This 70th anniversary year for the first Godzilla brings a new version Godzilla Minus One. The opening scene nicely filmed (as most of the scenes on the big screen look quite real) follows a kamikaze fighter as it lands on an island in the Pacific.
That beginning carries the first story in the script of Minus One, which follows Koichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki) a young kamikaze pilot who did not commit to crash his plane and take his own life. His survivor’s guilt reminds me of The Four Feathers (a 1939 film) in which English Sir Hebert Kitchener resigns his commission on the eve of his scheduled departure thereby avoiding service with his three friends. Each friend sends him a white feather his fiancee refuses to give him the fourth feather. He spends the remainder of the story in an over-the-top effort to redeem himself from being a coward.
Here Koichi did not accept a kamikaze’s death and has similar guilt feelings. His opportunity to redeem himself comes a few years later when Godzilla appears as a result of atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean. His relationship with a widow and a lost little girl add to the intimacy of his life which plays out through out the film and adds a new dimension to the Godzilla saga.
As expected the special effects and the look and actions of Godzilla are far superior to those use in the past films in the series. The are well integrated into the story as are the effects of the testing and dropping of nuclear weapons on Japan.
Director Takashi Yamazaki has produced a very effective film, integrating human needs and limitations along with a full plate of exciting visual and sound scenes which follow in the atmosphere of what was expect from Godzilla.