studios.