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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

$15 million movie puts Hollywood to shame

How Godzilla can change the film industry
Terranaut, Pixabay
Godzilla attacks Japan’s navy. The destruction he causes comes right after WW2.

[Review contains spoilers]

Godzilla is what I would call candy. It’s not good for you, but watching big monsters punch each other is sweet. And once you leave the theater, you never really think about it again. It’s empty.

“Godzilla Minus One” was nothing like this.

I entered expecting a monster mash, but I left the theater contemplating ideas of guilt and purpose.

“Godzilla Minus One” was made by Japanese movie company Toho, the founders of Godzilla, with a measly $15 million budget.

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The worst thing in the legendary Hollywood Godzilla productions are the humans. Every time they come up on screen, I roll my eyes because the characters are such a drag. Just show me some monster action! But Toho takes this weakness and turns it into a strength. Every time the human characters were on the screen, I was enthralled. Toho focused on the development of each character, making the humans the star of the movie, instead of the monster.

The characters were compelling, each having a great arc. The main character, Shikishima, had the most captivating character growth. His story starts as a kamikaze pilot, but he pretends his plane had technical malfunctions to get out of following through with his mission during WW2. He carries the guilt through the whole movie thinking himself as a failure and a shame to his country. He feels as though he is living on borrowed time; his life is meaningless to him because he was supposed to die. His final actions in the movie show his growth as a character: he finally has something to live for and he values his life.

He forgives himself for being alive, letting go of the guilt he felt after escaping death. Godzilla serves as an allegory for the war that Shikishima is still going through. Shikishima’s war is not over mentally, because he still carries his guilt, and figuratively, since he is still fighting Godzilla. Once Godzilla is destroyed, so is Shishikima’s guilt and burden. In order to kill Godzilla, he conducts a plan to load a plane with explosives, which he would eventually fly into Godzilla’s mouth and detonate, killing the beast. As the monster falls, he finally completes his “mission.”

I was shocked when Shikishima ejected out of the airplane before crashing into Godzilla’s mouth. The plot twist worked brilliantly as I thought based on his past as a disgraced Kamikaze pilot, his eagerness to seek revenge for Noriko (his love interest), and his aura of determination, he was going to sacrifice himself.

If you take a look at the budgets of the Hollywood movies in the past two decades, you’ll see blockbusters averaging a budget around $100 to 200 million with the highest budgets reaching over $400 million. “Godzilla Minus One” proves that you can make an amazing movie without a bank-breaking budget.

Even in Hollywood, some of the movies we consider to be in the Movie Hall of Fame, like “Good Will Hunting“, were created with a budget of only $10 million “Parasite,” a South Korean film, won the Oscars in 2020 and grossed over $263 million worldwide, while spending only $15.5 million.

Massive budgets are not necessary to create a quality film and might even be a hindrance. Hollywood relies too much on CGI and wow factor to make movies that will get people into theaters, instead of what really matters: a story. These Hollywood producers think that if they throw a bunch of explosions and fight scenes, it can cover up a poorly written story and a lack of character development. This overreliance on extravagance, cameos and special effects dilutes the real narrative.

Hopefully this spit in the face for Hollywood will be a wake-up call and encourage them to make real cinema.

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    Lydia TongFeb 8, 2024 at 2:12 pm

    I really want to watch Godzilla Minus One now!