‘Godzilla Minus One’ Review: Bigmouth Strikes Again

‘Godzilla Minus One’ Review: Bigmouth Strikes Again

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‘Godzilla Minus One’ Review: Bigmouth Strikes Again
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You have to like Godzilla’s style. Confident, with an almost stately groove to his step — and why not? With “Godzilla Minus One,” the giant prehistoric lizard is heading toward the 70th anniversary of his Toho studio franchise. Once again, Japan emerges from World War II only to face this atomic colossus, whose appetite for destruction remains unabated and a reliable spectacle.

In a prelude, Godzilla makes landfall during the war on an island where a kamikaze pilot, Koichi (Ryunosuke Kamiki), has just detoured to desert. Koichi survives the monster’s attacks, becoming a ball of guilt and shame. He resettles in Tokyo’s rubble with a stranger, Noriko (Minami Hamabe), who’s caring for someone else’s baby.

They’re a nuclear family, as it were, but remain unmarried, simply co-survivors. Koichi’s camaraderie with crew members on a mine cleanup ship lightens the mood, but soon Godzilla rears his leathery head again with attacks on ships, streets and the people unfortunate enough to be there.

Less vengeful or bored than just a phenomenon, Godzilla stomps and chomps away, spiky, dead-eyed, his hide rough as cooled magma. Signature moves include the snap-and-toss (grabbing and flinging a human or train-car aside) and his blue ray (not the high-resolution disc but rather an explosive thermonuclear beam). The writer-director, Takashi Yamazaki, integrates crowds and effects with a sure hand, and endows the violence with a dour air.

The mood suits as citizens band together and decry Japan’s wartime disregard for life. The heroic arc is creaky, but despite the chintzy clichés about Godzilla movies, this one keeps bringing blockbuster brio to heel with a sometimes heavy heart.

Godzilla Minus One
Rated PG-13 for monster mash. In Japanese, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes. In theaters.


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‘Godzilla Minus One’ Review: Bigmouth Strikes Again

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