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Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Jordan Pritchett, Staff Writer • February 23, 2024

“Godzilla Minus One” redefines what a Godzilla movie can be

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“Godzilla Minus One” is cinema. It will no doubt go down as one of THE foundations for any person wanting to get into the Godzilla movies. 

Working with a budget of just 30 million dollars, the film combines brilliant sound design, fantastic CGI, and incredibly loveable characters in order to make a film that stands out as not only a fun and entertaining film, but also one that shines with meaning and depth. 

“Godzilla Minus One” starts and ends with the resolution of two different wars. First impressions determine how the viewer sees the rest of a film, and the introductory scenes are phenomenal. The film opens with a dramatic shot of main character Koichi Shikishima (played by Kamiki Ryunosuke) landing a fighter plane on Odo island, fleeing from his post as a Japanese kamikaze pilot during the tail end of World War II. 

Japanese actor Kamiki Ryunosuke, who plays Koichi Shikishima in “Godzilla Minus One.”

On Odo, we are introduced to two other important characters: the monster itself, Godzilla, who kills all of the mechanics stationed on the island except for Sosaku Tachibana (played by Munetaka Aoki) who quickly blames Shikishima for allowing this slaughter to happen.

The impressive camera work during this first Godzilla attack embellishes the sheer terror that Shikishima and Tachibana feel and makes the monster look unsettlingly real. It also introduces critical motifs that strengthen the narrative, focusing on the way Shikishima trembles during a Godzilla encounter and the deep-sea fish that float to the ocean’s surface just prior to an attack. 

As World War II draws to a close and Shikishima grapples with the carnage caused by Godzilla, Tachibana verbally triggers Shikishima’s second war, which looms over him throughout the movie: his internal conflict with survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He views Shikishima as a coward: one who first deserted his role in the military then failed to kill Godzilla with his jet’s mounted gun when Tachibana believed he had the chance. 

This film is rich with theme and allegory. Shikishima’s journey follows him through overcoming his PTSD and finally ending his own personal war against Godzilla.

Japanese actress Minami Hamabe, who plays Noriko Oishi in “Godzilla Minus One.”

We see him develop through the film as he begins to make personal connections with another survivor of the film, slowly learning to love life and the people in it, thanks to the efforts of his good friend Noriko Oishi (played by Minami Hamabe), whom he is raising a child with. However, memories of Oda island still haunt him, and he doesn’t believe that the life he is living is real, or deserved. 

In this tragic story of conflict and trauma, Noriko is an emotional oasis, not just for Shikishima but for the viewer as well. Amidst Shikishima’s urge to turn his problems inward, Noriko reminds us all that it’s okay to not be okay, and her presence brings him peace during his worst episodes.

Godzilla, meanwhile, represents the exact opposite of what Noriko does. The peace and comfort that Noriko brings is frequently overshadowed by this monster menace, who brings nothing but fear, panic and anger to the world. Godzilla has always represented war: now his character finds new depth as a manifestation of everything war does to the human psyche.

Godzilla films have never been subtle in their messaging, and this one continues this trend, as Godzilla is a clear representation of the damage caused by the atomic bombs. 

The striking demonization of self-sacrifice and kamikaze is somewhat surprising, based on how popular last stands are in contemporary film and literature. It is a classic thing in movies, with “300” or other works that are more in the zeitgeist featuring suicidal last stands as a fixture of the film. 

However, this film is very good! While some may say it is selfish to wish to live when it may cause the death of others, the film raises a good point about how the main character’s desire to live is actually selfless, as he has a daughter and other people that greatly rely on him. 

The film also touts the supremacy of private enterprise over government action, as the government refuses to aid them in destroying Godzilla, which forces Kenji Noda (Hidetaka Yoshioka) to form a band of private citizens and former veterans in order to take the big lizard down. 

“Godzilla Minus One” is a brilliant entry in the Godzilla franchise, combining classic scenes of destruction and damage with subtle and not-so-subtle messaging about themes important to our lives and to history. Between the epic action scenes and impressive storytelling, we have no doubt that this film will go down as one of the best Godzilla movies as a brilliant parallel to the original film. 

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About the Contributors
Ender Ross, Executive Web Editor
Hello! I am the executive web editor for Knight Life News, and I make stories about my community and my general vicinity. I also am struck with a terrible love for esports and videogames. Unfortunately, I think I am extremely funny, so go check out my articles on Muysenberg and Flat Earth.
Aidan Zajac, Web Editor
Hey y'all! I'm Aidan Zajac, the web editor at Knight Life, and this is my first year on the staff. I'm a high school senior and professional sandwich maker who enjoys answering questions about Loy Norrix and covering important figures in our community. My lawyer team has advised me to say that I have never violated the Geneva Conventions. Pronouns: they/them/theirs

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    elli..!Jan 31, 2024 at 12:27 pm

    as someone who has never seen a Godzilla movie prior, I thought this movie was a very swell time :))

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