Though many of Godzilla’s recent appearances in Western-produced projects have framed him as something of a misunderstood hero, Toho’s upcoming Godzilla Minus One from writer / director Takashi Yamazaki is going to take the king of the monsters back to his roots as a horrific metaphor for nuclear devastation.
Set in the immediate aftermath of World War II at a time when Japan had been left hobbled by the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Godzilla Minus One tells the story of how the country plunged even further into turmoil and chaos when the titular kaiju is awakened for the very first time. Between ongoing efforts to rebuild destroyed neighborhoods and tend to the countless people left injured by the war, resources are already stretched in the new trailer as Godzilla emerges from the sea, and starts trampling people while rampaging through a city center. Interestingly, there’s a brief flash of a document from the US Department of War that likely contains intelligence about Godzilla and his origins.
But the trailer makes it seem as if the Japanese government’s going to be left on its own to deal with the creature, and with the country’s military forces so depleted, it makes it that much more of a one-sided battle when Godzilla starts to unleash his fury. As terrifying as shots of flying train cars are, what really stands out in the trailer is just how much of an emphasis Godzilla Minus One is going to put on the iconography of nuclear destruction with sprawling mushroom clouds and closeups of Godzilla’s mutilated flesh.
It’s chilling, gruesome, and anything but subtle, which will probably make Godzilla Minus One one of the franchise’s more memorable entries when it hits Japanese theaters on November 3rd and US theaters on December 1st.