Godzilla Minus One Trailer


On the east coast Godzilla fans set their alarm clocks set for 1:45 am Monday morning, September 4, Memorial Day, the day eagerly awaiting the release of the Godzilla Minus One (ゴジラ-1.0) trailer. It was worth the loss of sleep. And it was not disappointing. Fan reactions were so exuberant and positive that Toho created a video to capture the reactions. It’s easy to predict that Godzilla Minus One will smash the box office in Japan on November 3 and in the U.S. on December 1..

Godzilla Minus One Japanese theatrical poster

Godzilla Minus One Japanese theatrical poster | Directed by Takashi Yamazaki | Written by Takashi Yamazaki | Visual effects by Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya | Produced by Minami Ichikawa, Kenji Yamada, Kazuaki Kishida, Gō Abe, Keiichirō Moriya | Cinematography: Kōzō Shibasaki | Edited by Ryūji Miyajima | Music by Naoki Satō | Production companies: Toho Studios and Robot | Distributed by Toho Co., Ltd.

Minus One promises to be intense, serious, profound and disturbing. Although not a prequel to Godzilla (1954), Director Takashi Yamazaki appears to pull back the curtain on the origins of the King of the monsters with a new twist. If the millions of views on YouTube are a sign, Minus One promises to appeal to audiences beyond the fandom like Shin Godzilla (2016). The quality of the effects, the postwar context and potential for controversy are a recipe for broad interest and discussion. Expect buzz in the air when Minus One closes Tokyo Film Festival in October just days before its domestic release.

Godzilla Minus One

The trailer (Japanese 01:22, English 01:28) raised more questions than provided answers, but offered clues about the origin and nature of Godzilla now set in a postwar context two years removed from the atomic bombs rather than nine years of the first film. Japan has lost everything, leveled to zero. Then Godzilla appears and sinks Japan to minus one, setting back any progress Japan has made barely a year since the close of World War II. The trailer opens with screams and ends with a scream. Godzilla’s loud stomp and roar return like in Godzilla (1954). There are two massive explosions, what appear to be Godzilla’s atomic breath and an atomic bomb drop on Tokyo. There are shredded ships at sea and dead bodies scattered across the ground. What we hear and what we read are: “What is it?” – “I don’t know! Something big!” “Is that… Godzilla?” Postwar, Japan had lost everything. From “Zero” to “Minus””Why were we called out here?” “The government is not telling the public.” “Somebody’s got to do it.” “Everyone’s dead!” “You’re a disgrace!” “That Monster… will not forgive us.” Survive and Fight. Godzilla Minus One. How can we not be excited.

Here are my takeaways. The U.S. government and military have kept secret their encounter with Godzilla, described as “a massive aquatic organism headed at high speed towards the Japanese archipelago from the south,” Godzilla has shredded, toppled, tossed, and capsized vessels at sea and on shore. On February 10, 1047, General MacArthur sent a correspondence to the prime minister of Japan warning of an approaching Godzilla heading directly for Tokyo. Both governments are hush but the public must be told about Godzilla. The U.S. appears to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan but this time on Tokyo in an attempt to destroy Godzilla. Godzilla with blistering and burning skin roars in the closing moments of the trailer, perhaps documenting on screen for the first time how Godzilla’s scared skin came about. Perhaps, for this reason, the main character Koichi Shikishima says, “That monster will never forgive us.”

Koichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki)
敷島浩一 / 神木隆之介
Koichi Shikishima / Ryunosuke Kamiki
Noriko Oishi (Minami Hamabe)
大石典子 / 浜边美波
Noriko Oishi / Minami Hamabe
Shiro Mizushima (Hiroki Yamada)
水島四郎 / 山田裕貴
Shiro Mizushima / Hiroki Yamada
Sosaku Tachibana (Takataka Aoki)
橘宗作 / 青木崇高
Sosaku Tachibana / Takataka Aoki
Kenji Noda (Hidetaka Yoshioka)
野田健治 / 吉岡秀隆
Kenji Noda / Hidetaka Yoshioka
Sumiko Ota (Sakura Ando)
太田澄子 / 安藤サクラ
Sumiko Ota / Sakura Ando
Yoji Akitsu (Kuranosuke Sasaki)
秋津淸治 / 佐々木蔵之介
Yoji Akitsu / Kuranosuke Sasaki

Main Characters and Cast Information: Koichi Shikishima (Ryunosuke Kamiki): Although he survived the war, he lost his parents. He meets Noriko in a devastated Japan. Noriko Oishi (Minami Hamabe): A strong woman living alone in a burnt-out post-war Japan. She meets Shikishima on her way home from the war.

The trailer has exceeded a millions views. The hype and excitement are building and the merchandising, advertising and events are popping up all over Japan. We may be in for one of the most intense Godzilla experiences since 1954 and 2016. Godzilla looks like an unstoppable force, angry and bent on revenge. Buckle up for the ride because there may be no pause and rest from the despair and suffering on screen. A period piece has been the desire of many of us fans desiring to turn back the clock to Godzilla the legend of Odo Island. It appears Director Yamazaki has made an instant classic as Toho’s 30th Godzilla film commemorating the 70th anniversary of Godzilla’s birth. He might just have delivered on our wish lists.