Monday 18 December 2023

Godzilla Minus One

Uncertain whether or not Godzilla Minus One would make it to a screen in my province, my husband, two friends and I drove the 164+ kms to Moncton to see it on the big screen, and I’m glad we did.

I’ve made the trek to M-town to see a movie exactly four times now — to see The Devil’s Rejects, to see My Bloody Valentine 3-D (before we had 3-D capability here in Charlottetown), to see The Witch, and now for G-1.

I’ve been a lifelong Big G fan — He’s my favourite movie “creature”. I think that he was borne out of Japan’s need to work through the radioactive trauma of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is both heartbreaking and fascinating. My Chinese Zodiac sign is the dragon, and although Big G is a version of a dinosaur, he’ll alway be closely associated with dragon mythos in my mind. When I was diagnosed with blood cancer, I quickly settled on Godzilla as my symbol for my fight against this disease. He has been tattooed on my body — twice.

As a kid I “thrilled” (yes, that’s the right word) to Saturday matinee screenings of Godzilla flicks. I enjoy the campy later Showa Era Godzilla movies, taken on their own terms. I’ve enjoyed watching his evolution (and sometimes de-evolution) both as a character and in creature design.

All that to say that I probably react more intensely to a Godzilla flick than the causal viewer. With that in mind, Godzilla Minus One gave me all that I hope for in a Big G flick, and more — Characters to care about, honestly felt emotion — it’s possible that as a gay person, the concept of “found” or “chosen” family hits harder, awesome” (in the true and original sense of the word) mayhem, unobtrusive nods to the original 1954 Godzilla flick, suspense, social commentary, original themes neatly explored, a master class in how to use CGI, and this — the filmmakers were able to make Godzilla scary (no mean feat, as I’ve never found giant creatures a particularly upsetting notion).
Much, if not all of the film’s success can be attributed to Takashi Yamazaki who wrote, directed and provided the visual effects for G-1. Leave it to the Japanese to give us the best films about “their” creature. I think they understand Big G’s appeal, history and fluid meaning, and the weight (no pun intended) that he carries best.
As we were leaving the theatre, one of my travelling companions and I had a discussion about an occurrence that takes place towards the end of the film that he wasn’t sure how he felt about. I get where he’s coming from, but for me, there’s this — If you don’t live, you don’t know what you’re missing, no matter how improbable. In coming to terms with Japan’s notion of death as honour here, it makes perfect sense to me.

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