Godzilla Minus One Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

On May 3, six months after its release on big screens, the acclaimed Japanese kaiju blockbuster “Godzilla: Minus One” finally received its official digital premiere. This is the 37th film about the iconic radioactive lizard, which was dedicated to his 70th anniversary. In this review, we compare local and Hollywood Godzi, and also tell you why this film is considered one of the best in the series in its entire history.


a harmonious combination of human drama that evokes a sincere response with a large-scale and exciting disaster film about a deadly kaiju; Godji himself looks great and truly menacing; a very decent movie in terms of special effects, especially considering the ridiculous budget; this is significantly better than the sterile MonsterVerse blockbusters


the presence of certain conventions in the plot; The Japanese style of acting and the final scene will not please everyone

“Godzilla: Minus One” / Godzilla Minus One

Genre Epic Kaiju Film, Disaster Film, Drama
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Cast: Kamiki Ryunosuke, Hamabe Minami, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Ando Sakura, Kuranosuke Sasaki
Prime Video Premiere
Year of release 2023
IMDb website

Japan, 1945. The Second World War is almost over, its result is obvious. Kamikaze pilot Koichi Shikishima is not ready to die in vain during the mission, therefore, citing technical malfunctions of the aircraft, he lands at the base on Odo Island. But suddenly a huge scary monster known as Godzilla visits there, and while Koichi is considering whether to open fire on him with a machine gun, almost all the local mechanics die.

Feeling completely devastated, the man returns home to the destroyed Tokyo and learns that his parents died during the bombing. However, he doesn’t have to be alone for long: Shikishima meets a suffering young woman with a baby in her arms and agrees to provide them with a roof over their heads, or rather, what’s left of it. However, Godzilla’s reappearance brings even more catastrophic destruction, forcing Koichi and other war veterans to confront the snarling monster.

Godzilla: Minus One was not only an international hit, earning over $100 million on a ridiculous budget, but also a bona fide sensation with an Oscar for special effects in its pocket.

It has been called the best Godzilla film ever and is rightfully praised by mainstream media and respected Hollywood filmmakers. For example, The Hollywood Reporter’s Gavin J. Blair noted that Godzilla Minus One, along with Hayao Miyazaki’s Boy and the Heron and Shogun, contributed to the recent popularization of Japanese pop culture in the West. And this is the honest truth.

Filmmakers also did not skimp on kind words. The director of the 2014 Hollywood “Godzilla”, Gareth Edwards, admitted that he felt envy while watching and believes that “a Godzilla film should be like this.” One of the authors of “Pacific Rim” Guillermo del Toro in Maskovsky X called the film a “miracle.” Steven Spielberg said that he watched it three times. Christopher Nolan described the film as “an amazing film.” “Godzilla: Minus One” was named one of the best projects of 2023 by Joe Dante, Jason Blum, and “Godzilla and Kong” director Adam Wingard. Kevin Smith and game designer Hideo Kojima were impressed.
Director and screenwriter Takashi Yamazaki really has something to be proud of, given the complimentary reviews from Hollywood colleagues and real masters such as Nolan or Spielberg. The first “Minus One” is similar to “Oppenheimer” by the theme of nuclear tests and strikes by the United States (here the film features Operation Crossroads, which influenced the plot and followed “Trinity” and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). And Yamazaki himself was inspired by the second cult blockbusters, such as Jaws or Jurassic Park.

And you know, while watching, there comes a clear realization that all these numerous delights are quite fair. Now creations coming out from under the wings of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. and known as the MonsterVerse, will definitively pass for the Godzilla of a smoker, while “Minus One” is the Godzilla of a healthy person.

One of the greatest screenwriting achievements is the harmonious combination of acutely social and purely entertaining, mundane and fantastic, action and drama. Despite his significant figure, Godzi does not in the least overshadow the intimate human drama, which you sincerely feel. And vice versa, the characters do not interfere with showing themselves as kaiju in all their glory. At the same time, the main character, Shikishima, manages to get good character development, having gone through powerful trials, and his fate is not at all indifferent. If the titan stars of the MonsterVerse act as protagonists and have established themselves as “orderlies of the forest,” then here Godji is a notorious scoundrel. He’s dumb, but he’s truly terrifying and convincing, and he also gains real superhero powers. It’s hard to believe that not a hundred million dollars were thrown into what we see on screen (just remember the disgusting CGI in the scene with the falling babies in The Flash for 200 million), but much, much less. For its budget, the visual side of the picture looks very decent.

The Japanese are again talking about how they are in a lot of pain, but they can be understood because today they are not the only ones in pain. Godzilla is now 70 years old and primarily symbolized the atomic bomb and personified Japan’s most acute fears and traumas after the war (see the first film in 1954). It’s probably not worth reminding once again that now narratives about the use of nuclear weapons are heard from every Russian garbage dump. And the theme of a nation traumatized by war will resonate with us for a very long time.
It’s better to watch the film with the understanding that there are still certain conventions in the plot, and a purely Hollywood-blockbuster twist ala “Avengers: Endgame” is already a bit too much. And the sentimental ending looks more like a manipulation to cause an emotional outburst than a reasonable dramatic move. But these little things are unlikely to spoil the overall impression.

“Godzilla: Minus One” is definitely worth the generous epithets that were addressed to it, and is at least head and shoulders above its Hollywood counterparts. Gareth Edwards was right – this is exactly what a Godzilla movie should be.


Recognition from the masters whose films the director was inspired by will be more eloquent than any reviews. It’s just a pity that this film was out-released in Ukraine.

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