Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.
Why did I come to this movie again?
I’m not a huge Godzilla fan, although I’m not opposed to the franchise, but when I saw a preview for this film I was intrigued, and after I read a few reviews, I decided to see it.
5 of 5
As a writer, I know that you need to be mean to your characters. The meaner the better, as long as it stays within the reality of the story and doesn’t lean into the ridiculous. This film did exactly that.
The main character, a failed kamikaze pilot, seemingly cheats death time and time again while others around him fall. The poor guy is haunted by survivor’s guilt on many levels, and the film portrays this brilliantly. More than once he says his war isn’t over yet, and I loved that.
The supporting cast—a homeless woman who is caring for a baby that isn’t hers, a neighbor that hates the main character for not dying as a kamikaze pilot, a technician who blames the main character for the deaths of his friends because he froze when Godzilla was staring him down (which I thought was 100% realistic), and the unlikely band of friends he accumulates as he clears mines from the sea—all turned into fleshed out men and women that I cared about.
Godzilla was his (its?) awesome self. The filmmaker kept with a very classic style of the monster—it seriously looked like a guy in a huge lizard suit with a tiny head on a giant body—but it looked cool and totally worked.
5 of 5
Did I care what happened?
Godzilla appears at the very beginning and destroys a small Japanese outpost on an island. The main character survives, and goes back to Tokyo. There we see what’s left of the city, which isn’t much, and its people. The post-war view into the people and the city was so immersive that I actually forgot we were watching a Godzilla movie for about 20 minutes, and I didn’t mind.
Then, when the monster reappeared, I had enough people to care about that I was glued to my seat with my eyes wide open.
5 of 5
Okay, this is a monster movie, of course there are plot holes.
A handful of them got through my enjoyment of watching the film, but they were petty things, like why did two ships have to side-swipe one another to cross the lines they were towing? Couldn’t they have done that without taking off the side mirrors, so to speak? (Pretty sure they could have.)
The passage of time felt off more than once, which was also distracting.
It was mostly little things like that that drew me out of the story.
4 of 5
How many times did I yawn?
None. I forgot we were reading the captions after about two minutes, and I never once got bored. The tension built nicely throughout the movie.
5 of 5
More recent versions of Godzilla are filled with action shlock. While this one had plenty of action regarding the monster, none of the characters tried being Jason Stathem in the Transporter movies. Instead, they all did things that were within their wheelhouse. Even our main character, who is flying a plane at the end, doesn’t go all Top Gun. I loved that the director kept all of the action sequences in the restraints of post WWII.
Godzilla’s laser/atomic breath was AMAZING! The only thing that looked CGI was Godzilla, but I didn’t mind it.
My only complaint was a brief scene of horrible flashing that I had to close my eyes for.
4 of 5
So satisfying for me. The character arcs wrapped up nicely, the monster is gone…for now, and all the people can finally move past the war and the scars it left behind.
5 of 5
The hubby and I talked about this movie all night after we got home and how much we liked it.
Never once did the director shove an anti-war sentiment down our throats. Instead, they carefully showed us what Japan was like after WWII. How the people suffered, how many were alone, and how they had to ban together instead of fracturing apart.
I think having Godzilla to fight after they’d lost the war was a solid idea. Providing something for the people to unite for kept this film feeling real to me.
I sometimes struggle with Asian films because the actors get overly dramatic with lots of screaming and begging and spittle flying moments. (This is me not liking the style, not a critique on the technique.) While there was a bit of that in this film, I thought they utilized it well, and it didn’t pull me out of the story like it sometimes can.
Seeing this in the theater was really fun. If you have the time to check it out, I highly recommend it.
5 of 5
That’s a Black Belt!
White Belt: 1-10
Yellow Belt: 11-19
Purple Belt: 20-25
Green Belt: 26-30
Brown Belt: 31-35
Black Belt: 36-40