Godzilla Minus One Parent Guide
With finely drawn characters and a carefully contextualized story, this might be the best of the Godzilla movies.
Parent Movie Review
Unwilling to die for the glory of the Emperor, kamikaze pilot Koichi Shikishima fakes technical problems with his aircraft and lands on a remote repair station on Odo Island – but he’s not any safer than he was in the sky. That night, a colossal creature emerges from the water, destroying the base and killing everyone except Shikishima and one of the flight mechanics. According to the locals, the monster dwells deep in the sea, and they call it Godzilla.
When the war ends, Shikishima returns to Tokyo to find his family dead and his home reduced to ash. He soon takes in Noriko (Minami Hamabe), a strange woman he meets in the rubble, and Akiko (Sae Nagatani), a baby she rescued from the bombings. Just as it seems his life has settled into a new normal, reports start coming in of ships destroyed by a mysterious and radioactive creature – something huge, moving silently through the ocean, and heading towards Tokyo. It seems that nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific has given Godzilla a new lease on life. He’s bigger, badder, and much, much harder to kill. If Shikishima doesn’t want to lose everything again, he’s going to have to find his courage and give everything in the fight against this monster.
I don’t think I’ve seen a Godzilla movie so intently focused on its original inspiration. The post-war devastation of Japan after years of heavy American bombing and two nuclear detonations is at the fore of this film, allowing the human characters to shine in a well-contextualized environment. Their relationships and decisions are all impacted by the war they’ve just survived. Everyone has lost most of their friends and family, and they are terrified of losing what little they have left. You cannot help but be drawn into the human lives that so frequently serve as little but cannon fodder in other creature features, and it is captivating.
Unlike the current American Godzilla flicks (which, truth be told, I also enjoy), this isn’t a fun let’s-watch-Godzilla-tear-down-a-city kind of movie. Godzilla isn’t some morally ambiguous hero who destroys Boston, but also kills another terrifying three-headed monster who was going to do that anyway. Much like Shin Godzilla, another Japanese entry in the franchise, this Godzilla is built to be bad. He’s terrifying, icky, and extremely dangerous.
While there is a good deal of violence – hard to avoid in a giant monster movie – none of it is explicitly graphic. People are either killed off screen or bitten and thrown improbable distances. There is almost no profanity, no sexual content, and only mild social drinking and smoking. Godzilla Minus One is still grossly unsuitable for children, though. Godzilla is extremely frightening, and the scenes of death and devastation are taken extremely seriously. This isn’t a light action adventure movie. It’s a hard-hitting and emotional look at people with almost nothing to lose, who are faced with losing everything. This might just be my favourite Godzilla movie.Directed by Takashi Yamazaki. Starring Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada. Running time: 125 minutes. Theatrical release December 1, 2023. Updated December 4, 2023
Watch the trailer for Godzilla Minus One
Godzilla Minus One
Rating & Content Info
Why is Godzilla Minus One rated PG-13? Godzilla Minus One is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for creature violence and action.
Violence: Tens of thousands of civilians are killed in attacks on Tokyo. Characters are crushed, thrown, bitten, incinerated, and blown up.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are infrequent uses of mild curses.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking and smoking socially.
Page last updated December 4, 2023
Godzilla Minus One Parents' Guide
How did World War II end in Japan? What condition condition was the country in? How have they rebuilt and recovered? What was the original Godzilla about?
Related home video titles:
On the other side of the spectrum – big, fun, fast action monster flick – the American produced Godzilla: King of the Monsters is unparalleled. It’s a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, and precedes the disappointing Godzilla vs. Kong. While it isn’t Godzilla, The Meg also sees an ancient monster of the deep cruise up to the surface to cause havoc. Pacific Rim is another take on the kaiju genre, and the first film is excellent.